President's Newsletter October 2015

Oct. 26, 2015

Dear Faculty and Staff Colleagues,

With the glow of “Pope Francis Fever” gone but not forgotten, this fall has been memorable on many fronts.

We’ve capitalized on the continuing popularity of our pontiff by launching a new multi-year lecture series called The Francis Factor. It will examine the works and writings of Pope Francis as a servant leader who is inspiring (and challenging!) women and men of all backgrounds. Dr. William Portier, a distinguished theologian and chair of Catholic theology at the University of Dayton, is the inaugural series speaker and will serve as a scholar in residence at Alvernia April 25-27, with his featured presentation on April 26.

Meanwhile, we welcomed our second-largest incoming class this fall as well as our strongest academically. We also have the largest-ever number of resident students living on campus. This year, theme housing is more popular than ever: 100% of our freshmen and 67% of all students are enjoying this arrangement. This is noteworthy because we know that students who live in theme housing tend to do better academically, become more involved in extra/co-curricular activities, and graduate on time with greater consistency.

In September, we hosted a group of seven Turkish and Bosnian college presidents to explore potential international exchanges. (They were very impressed with our interfaith efforts and connections with the local Muslim community.) We already have 10 Turkish graduate students studying at Alvernia and expect that number to expand. In addition, this fall we welcomed students from the Dominican Republic, Vietnam and Saudi Arabia with the expectation we will soon host students from China and India.

Our well-established Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership and newly launched Doctor of Physical Therapy programs have a new “cousin” in the form of our third doctorate degree — in Nursing Practice. The program is designed to prepare advanced practice nurses for the highest level of clinical nursing. It begins this January and is already attracting interest.

Earlier this month, long-time Alvernia trustee Kevin St. Cyr presided over his first board meeting as its new chair. Kevin is senior vice president at CommScope, based in Richardson, Texas, and is the former president of Lancaster-based Berk-Tek, Inc. A recognized professional in his field, he has been a tremendous advocate and friend of the university for many years as well as one of the initial trustees who stepped forward to support the expansion of our Faculty Excellence Grant Program. He and his wife, Ellen, have also just made new multi-year commitment to help launch our first Graduate Student Research Program.

In addition, John Wanner, president of Harrisburg-based Wanner Associates, and another supporter of our Faculty Excellence Grants Program, has assumed the role of vice chair of the board. John is a ’82 Alvernia alum who has been very active at the institution through his board service and his recent role as past chair of the Alumni Council.

Of course there are many more highlights to share that you can read by clicking on the sections to the left or following links at the bottom of each page.

Peace and All Good,

Tom Flynn

> Continue to the BOARD OF TRUSTEES section

president's newsletter october 2015

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