April News and Notes

Swarts Hall Relocation
By now, you know that we will close Swarts Hall on May 1 while it undergoes a major renovation that will end in December. While the building is closed, classes and faculty and staff offices that were in the building will be relocated to other areas on campus.

See a list of office relocations.

While I know there will be some inconveniences during this time, we need to keep in mind that when the building is finished, it will be a much-improved and technologically advanced academic building.

I thank you in advance for your patience and your cooperation.

Commencement
This time of year is always very exciting as we watch another class of well-prepared students move on to the next phase of their lives. While the students are here, we consistently try to make their experience a meaningful one. This year, we added an event -- Graduation Central -- which was well received by our students. The event, which was held in the Mukaiyama University Room in the Commons, was a one-stop shop for our graduating seniors where they could order their regalia, get career advice, and be introduced to the Pitt-Bradford Alumni Association. About 100 students attended the event, which was sponsored by the PBAA and The Panther Shop.

There are a few other events approaching, which I hope you will be able to attend:

  • Annual Graduation Dinner -- The event will be held on Saturday, April 28, in the Frame-Westerberg Commons beginning with a social hour at 5 p.m. followed by dinner and the program at 6 p.m. Speaking at this year's dinner will be Dr. Michael Klausner, associate professor of sociology, and John Androsavich of Wyomissing, who will be graduating with a degree in biology. This event is free to all faculty and staff. Tickets for guests are $25 per person. Reservations can be made by contacting Jessica Kubiak (2-5091 or jmk67@upb.pitt.edu) or Lindsay Retchless (2-5273 or lhr2@upb.pitt.edu) by Wednesday, April 18.
  • Nursing pinning. The annual ceremony will be held at noon in Bromeley Family Theater in Blaisdell Hall.
  • Commencement. This year, 234 students will receive their degrees at commencement, which will be held at 2 p.m. in the arena of the Sport and Fitness Center. We are honored this year to have Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell as our speaker. We are also honored this year to present the Presidential Medal of Distinction to Madeline Miles, a longtime member of our Advisory Board and one of our most steadfast supporters.

Opportunities Day
The 2007 Opportunities Day was enormously successful. Prospective students and their parents shared many favorable comments with me about the friendliness of our staff, faculty, and students and the very decent, caring and respectful way in which they were treated throughout the day. Several said that the kind of hospitality displayed during this and other recruiting events at Pitt-Bradford is rarely seen at other institutions.

I'd like to thank each and every one of our staff members, faculty, administrators, and students who worked very hard to make Opportunities Day a successful and productive day for us. The planning for this event was meticulous. The presentations were clear, succinct, and informative. Questions were handled in a professional manner. Faculty received classroom visitors warmly. And, needless to say, Metz and Associate had its usual fine display of delicious foods for every taste and diet. In a nutshell, we enabled prospective students and their parents to experience what life is like on any given day at Pitt-Bradford.

As a result of the event, we received deposits for Fall 2007 from 19 students: 17 from students who will join our freshman class, three of which are Options students, and two from transfer students.

Enrollment Update
As we review the weekly enrollment updates, we remain optimistic that we will be able to reach the enrollment goals that we have set.

The staff in our admissions office continues to make contacts with the parents of admitted/matriculated students and with admitted students who have not yet mailed in their deposits. Also, they are contacting by telephone all students who recently received financial aid awards. Of the nearly 500 phone calls they've made so far, only about 20 students or their parents have indicated that they are no longer interested in Pitt-Bradford. That indicates to us that our financial aid packages are at least competitive with others that they are receiving.

We are receiving an average of 12 deposits a week. If that trend continues through August, that would give us a new freshman class of 351.

Urban Cowboy fundraiser
We are establishing a tradition on our campus of organizing a spring fundraiser to benefit the arts. Last year's Capitol Steps production was successful. This year, we will feature the Broadway musical Urban Cowboy, which is based on the 1980 hit movie starring John Travolta and Debra Winger.

The event will be held on Tuesday, May 8, in Blaisdell Hall and will benefit the Pitt-Bradford Arts Endowment Fund. The festivities will begin at 6 p.m. with a pre-show cocktail reception in the Webb/Bradford Forest Rehearsal Hall. The show will follow at 7:30 p.m. in Bromeley Family Theater. Ticket and reception packages are available at the Panther Shop.

I hope to see you there.

Search for Director of Center for Rural Health Practice

Earlier this spring, we launched a national search for a director of the Center for Rural Health Practice. The review process is under way, and we hope to name a new director early this summer. As affordable, accessible and equitable health care becomes an increasingly prominent national issue, the Center provides important service to the region through analysis of health issues specific to rural populations. Also, I take this opportunity to publicly thank Dr. Lorraine Ettaro for her able leadership as interim director over the past year.

New Faculty/Staff Hires and Reassignments

I am thoroughly pleased to announce the hire of four new faculty members in the areas of broadcast communications, hospitality management, physiology and speech communication. This group of faculty has an impressive record of scholarship and service and are dedicated to the priority we place on student-centered teaching. Please welcome them and help them to become members of our campus community.

  • Dr. Flora Wei, Assistant Professor of Broadcast Communications. Dr. Wei is currently a visiting assistant professor at the University of Kentucky.
  • Mr. James Dombrosky, Assistant Professor of Hospitality Management, is concluding his doctoral coursework at Iowa State University. He resides in Pittsburgh.
  • Dr. David Merwine, Assistant Professor of Physiology, is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Biomedical Engineering at the University of Southern California.
  • Mr. Rick Moritz, Instructor of Speech Communication, most recently taught at Carroll College in Helena, Montana.

Also, as we welcome new faculty, we regret the departure of Dr. Brian Vander Schee, Assistant Professor of Business Management, who has accepted a position Aurora University in Illinois, and Dr. Matt Hollrah, Assistant Professor and Director of Composition, who will be moving back to the Midwest to accept a position at the University of Central Oklahoma. Dr. Vander Schee and Dr. Hollrah have made important contributions to Pitt-Bradford for which we are thankful. Please join me in wishing them well in their next steps.

We also have had some additions and changes to our staff.

  • Jennifer Trapp was hired as Conference Manager in the Office of Conference Services. She replaces Katie Mackowski
  • Darek Panol joins the campus community as the Men's Soccer Coach. He replaces Cord Farmer
  • Mary Anne Stauffer, who was Data Coordinator for Assessment and Institutional Research in the Office of the Registrar, is now a counselor in the Office of Financial Aid.
  • Kristin Morris, who was a financial aid counselor, is now an Academic Advisor for the TRiO Educational Talent Search program.
  • Billy Hyden, head Women's Basketball Coach, resigned, but a replacement is expected to be hired soon.

 Businessman of the Year

Each year the Bradford Area Chamber of Commerce honors businesses and individuals not only for their contributions to the community but also for being rooted in the community they serve. For all of us who know Rick Esch and his tireless work for Pitt-Bradford and organizations in the region, the award Businessman of the Year is especially well-deserved. In addition to his work as Vice President of Business Affairs, Rick is an active volunteer for the Tuna Valley Trail Association, the Allegheny National Forest Vacation Bureau and Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems, among many others. In his acceptance remarks, Rick said, "I never had a job I didn't like; however, my greatest satisfaction comes from volunteering." Thank you, Rick, not only for your work, but also for the positive attitude that inspires those around you to share their gifts and talents in the service of others.