'State of University'
President presents 'State of University' address during Alumni Weekend
3:40 p.m., June 4, 2012--As part of University of Delaware Alumni Weekend, President Patrick Harker presented a "State of the University" address to an audience of about 300 people on Saturday afternoon, June 2, in Mitchell Hall.
Moderated by Ralph Begleiter, director of UD's Center for Political Communication, the program also included welcoming remarks by UD Alumni Association President Darelle Riabov and gift presentations to UD from representatives of the Class of 2012 and of past graduating classes marking anniversaries.
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In addition, Kathy Matt, dean of the College of Health Sciences, gave an overview of the plans for the college on the newly named Science, Technology and Advanced Research (STAR) Campus.
'State of the University'
Harker briefed visiting alumni on issues ranging from faculty hiring, major campus construction projects, diversity goals and the nearly 4,000 future Blue Hens slated to arrive this fall to begin their UD careers.
The Class of 2016 is comprised of 3,855 students from 34 states, winnowed down from a record 26,707 applications, Harker said.
“This is the most admissible group of students we’ve ever seen,” Harker said. “Every year being better than the last becomes a kind of cliché, but it’s true. We are seeing a competitive pool of student of candidates, including both high-achievers and underrepresented students.”
With more freshmen attaining math and verbal SATs over 1400, the Class of 2016 also includes 1,300 Delawareans, an increase of 14 percent over the previous year.
Harker noted that 287 Hispanic students enrolled, up 12 percent over 2011, and 242 African American students are enrolled, a 54 percent rise over the previous year.
“We have a strong Office of Equity and Inclusion, and we have a Diversity and Equity Commission to guide our policies and practices and to tell us where we are making progress, and where we are stagnating,” Harker said. “This year, we’ve supplemented these efforts with the President’s Diversity Initiative and the Center for the Study of Diversity.”
Harker said that diversity efforts also continue in the hiring of new faculty, including the 42 faculty and five department chairs hired this year.
“Thirty-four of those recruitments -- nearly three-quarters -- are tenured or tenure-track positions,” Harker said. "Of these, 14 are women (41 percent), and nine are non-white (26 percent). That’s an encouraging improvement on our overall minority faculty share of 19 percent.”
Diversity goals also are emphasized in the growing number of interdisciplinary programs at UD, including biomedical engineering and health care theatre, a collaboration between the College of Health Sciences and the Department of Theatre within the College of Arts and Sciences, Harker said.
To support these collaborative programs, the University also has undertaken a major program of capital projects, including the Interdisciplinary Science and Engineering (ISE) Laboratory located at Academy Street and Lovett Avenue, Harker said.
“The ISE Lab will be a centerpiece for the kind of science and engineering curriculum and teaching we know works best,” Harker said. “We’ll integrate broad-based science courses, biology, chemistry and physics -- basic courses that virtually all students take -- and we’ll apply them to innovate in areas like energy and the environment.”
Also under construction, Harker said, is the 15,000-square-foot Life Sciences Research Facility on East Delaware Avenue.
“This is where we’ll take the first steps in translating scientific discoveries into biomedical innovations,” he said. “The space will more than double our capacity for important preclinical research, and will serve our work in cancer metastasis, cardiovascular disease, vaccine development, osteoporosis and bone growth and Alzheimer’s disease.”
Complementing these new research and classroom facilities are a 45,000-square-foot addition to the Carpenter Sports Building and a pair of new East Campus residence halls.
“It’s the physical component to the first year programming pieces we’ve already put in place,” Harker said. “Together, the two residence halls will total 252,000 square feet and will house 767 first year students. The pair will open in fall 2013.”
Additional new buildings in the early planning stages include a 1,100-seat dining hall, and a social science hall, both located on UD’s Central Campus, Harker said.
Harker also said that UD’s vision for the STAR Campus continues the vision for American education set forth in Justin Morrill’s Land Grant Act of 1862.
“The STAR Campus is our land-grant mission in action,” Harker said. “This is where we’ll join our efforts with our many academic and industry partners to deploy our creativity and inventiveness to solve the most persistent problems that challenge our local and global communities."
After Harker’s presentation, Matt previewed plans for the College of Health Sciences on the STAR Campus, including models for business partnerships that including clinical care, education, health and wellness and medical technology.
“The goal is for a healthy working, learning community that brings together education, business and the community,” Matt said. “We also want to engage students and have them connected with the community.”
UD Alumni Association
Riabov, president of the UD Alumni Association and a member of the Class of 1973, thanked the UD Office of Alumni Relations and the many UD alumni clubs that worked to bring as many of the University’s 155,000 alums as possible to Newark for Alumni Reunion weekend.
“The number of alumni events and clubs around the country continue to grow,” Riabov said. “With your continued help we can have an even great support for the UD alumni community.”
Class gifts received from previous graduating classes marking an anniversary in 2012, included:
- Class of 2012: $21,800;
- Class of 2007: $18,730;
- Class of 2002: $31,375;
- Class of 1997: $50,125;
- Class of 1992: $93,000;
- Class of 1987: $251,110; and
- Class of 1962: $1,570,000.
Gifts presented totaled $2,036,140.
Accepting an oversized check for the grand total, Harker said, "I'm honored to accept this incredibly generous gift on behalf of your classes. It's unprecedented."
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Article by Jerry Rhodes
Photos by Ambre Alexander