Friday, April 16, 2010

Activity and excitement among Peirce College community: Thoughts on some recent events and initiatives

Peirce students and staff at a recent College event 
This is a great time of year around campus at Peirce College. An active winter for the College has truly given way to an even busier spring, and there is much fervor among students, alumni, faculty, and staff alike.

Here is just a sample of events and initiatives taking shape right now.

-External Relations. The month of March was jam packed with external relations opportunities highlighted by two Greater Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce events, and a meeting with Mayor Nutter among the region’s college and university presidents.

It is great to have an opportunity to tell the Peirce story to leaders throughout the area. To a person, they are highly impressed with the work we do with our students and the value we bring to the community-at-large. It is clear that our students, alumni, faculty, and staff do a stellar job of representing themselves and Peirce College to others in the community -- a point of pride for me as the College’s president.

-Strategic Planning. We have discussed our strategic planning process in the past on Peirce Connections. Currently, the College’s five-year strategic agenda and accompanying financial plan are in the final stages of development. Extensive meetings were held with the Steering Committee (which is composed of students, alumni, trustees, faculty, staff, and external partners), the Board of Trustees, and the employee community during March to obtain feedback during the drafting phase.

The final draft agenda was approved by the trustees on April 9. An Implementation Committee for the Strategic Plan has already been assembled to develop the tactical components of the plan.

-AICUP Conference. Between March 22 and 23, I attended the Association of Independent Colleges and Universities in Pennsylvania's (AICUP) annual meeting for member presidents in Hershey, Pa. Major topics this year included: managing through hard financial times, latest trends in the financial model for colleges and universities, and updates on the Pennsylvania gubernatorial election.

On the last topic, we enjoyed a panel discussion among the campaign managers for all the gubernatorial candidates. At dinner on March 22, AICUP honored former Pennsylvania first lady Michele Ridge, for her contributions to higher education in the Commonwealth.

It’s always very exhilarating for me to meet with colleagues from across the Commonwealth to discuss current developments in higher education. Most notable is that, regardless of geography, institution size or type, there is always a genuine focus on mission and student access among the leadership of Pennsylvania’s independent colleges and universities.

It gives me a great deal of pride to be affiliated with such an esteemed body of presidents representing the private institutions across our state. These are men and women who are charismatic, learned scholars, and great advocates for the citizens and employers of our communities. They have devoted their careers to building the minds and skills of our citizenry.

-W.W. Smith Scholars Reception. On April 1, we hosted a reception in honor of the College’s W.W. Smith Scholars. Michelle Montgomery, Grant Administrator from the W.W. Smith Charitable Trust, joined us in the Snyder Courtyard on a beautiful sunny afternoon as we paid tribute to award recipients from the past two years. The Trust has provided grant awards totaling over $250,000 to more than 100 Peirce students during the past six years. Our students, as always, made us extremely proud.

This is just a sample of the activity going on right now at Peirce College, with more on the way. We’re especially excited about this year’s commencement and the upcoming Spring Reception. Look for details regarding both events, including some exciting changes, to follow in the coming weeks.