Yesterday President Erickson sent his weekly address and in it he affirmed the five points in his promise to the Penn State community, announcing several new initiatives. It is very important that we as a community continue to remain in discussion about the issues that have led to this crisis and above all do what we can to help those who have been victims.
Dr. Erickson also spoke about positive signs of support and encouragement for Penn State. It has been humbling to see so many not only holding us accountable, but also supporting us, knowing that we are a strong institution with solid moral and ethical foundations. As I have said before, being a community of integrity is not about being perfect, it is about responding in the right and responsible manner when wrong has been done.
I am pleased to report that applications to the Schreyer Honors College are also, like those to the university at large, up slightly over last year’s record numbers. In just a few weeks well over 120 faculty members will begin reading applications and notices will go out the first week in March. We look forward to welcoming our prospective students to campus later this spring.
Finally, I continue to meet with students here on campus and we have a round table discussion tonight (Tuesday Dec. 6th) in Atherton C-9 at 5:30. Please feel free to come by and do not hesitate to email me if you have any concerns or questions.
The days ahead….
December 5, 2011
As we begin the final two weeks of this semester, exams, papers and performances are upon us. Although our University has not returned to a normal routine, there is a comforting sense that collectively we are returning to the urgency and importance of the academic work that fundamentally defines who we are.
Concurrently, I’m staying focused on fulfilling my five promises to the Penn State community with new initiatives including the following:
- To seek appropriate ways to foster healing and raise broad awareness of the issues of sexual abuse, Penn State is partnering with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR) and the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Penn State has committed $1.5 million of our share of this year’s Big Ten bowl proceeds to help fund initiatives with these organizations; the remainder of the proceeds will support other related initiatives. In addition, we’re taking inventory of the resources that we have on our campuses that can be applied to prevention and healing for the victims of child abuse.
- To encourage open and ongoing dialogue, we’re holding a series of town hall forums. Thank you to the many students who attended last week’s event, as well as those who watched it online. I’ll be meeting with the Faculty Senate tomorrow (Tuesday). Next week I will meet with the Staff Advisory Council to discuss their concerns and next month, we’ve scheduled forums for alumni across the state and beyond. This type of discussion is vital for moving forward.
- Visit http://live.psu.edu/tag/Penn_State_Promise for regular updates on the Penn State Promise.
With all we have shared in the last month, I feel it’s also important to offer you an update on our institutional well-being. As a university and a community, we have endured a great deal, but our core mission and values remain intact. Penn State is an outstanding academic institution, and we demonstrate this every day. We are defined by our commitment to exceptional teaching. We are defined by our $805 million research enterprise that addresses complex and pressing issues such as food production, energy, health and well-being, national security and economic development. We are defined by our leadership and contributions in the arts and humanities. And we are defined by our service work that has improved countless lives around the globe. Penn Staters are defined by our hard work and accomplishments, and there’s still great demand to be part of our community. Consider these indicators:
- To date, applications for admission to Penn State are up more than 3.4 percent over last year.
- Paid memberships in the Alumni Association—the largest in the nation—stand at 166,842; that’s up about 2 percent over last year.
- The base of philanthropic support remains strong. Since July 1 and for the month of November, our annual giving program totals via the Lion Line, direct mail and online contributions show increases over last year in three important categories—the amount of dollars and the number of donors and gifts.
- Penn State Career Services reports that interest by corporate recruiters has not wavered; in fact, recruiters and corporations are registering for the Spring Career Fair at a higher rate than they did last spring.
- All corporate partners and sponsors have stood by Intercollegiate Athletics, and our student-athletes continue to represent Penn State with sportsmanship, dedication and pride. Please join me in congratulating the Nittany Lion Football team for its invitation to meet the University of Houston in the TicketCity Bowl in Dallas on Jan. 2, 2012. This is a fitting acknowledgement of the team’s hard work, and the proceeds will further efforts to better protect our children.
Finally, I urge you to take a moment to reflect on the important work that happens every day at Penn State. I believe wholeheartedly in the value of this undertaking, and I hope you’ll share my confidence in our future. There is much to accomplish before Commencement weekend!
Thank you for all you do for Penn State.
President Rodney Erickson