President's Newsletter March 2013

March 2013


Dear Faculty and Staff, Student and Alumni Leaders,                     

Spring is a time filled with the promise of renewal and warmer weather, plenty of March Madness, and even, this year, some white smoke from Rome! Thanks to the good efforts of our faculty, staff and students, spring 2013 has begun well for Alvernia. So as we prepare to honor outstanding student and faculty achievements at the Honors Convocation, and seniors anticipate Commencement, it’s a fitting time to update you on campus news and some of our many accomplishments.    

The PEC was rocking the last several Saturdays. Already the regular season conference champions, our Men’s Basketball team made an exciting post-season run with a true team effort. Led by Coach Mike Miller, who makes black-on-black garb fashionable, the Crusader cagers clinched a second conference tournament title in three years with an impressive win over Lycoming College, followed by our first NCAA win in ten years before dropping a close second-round contest to St. Mary’s (MD). Meanwhile, senior pole-vaulter Melissa Fellenbaum became the program’s first All-American in history by finishing sixth at the NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships. Congrats to Melissa and Miller’s Men! 

Exciting progress was equally apparent on the academic front. Alvernia’s emergence as a leader in the healthcare and human services fields gathered momentum. (See more in News Flashes.) 

Christopher Wise, newly hired director for the Doctorate in Physical Therapy has joined Alvernia to work closely with Dolores Bertoti and a third faculty member to be hired this spring to develop the program in conjunction with the Commission on Accreditation in Physical Therapy Education. Pending approval by the Commission, we would begin enrolling students in fall 2014. 

Our new healthcare science program has already enrolled its first students this spring. Related courses are being developed in online and blended formats and will be offered through the School of Graduate and Adult Education for degree-completion.  

Through a partnership with the Reading Hospital School of Health Sciences, a Medical Imaging Program was launched, with a cohort of 20 students now pursuing the associate degree.

This semester we also finalized a partnership with the nation’s largest medical college, Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Through our agreement, Alvernia students pursuing the pre-med, pre-pharmacy and pre-dental tracks who meet all of the academic requirements while earning their undergraduate degrees at our Reading campus will be guaranteed acceptance into Lake Erie’s graduate medical program at its campuses in Florida and Pennsylvania. 

And there has also been continued progress with the fund-raising needed to help support all this progress! Values & Vision, the institution’s first-ever comprehensive fund raising campaign, will conclude this summer, with over $30 million raised against a $27 million goal! Thanks to the generosity of many, the campaign has played a vital role in the transformation of Alvernia. During the last months, we continue to seek financial support for the newly opened Campus Commons, for the final stage of renovation of Francis Hall, and as always for endowment to support student scholarships and faculty development opportunities. We look forward to the formal celebration of Values & Vision this October.

Signs of future progress are promising too: the recent Scholarship Lunch for prospective students and their families was a testament to that. A record 160 students attended, many of whom have already made their deposits to join the Alvernia community next fall. And approximately 230 students and their families attended our Decision Day program. 

This week was also a time when we looked back as well as forward at the Employee Recognition Social where we honored the good work of all faculty and staff. We celebrated service anniversaries of faculty and staff who together contributed almost 450 years of service.

As usual, spring also brings a busy schedule of events. (Check for details on the campus events calendar.) Among the highlights: the annual Choral, Band, and Dance Concerts; the SGA’s Spring Fling Weekend; and a full slate of spring athletic contests. The annual Hesburgh Lecture is scheduled for April 11 at 7 p.m. (McGlinn Conference Center) with Dr. Kwan Kim, professor of economics at the University of Notre Dame. He will discuss global issues and Catholic social teaching. Among many year-end events, Helen and I look forward especially to the annual Senior Leaders Dinner at Cedar Hill.   

Enjoy the rest of the semester! And let us join our new Pope in being inspired by the example of our patron, St. Francis of Assisi.  

Peace and All Good,   

Tom Flynn

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president's newsletter march 2013

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