Thoughts from the Dean: Dear Alumni and Friends, - Fall 2001 Ivy Leaf Magazine

Ivy Leaf - Fall 2001

Thoughts from the Dean

Dear Alumni and Friends,

I have been searching for the best way to help people understand how the events of September 11 are reflected in day-to-day life at Penn State Altoona. After watching Professor Dick Caram's latest theatrical production, Siddhartha's Journey, I think I know the answer. This play, adapted by Dick from Herman Hesse's novella, Siddhartha, is a magnificent synthesis of dialogue, original musical score, dance, film, set design, and brilliant use of lights. It is a demonstration of the creative energy of faculty and students, a fine example of what we can achieve through our newest degree program in Integrative Arts and, most importantly, a reminder that our commitment to education and the creative forces that spring from it continue even in the shadow of September 11.

In the days immediately following this tragedy, we came together as a college community to reflect, to pray, to affirm our commitment to our country, and to rededicate ourselves to the ideal that peace in the world will ultimately emerge through education, knowledge, and understanding.

We are a changed place, but the change has occurred within each person. Individually, we face a future in which we seek to fully understand what has happened and why. Our students especially are left to comprehend these events as they prepare to enter a new world.

More than a generation ago the Vietnam War changed our country. An exploration of that war through the photographs of journalists who died in the conflict is the theme of gallery exhibitions on the Penn State Altoona campus and the Heritage Discovery Center in downtown Altoona. A local organization of Vietnam era veterans invited us last summer to be a partner with them to bring this exhibition, called Requiem, to our region. This powerful collection, compiled from the archives of the George Eastman House, enters our lives at a moment when the remembrance of war has a profound immediacy. I encourage all of you to visit this highly acclaimed exposition.

I hope it comes as no surprise that Penn State Altoona is a campus on the move. The college has always been very strong academically and we continue to attract top quality students to our college each year. But we're now demonstrating our prowess in athletic endeavors as well. Our women's tennis team completed a perfect 10-0 season overall and went on to capture the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference championship title for the first time. Our women's volleyball team finished its regular season with an impressive 17-6 overall record and a 10-2 record in the conference. Penn State Altoona was proud to host the 2001 AMCC women's volleyball tournament in early November, where our team competed as the top seed. Congratulations to our players and coach Tick Hedrick-Sheaffer on a great season. Tick was named Coach of the Year. Our men's soccer team also completed an impressive season in its first year of NCAA division play, finishing fourth in the division and competing in the AMCC tournament. Congratulations to Coach John Parente on being named Men's Soccer Coach of the Year. Both our men's and women's soccer teams look forward to playing next season on the new soccer field that is nearing completion behind the Adler Complex. I invite you to take a look at it whenever you're in the area, because it's truly breathtaking.

As we look to future athletic challenges, our women's basketball team had an excellent recruiting year and shows promise for a successful season, following on the heels of their conference championship last year. Coach Kenny Macklin's men's team also looks forward to a successful season this year. Both teams officially kicked off their seasons with Hoops Hysteria in the Adler Gym; it was an exciting event that showcased the school spirit that exists here at Penn State Altoona.

As we continue to grow and enhance the beauty of our college, we continue to show growth in our baccalaureate admissions and upper division programs as well. Our enrollment is currently at 3,830 students, with a full-time equivalent enrollment of 3,601, an increase of 88 from one year ago. We also admitted 1,368 freshmen this semester, an increase of 55 from one year ago. These numbers are very much in line with the enrollment management plan we developed last year and I am pleased with the overall increase in students entering major fields of study on our campus. I am also pleased with the high quality of incoming students, as 22 percent of our students entered Penn State Altoona with a 3.5 or better GPA.

I strongly believe that Penn State Altoona is a great place for our students, faculty, and staff. With the support of our faculty, staff, and community, we can continue our efforts to improve and enhance our campus and provide our students with a college experience that is second to none.