Presidents Newsletter October 2013

October 2013


Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,   

I can’t recall a fall semester schedule of events that has provoked more stimulating reflection and discussion. From Sen. Bob Casey’s inaugural O’Pake Lecture on compromise and civility, to Eboo Patel’s inspiring message about interfaith dialogue, to best-selling writer Jessica Buchanan’s riveting tale of her kidnapping and escape from Somalian pirates, Alvernia has been abuzz with notable speakers. And that is just the short list! 

Still, it’s hard to top the excitement surrounding the successful conclusion of the Values & Vision capital campaign. It was five years ago, as we marked our 50th anniversary, that the most aggressive fundraising campaign in our history was announced. The $27 million goal was almost seven times the amount of the previous campaign. Since the economic climate of the past five years has been certainly challenging, we are pleased and grateful to celebrate a campaign total of almost $32 million — nearly 20% over our goal! Faculty and staff greatly exceeded their goal and contributed more than $1 million, and our student government (and some appreciative parents) helped provide funding for the Campus Commons. 

Building on that excitement, during the annual President’s Dinner we announced our top university awards that garnered some nice media coverage, and creation of the Reading Collegiate Scholars Program (RCSP), a major new partnership between Alvernia and the Olivet Boys and Girls Club. The primary goal of the RCSP is simple: to prepare larger numbers of high school students from Reading to attend and succeed at the college of their choice. We will provide scholarships for many of these students to study and graduate at Alvernia with the university underwriting half of the annual awards and donors supporting the remainder. Our announcement was featured as a page-one story locally, and an Associated Press version of this story was picked up nationally in many media markets! On Wednesday, Reading Eagle's editors praised the program again with their lead editorial "Collegiate Scholars Program has great potential for Reading." 

The RCSP is just one of the initiatives I’ll highlight at the upcoming meeting of the national board for Catholic colleges and universities. Nice coincidence that we meet this fall in Boston. And I will be carrying many impressive stories of Alvernia with me when visiting the Far East soon after. I have been invited to China as part of a small contingent of university presidents meeting with educational officials to discuss potential partnerships.  

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presidents newsletter october 2013

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