A busy and productive summer has come to a close. Next week we welcome to campus our largest class of new students in the history of Bloomsburg University and begin another chapter of academic excellence with the new fall semester classes beginning on Aug. 30.
Until then, I’m finishing my fast-paced summer in Washington enjoying time with my growing family. Two new members joined the Soltz clan this summer — our third granddaughter, born just two months ago to my daughter and her husband, and our new daughter-in-law, who married our youngest son earlier this month. As I reflect on the summer, which was possibly one of the busiest ever for our Husky community as well as my family, I’m filled with immense pride of being president of this university.
And here’s why:
The summer kicked off with the Academic Quad’s largest commencement ceremonies, when nearly 1,200 seniors graduated with bachelor’s degrees. This was preceded by nearly 180 graduates earning master’s degrees and seven graduates receiving doctorates the evening before. Over the next three months, our students and faculty continued the tradition of BU’s academic excellence with a wide range of teaching, professional development, and research activities at multiple venues around the world and here on campus.
A few early highlights included faculty and students collaborating with UCLA to study lunar soil samples collected from the Apollo 16 mission, BU Quest’s hiking trip to the summit of Mount Saint Helens and a faculty Fulbright scholar continuing his research in England on a unique form of child play called playwork.
By mid-summer our students were completing prestigious internships with organizations such as the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum and the federal Defense Cyber Crime Institute, as well as numerous study abroad experiences that spanned Africa, Mexico, Morocco and Europe. Students took advantage of shorter research trips to Egypt and Spain and a respected creative writing institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In addition, our first team of students completed requirements of our new nanotechnology track at Penn State University.
Our campus was just as busy this summer. Quest continued its popular summer adventure camps, which drew youths ages 6 to 17 years from around the region. Upper campus was the site of the National Soccer Coaching Association of America’s coaching academies with nearly 200 soccer coaches from the U.S., Canada, Malaysia, India, Jamaica and England participating, and myriad sports camps (attended by more than 1,000 young women and men).
Our connection to the community strengthened with the continued success of our Math and Science Summer Experience, Migrant Leadership Institute, TRiO Upward Bound Summer Program and Camp HERO, an annual week-long experience for children who are deaf or hard of hearing coordinated by students in our Education of the Deaf/Hard of Hearing Program. In addition, our Act 101/EOP pre-college summer program finished another successful session with nearly 200 students, many of whom are first-generation college students.
And, last but not least, Bloomsburg University’s summer college offered three sessions, growing to meet the needs of baccalaureate students who want to continue working toward their degrees in our air-conditioned classrooms. There was a time when a college campus was a quiet place during the summer. Not any more!