President's Message from Spring Portraits 2009
Dear Friends and Supporters,
As you undoubtedly suspect, one of our highest priorities is ensuring that our students are able to achieve their academic and career goals. To that end, we have sought to identify those students who are experiencing financial difficulties because of tightening credit markets. In addition to helping them identify federal and state grant and loan resources, we also established a Labor Scholarship Program which is designed to provide work experience for students, while they earn money to cover the cost of going to college.
During the last eight months, we have been deluged with news reports of subprime mortgages, rising unemployment rates, bank failures, volatility in the financial markets, and declining endowments. I suspect that every single person in this country and every single college or university has felt the effects of the turbulence in the economy in one form or another. In that regard, Pitt-Bradford is no exception. Nevertheless, we continue to monitor economic trends at the national, state, and local levels. We’re ever mindful of the impact of these trends on our institution and continue to respond in ways that protect our highest priorities and sustain the momentum we have built during the last few years.
Fortunately, our endowed scholarship funds continued to generate scholarships for our students. The average private donor scholarship awarded during the current year was $1,500, and a total of 295 students received 367 awards. Because of the recent decline in our endowment and the manner in which distributions are made, we expect that there will be progressively fewer scholarship awards during the next few years and that the average size of the scholarships will be smaller. Of course, a potential mitigating factor in all of this is that we recently received a $1 million scholarship challenge from the Agnes Thomas Estate. A dollar-for-dollar matching challenge, the gift has already generated an additional $500,000 for new scholarships or for enhancement of exiting scholarships. At the present time, nearly $500,000 in matching funds remain available from the challenge.
I thank you for your continuing support and hope that you’re as moved as I am by the interesting life stories our alumni tell in the pages of this issue of Portraits.
Many of you have contributed generously to scholarship funds or other areas of need at Pitt-Bradford. Your contributions have enabled us to emerge as one of the best baccalaureate colleges in this region of the country, recognized annually by U. S. News and World Report and by Princeton Review. We will continue to steward your financial contributions as effectively as possible and ensure that Pitt-Bradford continues to be a formidable presence in the region.
On the one hand, the stories covered in this issue of Portraits are a wholesome diversion from the daily bombardment of unsavory economic news; on the other, they offer telling examples of how our momentum continues to build, especially in the student life areas of athletics and recreation. What is more, the stories about alumni Tim Donovan, Jordan Ring and Katie Moore reflect a core attribute I discovered recently about our campus community and which I discussed in my previous Portraits message. That attribute is pursuit of a passion. Clearly, each of these alumni identified a passion early in life. Their experiences at Pitt-Bradford illuminated the pathway to enable each one to pursue his or her passion and, in time, achieve fulfillment in life.