President's Newsletter March 2012

People & Places

Feeling Green: Great progress is being made with the Environmental Exploration Center under development at Angelica Park in the former boat house, a project jointly sponsored by the City, the Berks Conservancy and Alvernia. A dedication ceremony is scheduled for May 2, and our Holleran Center for Community Engagement staff has already organized related programs with the local middle school. 

Road to Assisi: Plans for "The Assisi Experience" Leadership Pilgrimage for interested faculty and staff are moving forward. Dates of the pilgrimage are Oct. 18-28. The program seeks to broaden understanding of our Franciscan values. Funding for participants is provided through the new Assisi Fund. For more information visit or contact Sr. Roberta at

Dandy Dean: Following a national search, Dr. Beth Keating Aracena was named Alvernia’s new Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. She is currently Associate Dean at Eastern Mennonite University in Virginia. A graduate of Vassar College, she completed her master’s and doctoral work at the University of Chicago. In addition to her teaching and administrative experience, Dr. Aracena is a scholar in ethnomusicology and will be on campus later this month to meet with students and faculty. 

Innovation Fund: Applications are now being accepted for grants underwritten through the new Innovation Fund created to support faculty and staff ideas that can strengthen the university. Priority will be given to cross department/disciplinary proposals. Deadline for applications is April 4. Contact the Provost Office for more information.

OT Expert: Karen Cameron was selected by the Pennsylvania Department of Education to serve as the Chair for a new OT Program Evaluation Team and as a content expert. Karen was also reaffirmed as a member of the ACOTE Roster of Accreditation Evaluators for a second three-year term. 

Choices: Residence Life debuted its new CHOICES program (Choosing Housing by Occupation, Interest or Civic Engagement) that allows students to create and select their own theme housing. This fall two new options will be offered: a Leadership & Citizenship Community and the Academic Village.

Question Authority: Gerry Vigna recently led a discussion of Victor Austin's book Up With Authority: Why We Need Authority to Flourish as Human Beings at the annual meeting of the Society of Christian Ethics held in Washington, D.C. He also refereed a paper on political theology presented by Derek Woodard-Lehman of Princeton University. 

Values & Vision: Thanks to the generosity of several former trustees and a dedicated alumna, the Franco Library now boasts a stunning, custom-made stained-glass window celebrating the university’s 50th anniversary. Contributions to the Values & Vision Campaign by Glenn Miller and wife Carol, along with Chet Winters and wife RoseMarie ’82, made it all possible. A dedication is planned for later this spring. 

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president's newsletter march 2012

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