President's Message from Spring Portraits 2004
Dear Friends and Supporters:
It seems that only yesterday I greeted you as the newly appointed president of Pitt-Bradford. At the time, I commented on how much I was enjoying my new appointment and how fortunate I felt that I was assuming the Pitt-Bradford presidency during such an exciting time in the university’s history.
Now that a year has elapsed since my initial appointment, the most recurrent questions I receive from faculty, staff, alumni and other friends of the university are: “Do you still feel good about being at Pitt-Bradford?” and “How did you and your wife manage during your first winter in Bradford?”
My standard response to the first question is that “I work at the very best institution in this region of the country, and I love it a little more each day.” To the second question, I generally respond that if that’s “as bad as it gets, we’ll be just fine.”
My response to the first question may seem to some to be mere hype and mindless self-adulation. However, during the course of the academic year, I’ve had the opportunity to spend time with the students, faculty, staff, Advisory Board, alumni, and community friends and supporters. My conclusion is unequivocal that we are an outstanding university and that a tremendously bright future is in store for us.
There is no better basis for such a claim than the story of a young man by the name of John Skinner, a biology major and member of the 2004 graduating class. Dr. Dessie Severson ignited John’s interest in the sciences early in his career at Pitt-Bradford. He began to study and work closely with Dr. Severson and other biology and chemistry faculty until his passion for the disciplines had no boundaries. John eventually focused on protein modeling as an area of inquiry and will soon begin a lucrative fellowship at the University of Pennsylvania, where he will pursue a doctoral degree in biochemistry and molecular biophysics.
If John Skinner were the rare exception, then one could legitimately consider dubious any claims of prominence and distinction in our academic programs. However, John is merely one of a growing number of students who benefit from exposure to our exceptionally talented faculty in biology, chemistry and other academic disciplines and subsequently gain admission to the most outstanding graduate programs in the country.
Our conviction about the quality of our academic programs is reflected in the recently completed strategic plan, titled Plan for the Fifth Decade (2004-2009). This five-year plan features a shared vision, major strategic directions for the university, and strategic initiatives proposed by each academic and non-academic unit. Each proposed initiative is aligned with a major strategic direction. Our ambition in implementing our Plan for the Fifth Decade is to enhance the overall quality of our academic programs and secure regional and national recognition and visibility for the university.
As our year-long celebration of the 40th anniversary of our university comes to a close and we continue to take pride in all that we have accomplished, we must take stock of our current circumstance and become proactive in shaping our own future. With the help of all of our alumni and friends, we will achieve the collective dreams and vision articulated in the Pitt-Bradford Plan for the Fifth Decade.
Best wishes for an enjoyable and relaxing summer.