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Toyia Heyward
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2017 State of the University Address

August 25, 2017
Dr Kenneth S. Hawkinson, president

Good morning and welcome to the 2017 Faculty and Staff Convocation and Celebration.  My thanks to the prior speakers for their remarks and for their dedication to our institution.  Congratulations to all those who have been recognized today and welcome to all the new faculty and staff.  This is a wonderful place to live and work and we thank you for joining our community.

The Council of Trustees of Kutztown University provides valuable oversight and makes an important contribution to our institution and I would again like to acknowledge Council of Trustee chair Dr. Charles Blocksidge and the other members of our Council of Trustees in attendance. 

Ann Marie and I would also like to thank all of you and the entire University and Kutztown community for the support we have continued to receive over the course of this past year.  We have been touched by the graciousness of the many, many people we have met. 

And thanks to Provost Anne Zayaitz for serving as emcee for this event.

Let me also acknowledge my office staff; Toyia Heyward, Pam Rex, and Amy Ridenour.

I believe that the purpose of this gathering is to celebrate the accomplishments of our faculty and staff, and to provide an update on significant happenings at the university and on our progress in moving the university forward.

You are all aware of the university's checklist - the 53 initiatives that were established at the beginning of my presidency.  Many of these initiatives have been incorporated into our strategic plan and I will continue to work with our Strategic Planning Committee to transition this document into our wider University Plan.  These initiatives have been recently updated and the checklist is posted on the university website for your review. 

I am now two months into my third year as president of Kutztown University and it is a good time to examine the accomplishments and challenges of the first two years and what lies ahead in the coming year and years.


Leadership Team
First, and of great importance, I have put in place what I believe to be a very strong leadership team.  You see on the screen the administrative leaders who have been hired in the last two years.  Please note that all these positions have been filled in open or reallocated lines. 

  • Dr. Anne Zayaitz, Provost and VP for Academic Affairs
  • Dr. Warren Hilton, VP for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs
  • Dr. Donavan McCargo, Assistant Vice President and Dean of Students
  • Mr. Jeff Jones, Director of Admissions/Special Assistant for Enrollment Management and Diversity Recruitment
  • Dr. Roger Douglas, Director of International Admissions and Services
  • Ms. Sharmon Bryant, Director First-Year Experience
  • Ms. Des Reasoner, Director of Residence Life
  • Mr. Terry Brown, Assistant VP Facilities, Maintenance and Construction
  • Dr. Anne Carroll, Dean of Business
  • Dr. David Beougher, Dean of Liberal Arts & Sciences

We have strong leaders in interim positions:

  • Mr. Matt Santos, AVP Communication, Marketing, and External Affairs
  • Dr. Michelle Kiec, Dean of Visual and Performing Arts
  • Dr. John Ward, Dean of Education

University Brand

We are in the process of rolling out of our new university "brand" or marketing campaign.  The brand goes back to our roots as a university -- celebrating our first generation students and students who come from working class families, historically, from farms, coal mines, and the mills -- where character leads to a strong work ethic - to the fact that we have historically served students who have "grit." Ultimately, this important effort will be crucial in helping us to tell our story in a way that will attract more students to KU.

Enhanced Webpage Design

University Relations directed the development of our new, responsive, attractive homepage which was completed in the spring of 2016.  The full screen site has enhanced stories and photos - which are updated quarterly - as well as news and additional links.  The balance of the website will receive a responsive re-design in 2017-18.

Student Success, Access, and Academic Quality

Our incoming freshman academic profile, for a second year in a row, is among the best in recent history and we are expecting continued success. 

We have maintained our overall retention, continuation, and 6-year graduation rates. 

Chart showing percent of cohort returning. Please Contact the President's Office if you need assistance.

Scholarships:  Our scholarships continue to attract high-achieving students - below is a list of all the university's old and new scholarships - all have been reviewed and many revised. 

We have put in place scholarships for students with high SATs and GPAs, housing scholarships for top student-athletes, book grants for transfer students, talent grants for top students in the arts, need based scholarships, and an increase in assistance from special funds from the foundation.  There continues to be funds available for students in STEM fields. 

Additionally, due to the generosity of our donors, we have over 250 scholarships available to our students through the KU Foundation.

As we go into this next year, we will refine our scholarship criteria to look more closely at high school GPA and other variables to help us identify and support highly-qualified students. 

Need-based Scholarships
Golden Bear Maroon
Golden Bear Gold
Golden Bear Platinum (debt-free tuition)
KU Academic Excellence Scholarship

Merit Scholarships
Sesquicentennial Academic Honors
Presidential Academic Honors
Transfer Book Award
Board of Governors Tuition Waiver
International Piano and String Quintet Scholarship
KU Allentown School District Scholarship
KU Reading School District Scholarship
KU School District of Philadelphia Scholarship
KU Centro Hispano Daniel Torres (Reading, PA) Scholarship
KU Latino Leadership Alliance of the Lehigh Valley Scholarship
KU Civic Innovation Scholarship
Phi Theta Kappa Scholarship

Out-of-State/International Tuition

We revised tuition rates for out-of-state and international students at 150 percent of in-state tuition.  It was identified via the state system dashboards that KU's out-of-state students graduate in four years at a six percent higher rate than in-state students.

Upward Bound

We are delighted to announce that Kutztown University has been awarded a grant from the U. S. Department of Education to operate an Upward Bound program with Allentown School District. The grant award is for five years for a total of 1.3 million dollars.  Kutztown University will be contributing matching funds of $500,000 over this period.  This initiative serves our community, potentially may increase our enrollment from Allentown, and will pave the way for students and their families to realize the dream of going to college.  

Admissions and Enrollment Management

Vice President Hilton, working with many of you, completed a Strategic Enrollment Management Plan this past semester that was vetted by our many governance groups.  The plan will be our roadmap to increasing enrollment and we look forward to implementing the strategies in the plan. 

We established a number of recruiting initiatives - examples are on the screen which include:

a.    Placing a full time recruiter in Philadelphia. 
b.    Working with the Allentown and Reading school districts
c.    We established free "bus passes" from Reading for students who need public transportation to travel to the university. 
d.    A Math placement test for incoming freshmen and transfer students is in place.
e.    Using a predictive analytics tool - Rapid Insight - to identify potential students
f.    Dual admissions agreements with community colleges in our region; and signed an agreement with American Honors to attract high-quality transfer students from around the country to KU.
Our many initiatives, we believe, have resulted in an increase in "new" students this year.  We are down slightly in freshman but are up in graduate and transfer students.  We are grateful to all members of our university community for all the special effort they put into recruiting and retaining students this past year.

Overall, because of the large graduating class in May 2017, we will be down about four percent in our numbers this fall.  We continue to do all we can to reverse this downward trend - it is essential to our survival as a university.

Two-Year Housing Requirement

We have put a new housing requirement in place for freshman and sophomores. Our research shows a 14 percent increase in retention rates when students reside on campus for the first two years.

Ed.D. in Transformational Teaching and Learning/Other New Programs

We are pleased that the first cohort enrolled in the Ed.D. in Transformational Teaching and Learning will begin their program in fall 2017.  We have many students on waiting lists for future cohorts.  We also are now offering a B.S. in Social Media Theory and Strategy, and a B.S. in Information Technology.

And, in case you were keeping track, the third cohort of students will be starting the joint D.S.W. program this fall; the initial cohort is slated to graduate in May 2018, so Kutztown University will graduate doctoral students for the first time.

Facilities Improvements

2017 Major Facility Projects. HVAC System Replacement, Artificial Turf, Life Cycle, Water Infiltration replairs, First Floor renovations

You see above examples of major improvements we have made to our facilities over the past year.  Most of these were necessary because of deferred maintenance needs - an example includes nearly $2 million to replace the HVAC system in Lytle Hall.  I realize that there are still some problems to be worked out in the coming days. This improvement was made despite the fact that we have been approved by the state to build a 30 million dollar new building; but with that project at least five years away it became necessary to make these improvements for the intervening years.

We have performed major deferred maintenance projects on Grim Hall, Rohrbach Library, Keystone Hall, and have installed a much-needed new turf field in the stadium used by our field hockey, football, track, rugby, and intramural teams. 

Auxiliary improvements included a complete renovation to Deatrick Hall, its first full renovation since it was opened in 1961. 

In the coming years we will have a new Lytle Hall, and a visitor and admission center at the Poplar House (a $5.2 million project funded by the state).  Please see renderings of the center below. 

Visitor's Center Main Street View

Visitor's Center College Blvd/Main St Corner

We wait for the funds to be released for deFrancesco Building - expected in the coming months. 

MyTime Dining

MyTime Dining is a program unique at KU among Pennsylvania universities.  This program allows students unlimited access to newly renovated dining facilities on a 24 x 7 basis.  Student satisfaction with KU's dining program has soared since the implementation of this program.

Faculty/Staff Development programs

The checklist presents many new initiatives to support faculty and staff development programs.  Of note, is the provost initiative in establishing a leadership seminar for department chairs and faculty to become better oriented to the administrative structure and functions of the university.  We will continue our faculty grant fellows program and will be expanding the opportunity for faculty to apply for AWA (alternate work assignment) as Assistant Deans in each college; the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has implemented the opportunity for 2017-2018; the other colleges will be able to move forward with this opportunity through Strategic Budget Initiatives for 2018-2019.

Strategic Initiatives Request Program

Later in this presentation, I will talk about the challenges we face with the budget.  But we also need to invest resources in new initiatives to help with recruiting, retention, and that will lead to student success.

You recall that last year we established a new planning initiative for the allocation of resources.  After consultation with governance groups, we established the Strategic Initiative Request process, which is intended to provide a means for faculty and staff and their units to request funds of $5,000 or more to advance university priorities.  The first requests were submitted last year and we funded many projects and initiatives, examples  include: 

  • New First Year Experience (FYE) director
  • Smaller class sizes in Math and English Composition
  • Funding for special equipment and technology for the lab or classroom.
  • Improvements to Keystone Hall to support our assistant coaches and female sports teams
  • IT replacement of a server that was at over capacity

The cabinet met again this summer and prioritized 74 new requests from departments and individuals on campus and we were able to fund 57 projects for the coming year at a total of $3.3 million dollars.  Listed below are the general areas in which the projects fall that have been approved for funding. 

Kutztown University
Strategic Initiative Requests   
One-Time Funding Only
Summer 2017 Allocation   

 Central Divisional
 Funding Funding Total
Student Success Initiatives            116,371            225,000            341,371
Diversity Initiatives                        -                 17,145               17,145
Professional development               20,000               32,500               52,500
Academic program development/
           200,000               40,000            240,000
Recruitment Initiatives            184,308            356,500            540,808
Technology Initiatives            104,868         1,072,082         1,176,950
Other initiatives               25,021            276,172            301,193
Equipment replacement               24,687            376,718            401,405
Facilities renovation               95,000            145,000            240,000
           770,255         2,541,117         3,311,372

As you can see, many initiatives were funded with department, college, or divisional funds.  Requests that required additional support in the form of central funding were covered through our gain sharing program, which recovered $500,000 during the fall of 2016.

Deans or supervisors will soon be contacting their staff with regard to whether projects were selected for funding.


A major goal of our university these past two years has been to increase the diversity of our students.  As you can see on the chart - diversity at KU among its student population is the highest in our history - we have gone from 11 percent diverse students in 2009 to 21 percent this year.  From last year to this year we have increased our overall diversity from 19 to 21 percent and our freshman class cohort from 19 to nearly 26 percent.   This is a significant improvement.

As of today, we have increased our diversity numbers among administrators, and have gone up slightly among our faculty. 

We will again devote resources to sponsor a Frederick Douglas fellowship.

We will continue to support numerous educational programs and other special initiatives to engage our diverse student body and support any students with special needs.

We still have much to do but we are making progress.

University Minority Student Enrollment chart. Contact the president's office for assistance.

Fundraising Success

The KU Foundation and Alumni Relations team continues to make great strides on behalf of the students, faculty and programs at KU.  Last year was one of the most successful fiscal years in the Foundation's history, thanks in large part to an amazing $2.4 million bequest from retired Allentown teacher and proud KU alumna Joyce Wehr.  In addition to raising $5.5 million dollars - the highest annual total ever -- the Foundation increased the overall number of donors as well as brand new donors.  The percentage of KU alumni making gifts to their alma mater has gone up, and we are very proud to have achieved a 26 percent participation rate by the class of 2017, as our newest Golden Bear alumni contributed to the new Senior Class Gift initiative. 

As you can see below, we are up in virtually every measurement of fundraising.

$5,561,795 Total Amount Raised in Gifts and Pledges
$978,000 Scholarships provided by KUF to KU students (+ 18%)
$1,482,700 Dollars raised for academic departments, athletics, clubs, campus groups and the Keystone Fund (+ 7.3%)
5,346 All Donors to KUF (+ 5.5%)
3177 Alumni Donors to KUF (+4.5%)
22 Students receiving grants from the "Just in Time" Student Emergency Assistance Fund since 2015
20 New Endowed or Direct Scholarships Created in FY17
$27,000,000 Total Value of KUF Endowment, including 300+ scholarship and award funds
$76,637,000 All Philanthropic Dollars Raised by KU Foundation since its inception

Targeted Alumni Outreach

The Alumni Relations team has introduced a more targeted and strategic approach to alumni outreach and events, aimed at forging stronger bonds and inspiring our alumni to support KU with a year-round calendar of events.  In addition, the colleges and many departments also hold special events for their alumni through the course of the year.  These efforts are all supported by the incredibly committed volunteers who serve on the Foundation and Alumni Association boards and who keep the KU Foundation & Alumni Relations team moving in a very positive direction!


Thousands of alumni attend events on campus and in cities across the country every year President Hawkinson holding I gave Class Gift plaque
Presidential Ambassadors group has doubled in size and become one of the most prestigious student organizations on campus
Women attending the Ladies Tea have raised $76,000 for the Ladies Tea Endowed Scholarship
339 students contributed to the Senior Class Gift, leading to a 26% participation rate for the class of 2017 - outstanding!
Dinner with Golden Bears brings together successful alumni and students interested in learning about their professions
Next spring will feature a full Alumni Reunion Weekend with festivities for classes celebrating their 1st, 5th, 10th, 25th and 50-Year Association reunions

Transparency and Openness

I continued to meet with numerous units, offices, and constituents through the course of the year.  My meeting schedule is provided to the Council of Trustees before each meeting, and is public record for anyone to review in the trustee meeting book that is placed in the archives and sent to leaders in our faculty and staff governance. 

Ann Marie and I have continued to host two to four events a week at the house so that I could learn about the many constituencies on campus and to make myself available to all employees, alumni, and donors.  We had over 100 events at our home last year. 

In the coming year, I will continue to host a monthly "open hour" so that anyone can come and speak with me on any issue.  Of course, if there is an urgent issue anyone can contact me at any time and if I don't have an answer I will refer you to someone who does.

Advisory Groups

As you can see on the slide a number of advisory groups have been put in place: 

  • President's Faculty Advisory Group
  • President's Roundtable on Drugs and Alcohol Abuse
  • President's Town/Gown Council
  • Provost Faculty Advisory Group
  • Human Resources Advisory Group
  • Marketing Faculty and Staff Advisory Group
  • International Programs Faculty Advisory Group
  • Alumni Board
  • Foundation Board
  • There are numerous other advisory groups such as those serving Instructional Technology, and in other areas.

Of course, I continued to meet with leaders of the unions, senate, and other campus leaders to learn of their concerns and suggestions to improve our university community.

In addition, numerous meetings have occurred with the mayor, government officials, area leaders in business and other professions; and I have been appointed to the following board of directors: Hawk Mountain, Berks Encore and Burn Prevention Network.

Neither myself, nor the other senior administrators on this campus have all the solutions to the challenges before us, and I am very much aware of the talent of our faculty and staff, alumni and other stakeholders of our university, and want to provide as many avenues as possible for that talent to be recognized and used to move us forward as an institution.


While I have summarized a few of the accomplishments from the last year or two, we also have before us some major challenges or projects for which we must be prepared.

Middle States Self-Study & Campus Review

The Middle States Steering Committee and seven Working Groups are completing the draft Self-Study in preparation for the campus review during the fall semester.  This document represents the work of over 100 faculty, students, and staff and feedback from numerous campus offices.

The self-study process demonstrates our commitment and compliance with the standards and requirements outlined by Middle States.  Guided by the Strategic Plan, mission, and vision, it reflects our culture of assessment and focus on continuous improvement and student success.

On October 26, external team chair, Dr. John Ettling, will visit campus to review the draft document and meet with faculty, staff, students, administrators, and the Steering Committee.  This is followed by the team visit in March 2018.

Please accept my deepest appreciation to all who have contributed to this important process and to those who will provide guidance and feedback throughout the completion of the self-study and reaccreditation.


Let me spend a few moments talking about our budget situation.  As you all know, we have had many challenges in recent years - a major drop in state funding, falling enrollment (we have gone from 10,700 students in 2010 to around 8,300 this coming year), rising costs in all areas while doing all we can to keep tuition increases as low as possible.  Our retention rate has fallen from 78 percent to 73 percent, where we have stabilized. 

Below, you see the how our funds are distributed.  You see that 3/4ths of our budget goes to personnel expenses:

2017-18 Budget by Line Item pie chart: Salaries and benefits 75%, Other 7%, Supply and equip 7%, Services 5%, Utilities 2%, Waiver/Scholar 4%
Because 75 percent of our $120 million Educational and General budget is dedicated to personnel, we had to reduce our workforce in recent years in response to our fiscal changes.  The chart below shows changes in workforce at the university between 2010 and fall of 2017.  The data displayed on the screen shows that we have fallen in nearly all employment categories since when we peeked in enrollment in 2010-11.  Please note that we have also dropped over 2,500 students during this period.

We cannot cut much more in this area without significantly harming our mission in the classroom or harming the support we give our faculty and students. 


Category 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 Percent Change
Exec/Admin/Managerial (H10) 42 40 41 41 42 36 34 -19.0%
Faculty (H20) 507 487 491 473 457 472 470 -7.3%
Professional Non-faculty (H30) 211 196 196 201 202 203 212 0.5%
Secretarial/Clerical (H40) 121 114 113 121 119 113 116 -4.1%
Tech/Paraprofessional (H50) 23 22 23 23 23 20 22 -4.3%
Skilled Crafts (H60) 37 36 34 34 32 28 28 -24.3%
Service/Maintenance (H70) 127 125 121 117 113 108 109 -14.2%
Total 1068 1020 1019 1010 988 980 991 -7.2%

And we continue to struggle. As in past years, income will not meet projected costs this year.  We will have a projected shortfall of 6.9 million dollars (after an actual deficit of 6.7 million dollars the previous year). 

We are covering our deficit through the following ways:  We cut our deferred maintenance budget by $1 million and we used nearly $4.3 million from our reserves. 

2017-17 E&G Budget Summary pie charts.

2017-18 Deficit Reduction Plan

I also asked for a 1.25 percent cut from each vice president or major unit on campus which resulted in savings of about $1.6 million. As you can see above, these savings came primarily from retirements and vacant position eliminations. 

We anticipate increases in costs in the year ahead and limited additional support from the state.  We are appreciative of the two percent increase in funding from the state.  A 3.5 percent tuition increase approved by the board of governors will also help in the coming year, but we cannot put too much additional cost on our students. 

As I have stated repeatedly, our way out of these difficulties is to raise our retention rate and increase our enrollment.  If we still had a 78 percent retention rate we would have around 450 additional students and another $4 million a year in revenue.  As I stated earlier, an Enrollment Management Plan was presented to governance groups over spring semester and is now in place, and it calls for us to reach 9,300 students by 2020.  This is not an arbitrary number, but was arrived at by studying current demographics of our region, our many new initiatives, and our capacity in terms of residence halls, classroom space, and current staffing.  If we succeed in attaining this level of enrollment we project having a small surplus by 2020, assuming no additional major expenses.

We have many initiatives in place that should lead us to increased enrollment and retention, and we need to continue to do all we can to contain costs.  We are in this together and I ask for everyone's help.
As was the case in the last two years, Vice President Silberman and his team will present a budget update to our governance groups, as requested or as updates become available through the course of the year. 

State System Review

Last year, the Board of Governors and the chancellor commissioned a top-to-bottom study of the State System. After months of intensive study with visits to all of our campuses, and consultation with hundreds of faculty, staff, students, and other stakeholders, the consultants have completed their review.  Their findings point out many of the challenges facing our System to include:  falling enrollment (largely from changing demographics and competition), over regulation and a lack of flexibility that hinders leadership decisions; and a cumbersome and outdated governance structure that impedes "nimbleness" in adjusting to current needs in higher education. The report calls for structural changes in all aspects of our State System that will create an organization that better meet the needs of its students-our primary mission-and will do so with a spirit of greater collaboration among everyone involved.

The Board of Governors, the chancellor, and the whole System should be commended for taking on these issues-most of which have been mounting for decades.  I am committed to do all I can to support the State System as it works to reshape itself for the future.  I encourage you all to read the consultant's report, as it provides a detailed summary of the issues we are facing and possible recommendations to address those challenges-and the opportunities-that are ahead.

We look forward to working with Interim Chancellor Dr. Karen Whitney, and all other constituencies, as we move on to the next stage of this endeavor.

General Education

Under the leadership of the provost, and resulting from a charge from the strategic planning committee, the General Education Committee and the General Education Assessment Committee have been redesigning our General Education.  Currently we have many iterations of general education (18), which can be confusing and make it difficult for students to transfer and, in some cases, to graduate.  Additionally, the redesign of General Education provides an opportunity to develop a program that is in alignment with best practices regarding student learning outcomes and assessment, and will allow Kutztown University to be in compliance with the State System policy on General Education. There have been numerous town hall meetings on this topic, and all governance groups have been invited to participate in the decision making process.  There is still much work to be done, and we look forward to working with all constituencies to ensure we have the best general education program possible for our students.

Speech on Campus and the First Amendment

As an academic community, we cherish the expression of free speech and the robust exchange of ideas. The ability to engage in academic discourse in an open, honest and respectful manner is what makes us unique.

However, this past spring we had three incidents of posters being displayed on campus promoting a group not affiliated with the university.   These posters expressed sentiments not consistent with our university values.  While we must keep in mind that all individuals have the right to free speech on our campus, our university rejects all forms of racism, bigotry and discrimination.  We reject the sentiments of neo-Nazis, the KKK, and all other groups that espouse values of hate.  We reject all forms violence.

As a result of these incidents, and other situations, I am creating a task force consisting of faculty, staff, community, and student leaders to establish protocols on how to address these situations.  The members of this task force will consist of leaders of many of our governance groups, and experts in the topics under discussion. Understanding the wide boundaries our first amendment provides to our citizens, there are actions we can take to ensure that our university is defined by our values - not the values of outside groups. 

We must fight speech that is inconsistent with our values with more speech that addresses our tolerance, strength of our diversity, and respect for all people.  In the coming months, I will be putting out protocols that we will follow with regard to how we will respond to speech and actions that may fall outside the values of our community. 

We ask that should any of you see something on our campus that is inconsistent with our values, please report what you have found to the Dean of Students Office at  

In addition, we will be having a "UNITY DAY" celebration on campus on Thursday, August 31st at 11 a.m., which will feature remarks by campus leaders.  It will occur during the annual community link fair on the MSU Lawn.  Our UNITY DAY is intended to celebrate the things that bring us together.


In my inauguration speech, I spoke of the many things that make us unique, many programs and areas of distinction, but that the most important attribute is our pride in our institution, our tireless pursuit of quality, our desire to awaken students so they can reach their full potential, to make them curious so they will enjoy living within their own minds for the rest of their lives.  To make them a part of our KU history, to welcome them into our family, that we will provide an educational experience resulting in students of strong character, and to instill a gratefulness and a humility that for our students will lead to an educated mind, an enlighten soul, and a life fulfilled.

We had many challenges last year nationally, in our State System, and within our institution.  But here at Kutztown, I believe we met these challenges with dignity and consideration for each other.  In my inaugural address I quoted author David Brooks on the attributes of an enlightened person:

"These people are calm, settled, and rooted.  They are not blown off course by storms.  They don't crumble in adversity.  Their minds are consistent and their hearts are dependable... they display humility, restraint, reticence (ret-ti-cence), temperance, respect, and soft self-discipline."

I pledge to work with the faculty, staff, students, alumni, and all other constituencies to do all in my power to display these attributes and to ensure that all associated with our university will have their voices heard, will be given the opportunity to participate in formulating future directions, and will be appreciated as valued members of this institution.  Let us all strive to go forward with a humility and a gratefulness that will join us together as we work to create an enlightened community and stronger educational experience for our students.

And so this concludes our Faculty and Staff Convocation and Celebration.  My best wishes to you all!  Have a great year! IT'S GOOD TO BE GOLDEN!