President's Newsletter October 2014

Community Engagement

Updike aficionados from all over the world gathered at Alvernia at the beginning of the month to participate in the John Updike Society Biennial Conference, an event we also hosted in 2010. David Updike, son of the Pulitzer Prize winning novelist, is our current Updike Scholar in Residence. Visiting scholars from many states and countries ranked this year’s third conference as the best to date. Congratulations to Sue Guay, our facilities and special events team, and Sue’s band of merry volunteers for their exceptional efforts.

The first cohort of Alvernia Reading Scholars entered the university this fall, after participating in a Summer Bridge program. Held over the course of two weeks, the summer program offered students an opportunity to meet with each other and form their own support group.

The O’Pake Institute is assisting the Reading Health System Mission Leadership Task Force in identifying strategic initiatives that the health system could undertake, including how it could use its assets as an anchor institution to support community revitalization. One element of the effort will be a series of forums for local community leaders related to the concept of anchor institutions and regional economic development that will be jointly hosted by the health system and Alvernia during the next six months.

Alvernia continues to lead planning efforts to advance a consortium of local institutions to explore development of a health clinic and family resource center to serve the Oakbrook Public Housing development. The partnership would include St. Joseph’s Medical Center, Reading Health System, Reading Housing Authority, Berks County Community Clinic and Easter Seals Society. The clinic would provide primary health services for low-income residents and become a setting for Alvernia students to get practical real-world experience in a number of related areas.

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president's newsletter october 2014

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