President Highlights Priorities, Campaign at Fall Convocation

Monday, October 8, 2007

University President Timothy R. Lannon, S.J., presided at the annual Fall Convocation last Wednesday, October 3, in the Wolfington Teletorium of Mandeville Hall.

Fr. Lannon unveiled the redesign of the University's Web site, designed by Tellart, LLC, a Rhode Island-based company. The site marks a shift in the University's online presence, organizing content with the external audience in mind while making the MySJU portal more appealing for internal users.  Fr. Lannon also announced the naming contest for the new Parking and Retail Facility on 54th Street, scheduled to open next month. Sponsored by the Office of Administrative Services, the contest will be open to all students, faculty and staff, with the winner receiving free reserved parking for one year.

The President presented a profile of enrollment for Fall 2007 that included a look at the incoming class.  A record 27.3 percent of the class of 2011 come from states other than Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and incoming SJU students continue to grow in academic strength:  the average SAT score for this year’s freshmen is 1160, an increase of 11 points over last year’s entering class, with their average high school GPA increasing from 3.24 to 3.32.  Minority students increased slightly, to 12.9 percent, or 141 students, compared to 12.7 percent (136 students) last year.

Saint Joseph’s record-high ranking—a tie for eighth place in its category in the U.S. News & World Report “America’s Best Colleges” rankings–was noted, along with the University’s improved peer assessment score, which is the most heavily weighted measure of quality in the overall U.S. News score.

Fr. Lannon presented the timetable of events for curriculum review leading up to a final vote on the new General Education Program in early December.  Updates to key facilities projects were provided, including the Parking and Retail Facility, Episcopal Property, Campion Student Center, Science Center and athletics complex renovations.

A new Opportunity Fund, designed to stimulate the development of new academic programs to enhance the quality of experience for SJU students, was announced, with a goal of $1 million to fund as many as five new initiatives submitted by the University’s faculty or staff.

Among the University’s priorities the President outlined were a review of the assumptions and resource allocations of Plan 2010; the development of a model for determining appropriate resource investments in academic programs; revision of the 3-year enrollment management plan to increase quality and yield and determine class size; and the implementation of the University’s Diversity Plan and 18-month marketing plan.

Fall Convocation culminated with a rollout of “With Faith and Strength to Dare:  The Campaign for Saint Joseph’s University,” the University’s $150 million capital campaign whose public launch officially got under way last week.  Linking the campaign goals to the initiatives of Plan 2010, Fr. Lannon cited the campaign goal of $10 million for faculty support, including growth of full-time faculty, endowed chairs and a multi-disciplinary focus on the Catholic intellectual tradition. The campaign has already raised 62 percent of that goal. The planned Learning Commons, the President said, “is fundamental to a preeminent academic institution and vital to integrated learning.  It will become the intellectual core of the University and provide a technology-rich environment to appeal to today’s student.” Seventy-five percent of the $10 million goal for the Learning Commons has been received. The Maguire Campus, with a goal of $70 million (45 percent raised) for its acquisition and development, is “essential to the University’s vision of preeminence,” Fr. Lannon said.

Following the Fall Convocation, a reception for faculty and staff in celebration of the kickoff of the Faculty and Staff Campaign was held on the tennis courts.

--Harriet Goodheart

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