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Tuesday, October 5, 2004

State of the University Address Focuses on SU's Future

SALISBURY, MD—In her State of the University address delivered today, Salisbury University President Janet Dudley-Eshbach focused on moving the University to its next level by building strategic partnerships and strengthening the concept of community, both on and beyond the campus. 

Titled “Valuing Community:  Advancing the University through Strategic Partnerships,” the five-part address painted a comprehensive portrait of the University, from financing to academics.  Issues covered included:

Straight Talk about the State of Higher Education

This examination of national and state fiscal trends focused on the effects of major budget cuts.  “We are in the untenable situation of trying to build upon our institutional reputation while spending less on the people, programs and services that have over the last decade put Salisbury University in the top tier of public comprehensive universities nationally,” Dudley-Eshbach said.

Looking ahead she noted, “Two things are very clear.  We cannot rely on full restoration of State support and we should not overly burden students with ever higher tuition and fees.”

The President said that the University will build upon the close relationships it is developing with the Maryland General Assembly, the Board of Regents and University System of Maryland (USM) offices to gain support for SU while exploring creative ways to fund scholarships for needy and well-deserving students.  She cited Miami University (of Ohio) as a model for balancing tuition expenses with scholarships  The President also wanted to ease faculty work loads when appropriate for research and other scholarly endeavors, as does the College of New Jersey, whose reaccreditation review team Dudley-Eshbach is chairing.

SU’s Foundation Board, Fundraising and Job One:  Scholarships

The president declared fundraising for scholarships a priority.  As the University enters the second major fund-raising campaign in its history, she made a public commitment “to double the size of our Foundation’s endowment of approximately $30 million to $60 million within the next five years.”

She noted that a new giving club for donors who have contributed at least $100,000 now number 33 members.  Looking to the future, the President believes planned giving, which has already yielded dramatic results of nearly $10 million, holds the potential of funding even more scholarships.  “Planned gifts take time … and it is largely through planned giving that good universities become great,” she said, citing as an example Harvard University, which had a “head start” of 289 years over SU.

Facilities and Grounds

Quoting Parker Palmer’s book To Know as We Are Known, “a learning space has three major characteristics, three essential dimensions:  openness, boundaries, and an air of hospitality,” she said.  SU’s new $52 million Teacher Education and Technology Complex, currently under development, captures those qualities.

She also praised the generosity of alumna Anne Miller, whose major gift made possible the Miller Alumni Garden, and benefactor Richard Henson, who helped fund equipment for the $37 million Henson Science Hall.

SU, the only campus in the USM with national arboretum status, will maintain and increase open green spaces, developing a more park-like setting. 

A new library and the campus’s first parking garage are also in the USM queue for funding.  The administration continues to pursue improvements to the athletic facilities, a new building for the Perdue School of Business, additional space for the Fulton School of Liberal Arts, and a new performing arts center.

Community

In the late Ernest Boyer’s Campus in Search of Community, the famed leader of the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching said a university community is purposeful, open, just, disciplined, caring and celebrative.  To those qualities Dudley-Eshbach added pluralistic and character-building, noting this fall’s new students were the first to be asked to commit to the new Salisbury Promise, whose hallmarks are thoughtful commitment, academic integrity, respect for others and honorable behavior.

The University community is also committed to shared governance among its campus constituencies.  Beyond campus, Dudley-Eshbach stressed the need to strengthen strategic partnerships with residents and businesses in the City of Salisbury and the surrounding counties. Such efforts as the new Town-Gown Council, revitalization of neighborhoods bordering campus, a “live near your work” program and  University events such as the recent family “Fun Day” which brought local resident to campus, strengthen ties between the campus and greater community, she said.

Learn / Live / Lead

Learn / Live / Lead is a new marketing strategy for the University being highlighted on publications and banners on campus, the first of which were unveiled today at Holloway Hall. 

Looking ahead, the President noted the current Middle States Re-accreditation self-study will also provide an opportunity for leadership and service by campus members.

The President said that SU has many noteworthy accomplishments:  academic programs and faculty with state and national reputations; the highest graduation rates in the USM; a high degree of alumni satisfaction; admissions which are among the State’s most selective; and rankings in the top 10 percent of colleges and universities in national guidebooks.

Thanking the students, faculty and staff for their sacrifice and patience which have made these achievements possible, even during difficult years, “I am extremely grateful for your hard work, good will and spirit of cooperation,” she concluded.

For the complete text of the President’s address visit www.salisbury.edu/admin/prez/speeches.


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