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
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