Spring Semester 2023 Update and Welcome from President Hawkinson
Dear KU Campus Community,
Welcome back to campus. I hope you had an enjoyable winter break and were able to recharge for the 2023 spring semester.
I want to extend my appreciation to you all for a successful fall, which culminated with our commencement ceremonies last month. Together, we continue to champion the fundamental values of higher education, while positioning Kutztown University for a bright future.
We are very proud of all the accomplishments of our university and the KU Family, whether in the classroom, on the stage or athletic venues, or through participation in our many vibrant student life activities. I hope you will take a few moments to review the list of some of the fall highlights on our Points of Pride webpage.
The beginning of a new semester is also an excellent time to provide you with some important updates. I returned from India last week, where I was honored to represent KU along with three other universities from the State System. The purpose of the trip was to promote our universities to the country’s officials and prospective students. My hope and belief are that this partnership will enhance our enrollment for years to come, while contributing to the diversity of our campus and promoting greater global understanding.
Last semester, I continued to meet with numerous units and attend many outstanding events on campus. This included interactions with several outside groups, individuals and alumni. Ann Marie and I were excited and pleased to resume the hosting of numerous events at our university residence and various on and off campus sites. We continue to be very proud of the first-floor display at the President’s House, which celebrates the talent and scholarship of our faculty. This includes the recently installed eighth faculty art show.
Our enrollment for next year is tracking positively for new students at this stage of the recruiting cycle. I know we must all work hard to ensure a strong new class, as well as student retention for next fall. It is important to continue to work together to support each other and be vigilant regarding the well-being of our students.
A focal point in the university’s strategic plan is the commitment to a more diverse, equitable, inclusive and accessible environment. Together, we have ensured that our recruiting efforts have been enhanced in urban areas, while providing scholarships and other initiatives to support students from diverse backgrounds.
Our overall financial situation is stronger than it has been in many years. We have remained focused on our finances and balancing our budget without the use of cash reserves for the fifth consecutive year, while significantly increasing student support.
We are working diligently to fill the vacancies on our leadership team, after having some individuals retire or leave for excellent career opportunities in 2022. Among our efforts is the search for a strong and visionary new vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs. My thanks to Dr. Lorin Basden Arnold, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, for her work with the VP search committee, while offering tremendous leadership for the division of Academic Affairs.
Last semester included the dedication of the DeLight E. Breidegam Building: Headquarters of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, and the Keith Haring Fitness Court. This spring, we look forward to the scheduled dedications of the new Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research and the Nancy Jean Stump Seiger ’54 Botanical Research Center. The de Francesco Building is on track for occupancy by the College of Business this summer, and the new Admissions/Welcome Center at Poplar House is in the advanced planning stages. Planning has also begun for the renovation of Keystone Hall, the home to Golden Bear Athletics. These new and renovated facilities further enhance what is arguably the best campus grounds in the State System and the entire commonwealth.
We also had a record-setting comprehensive campaign completed by the KU Foundation last fall, that greatly exceeded the $40 million goal. It is humbling, but not surprising, that so many of our benefactors want to invest in our students and strongly believe in a Kutztown University education.
In closing, there is a quote I share at the end of my commencement speeches, which starts as follows: “Most of us spend a lot of time dreaming of the future, never realizing that a little of it arrives each day.” Spring weather and commencement weekend – May 12-13 – will be upon us before we know it. I encourage you all to make the most of every moment you have at Kutztown University.
I look forward to seeing you all on campus in the days and weeks ahead and wish you all the best for an enjoyable and successful spring semester.
Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson