Wednesday, November 5, 2014

The Husky pride that binds us

In this age of ever-expanding digital communications, written correspondence seems like a dying art. However, there’s something personal about letters that cannot be replicated through text, email or social media.

Earlier this semester university correspondence went full circle. I wrote a letter to our alumni, university friends and supporters highlighting the quality of education here at Bloomsburg University and how we measure its success. One example I used came directly from a recent graduate, Julie Gould.

Julie emailed me this past summer to mention how happy she was about her education and how the academic support she received in and out of the classroom enabled her to land a job within weeks of graduating in May. Her story epitomizes the daily impact our faculty and staff have on our students, which leads to personal and professional success for our graduates.

Julie’s story not only touched me as Bloomsburg University’s president, it resonated with an alumnus from the Class of 1982 now living in Florida. After 32 years, he admitted this was the first piece of correspondence he’s received from the university that inspired him to respond.

In a letter to me, he said he is very grateful of the education he received here and the support that led to his post-graduate success. Much like Julie, this alumnus said he was able to make important connections through his academic department and the university’s recruitment program to land a job soon after graduation. That entry-level position spurred him onto a very successful career. A journey I’m confident will be shared by Julie.

How do I know?

I’ll use this alumnus’ own words ...

“To summarize, and to concur with Ms. Gould, when you attend Bloomsburg as a student you don’t realize the quality of education and the experience the university provides you. It only becomes apparent when you get out into the workforce and match up with graduates from other universities or work side by side with others that you begin to realize the quality of education you received at Bloomsburg. I am proud that I attended Bloomsburg, and it did prepare me for a lifetime of success.”

For me, this letter, so heartfelt and personal, is a keeper.

#SenseOfCommunity #ProfessionalU

Friday, September 12, 2014

Rising to the challenge

Following another successful Meet the President event last week on campus, I had the pleasure of joining the millions of people who have taken the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge. The creative fundraiser, made famous on social media by the many ice-dousing videos, has been tremendously successful in raising more than $110.5 million for the ALS Association.

As I said during my challenge, ALS, commonly referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a relentless degenerative disease that leads slowly to death. To date, there is no cure. Hopefully this will change due to the overwhelming support seen these past few months by our society, including many of our own Bloomsburg University family and friends.

Rising to the challenge to support a worthy cause is nothing new to our university community. It’s almost second nature for our students, faculty and staff.

For example one of our sororities, Sigma Sigma Sigma, recently helped Geisinger’s Janet Weis Children’s Hospital land a $2,210 grant for needed teaching aides for its patients.

Their charitable effort is one of many examples of how our Greek organizations – as well as other student groups – work with our community and support local and national charities like the Ronald McDonald House, Toys for Tots, Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and our local women’s shelter and food cupboard.

Of course a prime example of our passion for charity and community support is The Big Event, which annually receives a steady flow of volunteers from our entire student population. In fact, two of our largest on-campus fundraising efforts turned in record level donations this past academic year.

Relay For Life of Bloomsburg University, coordinated by our Chapter of Colleges Against Cancer, had more than 800 participants on 50 teams raise more than $50,000 to benefit the American Cancer Society.

The Multicultural Center’s annual Breast Cancer 5K Walk/Run has raised more than $100,000 since the first step was taken in 2002, including more than $12,000 last fall.

These recent highlights remind me of the biggest challenge we faced and the strongest relief effort we pulled together during my tenure as president. Three years ago this past week, the Flood of 2011 forever changed the landscape and, in many case, the future of our community. The clear view of the Bloomsburg Fairgrounds from Route 11, where a row of houses once stood, is one permanent reminder. There are a thousand other examples in our immediate region.

We lost seven days of classes, yet our university continued to work. Students, faculty and staff volunteered with clean up, Red Cross efforts and local emergency governmental agencies, such as call-in centers and supply aide distribution. These volunteer efforts continued well into the fall and spring. It was a clear and emotional snapshot at how much we value our community and, in many ways, brought us all closer together. Today, we enjoy a stronger sense of community because of it.

#SenseOfCommunity #CoCurricularLearning