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President Greets New Year With Optimism, Excitement

(January 2004 – The following is drawn from remarks by Dr. Gilmour during a College-wide Webcast to open the Spring 2004 semester.)

Happy New Year—of course it is difficult to believe that 2003 has ended and we are beginning the spring semester of 2004. 2003 was a year for the record books and part of our success is why I am not meeting with you face to face today in the Klump Academic Center Auditorium. We are quite pleased that the Academic Center is ahead of schedule and I am most grateful for the tolerance of faculty, staff and students as we work on this important facility upgrade. In addition we are grateful to the Information Technology Services staff and General Service’s staff who worked over the two week closure to be certain faculty offices and classrooms were ready in the building.

My message to you this morning is one of optimism and excitement for what lies ahead of us in 2004—the Roger and Peggy Madigan Library and Learning Resources Center will begin to take shape—our architect has been selected and work is beginning on the design phase of the project. What an exciting way to begin the New Year.

The fall semester brought much recognition to Penn College—I hope you are keeping up with the significant recognition of our faculty and staff via PC Today—Charles Kemnitz National Endowment of the Arts award, Thomas Walker’s invitation to an Oxford Round Table, two librarians—Pat Scott and Marilyn Bodnar presenting papers in Russia—all bringing significant professional recognition to their own work and to Penn College.

While many wonderful things are happening across campus, we continue to have some concern about the situation in Harrisburg. As we are building next year’s budget we need to be conservative—examining all of our options, given the uncertainties in Harrisburg.

I would like to remind each of us that we cannot take for granted our situation and status in the choices of higher education for prospective students—more than ever there are those competing with us and it is imperative that we continue to keep our mission and students central to our work.

I ask each of you to re-examine how you interact with students and for that matter each other—we need to continue to make quality interactions our standard—if you do not know the answer, find it, if you see someone lost or wandering, reach out and provide assistance—the successful transition of any student to Penn College depends upon many factors, not the least of which is how faculty and staff interact with each other, with students and with the public.

Best wishes for a happy and healthy new year.

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