Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Celebrating achievement, community involvement

Last week was very busy, yet exciting and uplifting, as I participated in many end-of-the-academic-year celebrations of student achievement and community involvement. The week’s events culminated with Alumni Weekend and the annual Alumni Awards Dinner on Saturday, where we honored eight graduates for significant contributions to their professions or the university.

The celebration continues this week, starting with Sunday’s annual Scholarship Luncheon. Dozens of our best students had the opportunity to personally meet and thank the benefactors who provided their scholarships. It is a wonderful event where alumni and friends of BU can see firsthand how their scholarships make it possible for our students to pursue degrees that lead to professional and personal success.

There are so many opportunities to congratulate and celebrate with our high-achieving students that Provost Ira Blake and I coordinate our schedules to ensure at least one of us attends each event.

 After all, student achievement is at the heart of all we do, and neither of us wants to miss the chance to applaud our successful students.

This week, I will participate in the following:
And next week, after finals are completed, we will continue to celebrate with graduate commencement Friday, May 8, at 7 p.m. in Haas Center for the Arts, and undergraduate commencement Saturday, May 9, at 8:30 a.m., noon and 3:30 p.m. on the Academic Quad.

#CollaborativeLearning #SenseOfCommunity #CoCurricularLearning

Monday, April 20, 2015

Advocacy Day at the Capitol

I was off campus for part of the past two weeks due to the death of my father-in-law. George Hauk had a great life of 93 years. A Pearl Harbor survivor, he spent the rest of World War II on a destroyer in the South Pacific after recovering from flash burns and shrapnel wounds. He was an engineer for the phone company in Southern California and had one child, Robbie, my wonderful wife and partner for almost 40 years.

After returning to the area, I spent most of last week in Harrisburg. Wednesday was Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education Advocacy Day at the Capitol. Our group, which included six students and three alumni, visited 16 legislators or staffers in their offices and many others informally.

Chancellor Frank Brogan, a Slippery Rock student and I participated in a press conference in the lower rotunda to announce the results of the State System economic impact study. The study highlights the tremendous economic impact each of our 14 universities has on its region, as well as the State System’s overall impact on the economy of the commonwealth.

On Thursday and Friday I participated in the semi-annual conference of the Pennsylvania Association of Councils of Trustees. This meeting is a valuable opportunity for our Trustees to interact with their colleagues, presidents from the other State System universities, the chancellor, the State System staff and national experts on higher education policies, purposes and innovations.

The week culminated with the dedication of Steph Pettit Stadium and our first All-Athletic Alumni Day, including the spring maroon and gold football game, doubleheaders in softball and baseball and a lacrosse game. Springfest, the university’s alternative to Block Party, was well attended on the upper campus.

This week begins my favorite time of the academic year as we celebrate student achievement leading up to our commencements on May 8 and 9. Some of this week’s events and activities include:
  • Phi Kappa Phi, the national all-disciplines honor society, which initiated its largest undergraduate cohort on Sunday
  • Honors student scholarly presentations, which continue all week
  • College of Science and Technology Spring Honors Symposium
  • Community Government Association end-of-the year banquet
  • Provost’s award dinner
  • Health Science Symposium
Alumni Weekend completes the week, with the Alumni Awards reception and dinner on Saturday and the annual scholarship luncheon on Sunday.

#CollaborativeLearning #SenseOfCommunity #CoCurricularLearning

Monday, April 13, 2015

Open letter to Bloomsburg University community

Dear students,

As spring semester nears its end, many Bloomsburg University students and outsiders will take part in the annual event known as Block Party.

Although this is not a university-sanctioned event, most Huskies engage in this informal social event safely and peacefully. However, each year visitors and a small number of students engage in destructive behavior, disregard the safety of themselves and others and damage property.

Many also post inappropriate photos on social media pages. In doing so, they embarrass themselves and our university.

Social events are an integral part of college life and often plant the seeds of lifelong friendships. Unfortunately, when they go beyond reasonable boundaries of safe and responsible behavior, the consequences can be physically harmful or legally damaging.

The Bloomsburg Town Council recently adopted a new ordinance to further restrict Block Party. I encourage you to become familiar with the ordinance and know you will likely be prosecuted if you violate it.

All Huskies should enjoy and respect their home away from home as well as other residents of the Town of Bloomsburg. We continue to explore a safe substitute for Block Party, including hosting an alternative large gathering on campus or at the fairgrounds.

As president of Bloomsburg University, my main concerns are the quality of education you receive and the quality of life you enjoy on our campus and in the community. I urge you to be careful, respectful and responsible and to obey the laws of the Commonwealth and the Town at all times, especially during Block Party.

Monday, April 6, 2015

Connecting with local, regional and state leaders

This past week included several opportunities for me to address the role of Bloomsburg University in the region and the commonwealth. I made a State of the University presentation at our annual Community Leadership Breakfast that was attended by more than 70 regional business, industry and government leaders. This is a wonderful way to inform our stakeholders of all of the great things happening at Bloomsburg University.

I was delighted to attend a small private luncheon meeting to recognize retiring Geisinger Health System CEO Glenn Steele. During the luncheon, we had the opportunity to discuss ways to further expand partnerships between our university and Geisinger to advance education and health care in our region.

Another meeting brought together Gov. Tom Wolf and the State System presidents and chancellor. We had a candid conversation about the relationship between the governor’s budget proposal for a $45.3 million increase in the State System allocation, the first proposed increase in seven years, and his requested tuition freeze.

Events this week, April 6 to 12:

  • Tuesday – I will engage in an Emergency Tabletop Exercise on campus, along with other senior administrators. A tabletop exercise is held regularly to test and enhance emergency preparedness at the university.
  • Wednesday and Thursday – I will represent BU and participate in the quarterly State System Board of Governors meeting at the Dixon Center in Harrisburg.
  • Thursday evening and Friday – As a newly elected member, I will participate in the spring meeting of the board of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) at the University of Massachusetts, Boston.
  • Saturday – I will welcome admitted students at our second spring open house and participate in the Lavender Graduation.

#CollaborativeLearning #SenseOfCommunity #CoCurricularLearning