Faculty excellence forges ahead


Leading by example, Alvernia’s board chair and president (pictured above) have pledged a combined $150,000 to boost faculty excellence and launch a new undergraduate research program to expand collaborative student and faculty research projects. The new initiative will help grow opportunities for faculty scholarship and provide talented students with valuable, hands-on research experience in their major areas of study.  

Kathy Kleppinger ’83, vice president of wealth management for Morgan Stanley Smith Barney and chair of Alvernia’s trustee advancement committee, announced the financial commitments during a celebration in the university’s Franco Library. “These funds will expand opportunities for students and faculty alike and make possible greater levels of faculty/student collaboration,” said Kleppinger. 

Major contributors to the Values & Vision capital campaign that ended last year, Board Chair Joanne Judge and her husband Rick Oppenheimer also continue to be in the forefront of leadership giving to the university’s annual fund. Their latest gift recognizes that a key way to strengthen Alvernia’s educational quality is to help ensure faculty stay current and develop expertise in their fields by conducting research, producing scholarly and creative works and, when possible, by working closely with talented students on these endeavors, according to Judge.

“Support for faculty excellence is essential to our continuing improvement of educational quality. With that belief, and the inspiration of Joanne and Rick’s latest investment in the university, Helen and I decided to make our own contribution toward this goal,” said Alvernia President Thomas F. Flynn.  

“Part of our gift will enhance current funding, with the remainder being a deferred pledge to launch an endowment supporting the faculty excellence program. Joanne and I and our spouses hope to encourage others to make similar investments to help support our faculty as they seek to excel as teacher-scholars.” 

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