The first Open House program of the year on October 27 was, by all accounts, a tremendous success. The turnout of prospective students and parents was encouraging. Equally impressive was the participation of faculty. I commend the Admissions Office for an excellent job in revamping the open house format and for attracting the good turnout of students and parents. I also commend Dr. Tony Gaskew for his engaging presentations to both parents and students. Kudos, as well, goes to the bright and articulate students who served on the student panel discussion.
Our next Open Houses will be held on Nov. 10 and Feb. 16.
I am pleased to report that early admissions numbers show we are significantly ahead of where we were this time last year. The most recent update indicates that we have received 109 direct applications compared to 76 this time last year. Applications from our Options students currently total 264 compared to 123 last year.
The credit goes to the aggressive recruiting efforts of our hard-working admissions staff members and all who are working in concert with them to help recruit our next freshman class.
Please remember, though, that these are very preliminary numbers. We need to continue to do whatever we can so we can reach our enrollment goal.
Alumni and Family Weekend
The highlight of the fall season thus far was Alumni and Family Weekend. New features were added and changes were made to make this one of the more entertaining and successful Alumni and Family Weekends held thus far. I want to commend Lindsay Retchless, the Institutional Advancement staff, and the Alumni Association Board for a job well done. Congratulations to Dr. Warren Fass on his selection as recipient of the Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award. Commendations to Alumna Anita Dolan as well for receiving the Distinguished Volunteer Award.
Renovations and Construction Projects
The renovation of Swarts Hall and construction of our newest residence hall are generally on schedule. The main portion of Swarts Hall will be completed by the holiday break. While classrooms will probably be available for the beginning of the spring semester, faculty offices may not be ready for occupancy until after the semester begins. More information on the status of faculty offices will come later.
The O’Kain Auditorium portion of the Swarts Hall renovation will not be completed until the middle to end of the spring semester.
Update Strategic Plan
During the summer, I enlisted the aid of our administrative officers, division chairs and leadership of the Faculty Senate and Staff Association in a review and update of our strategic plan. By the end of the week, the updated strategic plan will appear on the Pitt-Bradford Web site at www.upb.pitt.edu/strategicplan.aspx. Please note that this update identifies the high-priority strategic initiatives for the current academic year. To continue our very positive momentum, we must do all we can to ensure that each of these high-priority initiatives are effectively addressed. If you have any questions regarding any of these initiatives, please contact the administrative officer in your area or me.
U. S.News & World Report Ranking
I want to thank each and every one of you for the part you played in helping Pitt-Bradford achieve a top-tier ranking in U.S.News & World Report’s 2008 edition of America’s Best Colleges as one of the 30 best baccalaureate institutions in the North. This is a landmark achievement for our institution. Credit for this achievement also goes to the presidents who served before me, Drs. Don Swarts and Dick McDowell, and the many faculty, staff, students, alumni, Advisory Board members, and friends who nurtured and supported this institution from the very beginning.
Emergency Notification Service
If you have not already subscribed to the new Emergency Notification Service, I encourage you to do so. In the event of an emergency, the service will enable us to send voice and text message alerts to the mobile phones/devices of those people who subscribe to the service. There is no charge to subscribe; however, you are responsible for any per-message fees from your mobile phone/device provider. Depending on the nature of the emergency on our campus, we are also prepared to provide alerts using other methods as well, including face-to-face contact, e-mail, our Web site, or by sending alerts to radio and TV stations in the region.
You can subscribe to the service by accessing www.upb.pitt.edu/facultyandstaff.aspx and clicking on the my.pitt.edu link at the top or the Emergency Notification Service link near the bottom of the page. Once you are on the my.pitt.edu site, enter your username and password. Then, access the Emergency Notification Service tab in the upper right of the page to add your contact information.
Save the date for the annual holiday party which will be held on December 15 in the KOA Dining Room. The cocktail hour will begin at 6 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. and music and dancing. More information will follow, and I hope you are able to join me and your colleagues to celebrate the season.