The Blueprint - February 2020
The Blueprint is a monthly newsletter from the President that aims to keep the community informed about College-wide initiatives. Read the most recent edition below.
Dear Campus Community,
We have so much to be grateful for as we begin to wind down a long, but invigorating, winter season. Among the highlights of the past few months has been the construction of the Commons, which is where the trustees held an upbeat winter meeting earlier this month.
It was there where we, once again, honored the incredible support of Joan and Will Abele ’61, whose historic gift officially brought our Keep the Promise campaign total to $103 million and counting. We finally had an opportunity to officially welcome new trustee Christian Sockel ’93, who currently serves as assistant headmaster for institutional giving at The Hill School. And the trustees began envisioning what a long-term strategic discussion around the unifying theme of “student success” might look like. This was particularly inspiring as it demonstrated their enthusiastic commitment to the Ursinus Quest and our four open questions. The trustees were introduced to our new The Common Fund, our new investment fund management partners, and were themselves engaged in an interactive enrollment management conversation that posited the question, “What will it mean to be a top-tier national liberal arts school from an enrollment perspective?” Finally, we spoke about the creation of our new Committee to Study Community Standards for Alcohol and Substance Abuse, and the progress we are all making towards the well-being and growth of every student at Ursinus.
Other important contributions to that winter board meeting are included below, along with important updates you might be interested in learning more about. As you read these updates, I ask that each of us regularly take a few moments to reflect on the spirit and experiences from MLK Week, so that those experiences may continue to positively inform how we interact with one another as colleagues and peers. Thank you for all the work you do!
Last semester, we announced that renowned author Min Jin Lee will serve as commencement speaker for the class of 2020. Now, I’m pleased to share that Colman Domingo will return to Ursinus to speak during the baccalaureate ceremony on May 15. An ordained minister and actor, Colman visited Ursinus last year for his talk, “Spirituality and the Arts: Using Grief as a Catalyst for Creative Expression and Social Transformation.” He is a Tony, Lawrence Olivier, Drama Desk, Drama League and NAACP award nominee. I’m looking forward to hearing from both Min and Colman this spring.
In our continuing commitment to student success through innovative approaches to interdisciplinary and interdivisional collaboration, I am proud of the work of our latest partnership. The Nexus initiative is a collaboration between academic affairs and student affairs that seamlessly brings together three key components to an Ursinus student’s education: service, leadership and the meaningful pursuit of professional development. Keep an eye out for events and programs brought forth, together, by the offices of career and postgraduate development, student activities and UCARE.
We continue to strengthen the way we communicate to our campus community. Last month, we launched MobileU, a mobile device app that provides instant access to campus safety resources and sends important safety alerts. About ¼ of our entire campus community has downloaded the app. Let’s try for more! We also introduced a new campus life channel to display important information on the monitors throughout campus. This channel enhances the ability of our community to promote events and programs. Thank you to Campus Safety, Library and Information Technology and College Communications for their work on making these a reality.
This year’s honoree for the Bear2Bear Impact Award for Leadership and Service is Joseph DeSimone ’86, P’12, a proud alumnus, emeritus trustee, scientist, innovator and co-founder and executive chairman of Carbon. He continues to be a model for personal achievement and service to Ursinus. I hope that you will join us at this festive and impactful event at RiverCrest Golf Club & Preserve in Phoenixville. There is a faculty and staff discount rate for tickets, and proceeds support of our Bear2Bear Student Emergency Fund.
In addition to Admitted Students Day, April 3 and 4 is shaping up to be quite an exciting two days for Ursinus. On April 3, we’ll officially dedicate the Commons before the second annual Bear2Bear Benefit and Bash occurs later that evening. The celebration continues the next day with our inaugural Music on Main festival, featuring live music (28 performances!) food trucks, vendors and—of course—a chance to tour the Commons. Stay tuned for more details coming next week.
Our enrollment division is hard at work admitting members of the class of 2024. As of the board meeting, applications are up 10 percent and deposits are up nearly 45 percent. Our admission counselors are deep into reading regular decision applications, while working to yield the early action and early decision admitted students. This spring, we’re excited to host academic interest days, regional receptions and our culminating event, Admitted Students Day, which will take place on Friday, April 3. Please save that date on your calendars and thank you in advance for your efforts to help yield the class of 2024.
Please join the entire campus community in congratulating the following five faculty who have just been awarded tenure: Meghan Brodie (theater), Jasmine Harris (anthropology and sociology), Alice Leppert (Media and Communication Studies), Jennifer Round (biology) and Oscar Ivan Useche (modern languages). We are grateful for your service to the college and to our students! Additionally, I am proud to share that Charlie Jamison, our special collections librarian, was granted faculty emeritus status once he draws his career at Ursinus to a close later this spring.