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Presidential Perspectives features Alvernia, Flynn

Date: 1/31/2011

Readers of the popular Presidential Perspectives higher education leadership series are learning a great deal about Alvernia’s recent progress courtesy of the latest installment written by President Thomas F. Flynn.

Chapters for Presidential Perspectives are authored by notable college presidents whose institutions are in the forefront of innovative practices in a range of areas. One chapter is released each month and distributed via the Web. At the end of the series, the chapters will be bound into a book.

Dr. Flynn’s contribution, “Values and Vision: Identity, Integrated Planning, and Institutional Transformation” fits perfectly with the theme of this year’s series “Economic Prosperity in the Next Decade,” and is featured on the organization’s Website. The series focuses on the strategies and innovations colleges and universities are employing to not only adapt to the new realities of higher education, but also to thrive.

As Flynn notes in his chapter, stories of institutional transformation in higher education often involve upgraded facilities. Many feature enrollment growth, and some emphasize program and campus expansion. Genuine transformation, says Flynn, requires leadership by and significant investment in the faculty, as well as bold risk taking by executives and trustees. All seek enhancement of the school’s visibility and reputation.

Alvernia's recent transformation from small college to multi-dimensional university reflects all these experiences, says Flynn. Yet most important have been the renewal of its Franciscan identity and the intentional integration of often separate yet necessarily interrelated planning efforts. 

Presidential Perspectives is published by ARAMARK Higher Education.

  • History: Established as a private four-year liberal arts college in 1958, Alvernia celebrated its 50th year by being awarded university status in 2008.
  • Heritage: Founded by the Bernardine Sisters, a Catholic religious order, the university embraces the Franciscan core values of service, humility, collegiality, contemplation and peacemaking.
  • Motto: “To Learn, To Love, To Serve”
  • Campus: The main campus in Reading is 121 acres, with two satellite campuses in Philadelphia and Pottsville (Schuylkill County).
  • Location: Our residential campus is situated three miles from center-city Reading, in the scenic Blue Mountain area of Eastern Pennsylvania.
  • Enrollment: 3,000 students attend Alvernia including 1,500 traditional undergraduates, 600 continuing education students, and 780 graduate students. Over 77% of first-year students live on campus.
  • Faculty: Our professors are accomplished scholars, experts in their fields, and supportive mentors. The student-to-faculty ratio is 14:1. Most classes are 20 students or fewer.
  • Athletics: NCAA Division III, member of the Commonwealth Conference of the Middle Atlantic States Athletic Corporation and member of Eastern College Athletic Conference, 8 men’s and 10 women’s intercollegiate sports.