Ivy Leaf - Fall 2000
Thoughts from the Dean
Dear Alumni and Friends,
Greetings to all of you in the Penn State Altoona family. As your new CEO and Dean, I am delighted to join this dynamic institution that has seen such rapid growth during the past six years. The College has grown not only in the number of students who are attending here, but in the types of students, as well. Penn State Altoona attracts students from 36 states and 15 foreign countries, and more and more students who are applying to Penn State are listing Penn State Altoona as their first choice.
We've raised the bar on our admission standards at the College because the students who are choosing to come to Penn State Altoona are high achievers, with many participating in the college's honors and University Scholars programs. In fact, nearly one-fourth of this year's freshmen had a high school grade-point-average of 3.5 or better.
I'm also very proud of the diverse nature of our campus and of our students; the college has doubled the number of minority freshmen over the past four years, and minority students now comprise 9 percent of our enrollment.
Along with a high-quality student body, I have also been extremely impressed with the quality of faculty and staff since I began here in July. Their commitment to our students and to the development of Penn State Altoona all points us toward a wonderful and exciting future. In the past three years, we've created ten bachelor's degrees and four minors, and we are looking to add three new minors and two new bachelor's degrees to our offerings this year. We will continue to add programs to help meet the needs of the community and the needs of our students in a way that is consistent with our mission as a comprehensive undergraduate institution.
We are looking at enrollment strategies that will bring new students to the college and encourage our existing students to remain here and pursue one of our bachelor's degrees. To accommodate our enrollment growth, we will be building the Sheetz Family Health Center, which will expand the level of health care services we can provide to our students, as well as consolidate our nursing program into one centralized location. We will also be adding a multipurpose classroom building that will be designed and built over the next two years. Penn State Altoona prides itself on being able to offer its students small classes in a beautiful residential setting, while at the same time offering all the resources and strengths of a major world-class university. Our new classroom building will enhance this commitment to our students.
As we all remember from our own college days, co-curricular activities are very important to the college experience. Penn State Altoona offers our students many clubs and organizations of which they may be a part, as well as programs such as our Distinguished Speaker Series, Cultural and Performing Arts Series, theater productions, film series, intramural recreation, and many others.
Among those, we are especially pleased to be moving into the NCAA as a Division III athletics program. We offer ten sports for our student athletes, and thus far we've been very successful: our men's tennis team finished their season with a 13-0 record and captured the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship for the second year in a row, and our women's tennis team finished third place in the AMCC. Our baseball team held a 7-1 record in the conference, and our women's volleyball coach just celebrated her 25th year of coaching, which demonstrates the level of
commitment shown by our coaches for our student athletes. We also look forward to a successful first season for our men's golf team, the newest of our varsity athletic teams. And as our athletic program continues to grow, we're also planning to build a soccer and track field to increase the offerings of our varsity sports program.
As we reflect upon the past and look toward the future, I cannot emphasize enough the level of commitment that has been shown toward Penn State Altoona since its early beginnings 61 years ago. The commitment from you — our alumni, local businesses, the Altoona community, and friends of the college – along with a wonderful faculty and staff, has made all the difference in building this great college and positioning us for an exciting future. I am grateful for your continued support. My wife, Betty Jean, and I are thrilled to be a part of Penn State Altoona and a part of the Altoona community. We look forward to contributing to the success of Penn State Altoona.