Dr. Janet Dudley-Eshbach
President of Salisbury University
April 18, 2006; Holloway Hall
Good afternoon. To our students, our faculty and staff, our
elected officials and civic leaders, and our alumni and friends who are here
this afternoon, I thank you. I am profoundly grateful for your time, your
hard work, and your commitment to the greatness of Salisbury University.
Before I begin, there are several people in the room today
I would like to
We are joined today by members of our
Eastern Shore delegation to the Maryland General Assembly. Last week, they
returned home after a legislative session that proved to be of historic
consequence for Salisbury
University. The investments that were made in this institution over the
course of those 90 days will transform our national reputation, the
aesthetics of our campus, and the manner in which teaching and learning
occur within our classrooms.
Having worked closely with our delegation during the 2006
session – and in the months leading up to it – I can assure you that our
extraordinary success would not have been possible without their steadfast
and bipartisan support. They worked with Governor Ehrlich to ensure that our
key priorities were included in his operating and capital budgets, then they
shepherded these projects through the legislative process. We are truly
fortunate to have a delegation of lawmakers who share a sense of ownership
in Salisbury University and an abiding concern for our future success. I would ask
those who are here today to stand for a round of well-deserved applause.
I would like to recognize my colleague, Dr. Maarten Pereboom,
Chairman of the Faculty Senate. Maarten wears many hats on this campus and
wears them all with great distinction. Over the past year, Maarten has been
an effective voice for the best interests of Salisbury University’s faculty and a
valuable member of my Advisory Team. As the past Chairman of the Town-Gown
Council and current Chairman of its Neighborhood Relations Committee,
Maarten frequently serves as a “goodwill ambassador” to key city lawmakers
and community activists. Somehow, he also manages to teach a few history
courses as Chairman of the History Department! His work validates the wisdom
and potential of shared governance. Thank you, Maarten, for your selfless
I would like to recognize Clacie Hubbard, the President of
our Staff Senate. Clacie does so much, with little fanfare, to advocate for
the priorities and interests of our staff members, all of whom are
indispensable to the successful daily operation of this University. I, along
with so many on this campus, recognize and admire the quality of Clacie
Hubbard’s work on behalf of those who are often overlooked. With the advent
of collective bargaining, the challenge of leading the Staff Senate this
past year has been significant. Clacie, thank you for making Salisbury University a better place to work.
Another campus leader is Julius Jones, immediate past
President of the Student Government Association. Julius … where has the time
gone? I cannot believe that in just five weeks, I’ll be shaking your hand as
you cross the stage at Commencement. As President, as frequent beneficiary
of your advice and diplomacy, and, perhaps most memorably, as your Spanish
312 professor, let me say that working with you has been a privilege. You
are a smart, talented person with good instincts and a unique ability to
rally a diverse group of people around the pursuit of a worthy cause. Your
service represents the finest aspirations of student government, and I
sincerely hope that your leadership experiences at SU serve as a springboard
to a lifetime of public service.
At the most recent meeting of the University System of
Maryland Board of Regents, 15 faculty from around the state were awarded the
Board’s prestigious faculty recognition awards. That three faculty from Salisbury University were so honored speaks very highly of the quality and
dedication of our faculty. Marie Cavallaro of our Art Department
received the Regents Award for Public Service, Dr. Jerry Miller from
Philosophy garnered the Regents Faculty Award in Teaching, and Dr. Eugene
Williams from Biology was the recipient of the Regents Faculty Award in
Mentoring. Would these three faculty please stand and be recognized by your
We are now approaching the final weeks of four memorable and
important faculty careers. Next month, Drs. Calvin Thomas and Chap McGrew
will retire after 35 and 31 years, respectively, in the Department of
Geography and Geosciences. Together, they have helped transform this program
into one of Salisbury’s stand-out academic disciplines.
Increasingly, the Department of Geography and Geosciences informs regional
decision makers on matters of land-use planning, resource conservation, and
growth management, while producing graduates ready to excel in these highly
specialized, competitive fields. Dr. Thomas and Dr. McGrew, we are thankful
for all you have done to make this Department a true civic resource.
We are also losing Dr. Carolyn Bowden, who has been at SU for
27 years. Hers is a career that has been defined by sheer perseverance in
pursuit of progress. Dr. Bowden has worked her entire career on behalf of a
more tolerant and inclusive campus-wide culture. She has worked diligently
in the pursuit of a more diverse faculty and student body. What I will
especially remember about Dr. Bowden is her hard work to establish an Early
Childhood Education program at
University – an effort which finally paid off in
2002, when the Maryland State Department of Education approved our program.
Today, it is one of our fastest-growing programs. Thank you, Dr. Bowden, for
your legacy of leadership.
Finally, we are losing Dr. Tony Whall, with 34 years at SU,
the – dare I say it? – legendary creator and Director of the Thomas
E. Bellavance Honors Program. Tony, your dedication to the idea of an
extraordinary learning experience – one that cultivates critical thinking,
rhetorical persuasion, and inter-disciplinary writing skills in an
interactive environment – has helped generations of gifted
Salisbury students harness their true intellectual potential. In so doing,
you have enabled the Bellavance Honors Program to live up to the ideals and
legacy of Thom Bellavance himself.
I would like all four of these distinguished professors to
please stand for a round of applause.
Last, but certainly not least, I would like to recognize the
members of the Salisbury University Foundation who are here and seated
behind me today. In just a moment, I will speak about the extraordinary
ability of this institution to accomplish more with less and to meet high
standards of excellence during periods of fiscal crisis.
The Importance of Philanthropy
We couldn’t have done so were it not for the extraordinary
support we have received – and continue to receive – from the private
sector. Each of the men and women seated behind me today has made an
extraordinary personal investment – financially to be sure, but also a
“heart and soul” investment – in our success.
Many of us were together on March 30 when Jim Perdue
announced an $8 million donation from the Arthur W. Perdue Foundation toward
a new building for the Franklin P. Perdue School of Business. This new,
state-of-the-art facility will provide us with the classroom space and
learning technology that we will need to accommodate more students and train
our students even more effectively for success in the global knowledge
economy. At the risk of stating the obvious, this building will dramatically
elevate the stature and reputation of the Perdue School of Business, which
is already ranked in the top 20 percent of business schools nationwide.
Like his late father, Jim Perdue is one of America’s great
philanthropists, with business and cultural interests throughout the world.
There are at least a thousand worthy causes to which he could have donated
this money. It speaks volumes about Jim Perdue and his family, about the
legacy of his father, and about
Salisbury University that we were considered worthy
of this investment – by far the largest in the history of this institution.
This gift is the cornerstone of our upcoming Capital Campaign and raises the
bar as Salisbury
University continues to achieve the type of
fund-raising success that is uncommon at public universities.
I’d like to say a word of special thanks to Ed Thomas, the
Chairman of the Foundation Board, and Henry Hanna, past Chairman, who has
agreed to lead our upcoming Capital Campaign. Both of these accomplished
civic leaders give so much of their time to the enrichment of this
University. I would like Ed, Henry, and each member of the Salisbury
University Foundation to please stand and be acknowledged with a round of
The support of these individuals and other key donors has
seen us through some very difficult times and sends a very powerful message
to Governors, lawmakers, and many others: Salisbury University is a most worthy
At last December’s Commencement, we honored another special
friend, Sam Brown, who has established the largest single charitable
remainder trust ever given to
University, now standing at $4.5 million. Think
about how remarkable this is: Sam Brown is not a graduate of
University, nor is he a native Marylander. Sam is,
however, a man of extraordinary vision and generosity. He knows that
University is the cultural hub of Delmarva, and he
believes in the institution that we will become. His investment will
contribute to our efforts to reach new heights of academic excellence and
University is unique in the level of private
support we have received. Such designated funds help raise the profile and
quality of SU, as these dollars support scholarships, capital projects, and
program enhancements. We are fortunate to be located in a community that
recognizes the importance of higher education, and we are even more blessed
to have philanthropists locally and nationally who are committed to helping
make dreams become reality.
The State of the University Today and
Our Continued Commitment to Excellence
I am now completing my sixth year as President of Salisbury
University. During these six years, we have experienced the great insecurity
that accompanies economic recessions and budget deficits, followed by the
rising tide that lifts all boats in times of prosperity. In the first years
of this century, we were forced to make difficult decisions resulting from
deep budget cuts, only to receive, this coming fiscal year, the largest
single-year funding boost in recent memory. I feel fortunate to be part
of a faculty and staff that did not waiver from our commitment to students
by providing excellent teaching, mentoring, and student services through the
lean budget years.
After dedicating only one new academic building in 13 years –
the Henson Science Hall, in 2002 – this year we have secured State funding
for not one, but two state-of-the-art academic buildings.
An institution that was established in 1925 as, literally, a
one-building schoolhouse, has evolved into one of Maryland’s most powerful economic engines: a leading provider of
teachers, nurses, finance officers, accountants, CEOs, and researchers. Ours
is an institution that generates over $350 million each year for the
Eastern Shore economy while creating the equivalent of 3,000 local jobs.
Our student body is among the most accomplished, and is by
far the most diverse, of any in
Our men’s lacrosse and women’s field hockey teams have
Salisbury, Maryland, into
USA, each winning three consecutive national
championships. Many of our other teams – football, softball, baseball,
women’s lacrosse, cross country, to name just a few – also help build our
institution’s reputation well beyond State borders by virtue of their
unparalleled success. Imagine almost two years ago when our men’s rugby team
won the national championship at Stanford
California! We had those West Coasters wondering just where
Salisbury was located and what we were all about.
In addition to our extraordinary performances on the athletic
fields, we achieve national distinction through the number and quality of
cultural events that take place on our campus. Our Salisbury Symphony
Orchestra, the Bobbi Biron Theatre Program, the
Center for Delmarva History and Culture, and the
Ward Museum for Wildfowl
Art, all have positioned
University as a vibrant cultural center. The
Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement has provided a venue for
the enlightened discussion of the great issues of our time.
The presentation by former President of Poland Lech Walesa
this past March 30, coupled with the $8 million gift announcement the same
day, points to the stature of our institution. One Washington-area business
leader commented to me that he had seen the headlines from our campus from
that day and thought to himself: “Wow, those are the type of headlines one
would expect from a Harvard or Princeton!”
For so many reasons, a school that once rested in the shadow
of other Maryland institutions is now earning national
recognition from the likes of U.S. News & World Report, The
Princeton Review, and Kiplinger’s as one of the truly great
universities in the United States.
Given the modest price of a Salisbury University education, the quality
of our academic experience has also given us a reputation as one of the very
best bargains in American higher education.
We have persevered through times of difficulty, and now we
are challenged to take advantage of the extraordinary opportunities that lie
before us. Relying on the Strategic Plan that we collaboratively developed
several years ago as a guide, we have already accomplished some of our top
objectives and are moving with intent and commitment to fulfill the others.
We have truly become A Maryland University of National
Distinction. We are distinctive in areas I’ve already noted and in
many others. Private fund raising and athletics are two examples. Also, we
are the only officially-designated national campus arboretum in the State of Maryland. Perhaps most importantly, we have an
extraordinarily talented faculty and staff, and, in part, as a result, we
continue to boast the highest four-year graduation rate in the University
Crucial Votes of Confidence
This past year has been truly historic for Salisbury University. Through the hard work
of so many in this room today, our institution has elevated its stature to
new heights. The most influential constituencies that we serve – our
Governor, State lawmakers and Regents, our students and families, our
alumni, our colleagues and peers within academe, and our community
stakeholders – all have offered a resounding endorsement of our results to
date and a vote of confidence that we can sustain this positive momentum.
The Board of Regents that governs the University System of
Maryland believes in the quality of our institution. They have designated
Salisbury University as one of only two
“enrollment growth institutions” within the System, along with
Towson. The Regents – many of whom hail from the corporate world and bring a
true “bottom line” approach to the world of higher education – made a simple
business decision. In evaluating which universities were best equipped to
accommodate more students for the next several years, they wanted quality
and results. And, yes, they want to get the biggest “bang for the buck.” The
Regents saw that Salisbury University, which ranks next to last within the
University System in State funding per student and receives far fewer State
dollars than our national performance peers, is meeting the Board’s own high
standards on just about every meaningful benchmark of accountability.
Because we have been designated as an “enrollment growth
institution,” we must develop a thoughtful, focused enrollment management
strategy. While our admissions decisions have been guided by certain general
principles, Salisbury University has never had a well-developed enrollment management plan.
Such a plan is essential if we are to build enrollments, quality, and
diversity. Because a strong graduate program strengthens the quality of
undergraduate programs, we should strive to maintain a graduate enrollment
of 10 percent of overall enrollment. Further, it is time that we consider
recruitment that is targeted to specific academic disciplines.
Equally important is a tuition and financial aid strategy.
Individuals from our offices of Administration and Finance, Enrollment
Management, and Financial Aid have been exploring alternate tuition models.
Our traditionally low State funding per student  makes tuition a major consideration in achieving
adequate overall funding. We must continue to work toward attaining a
funding base more consistent with the quality and aspirations of our
institution, and we must make the case for a more rational tuition strategy
Governor Ehrlich’s operating budget for fiscal year 2007 will
increase our State funding by approximately 15 percent. It includes an
“enrollment growth allocation” that will allow us to accommodate 323
additional students next year. It will allow us to hire a number of new
faculty and staff, and it also will allow us to better address faculty
salary issues. Last year, in addition to the cost of living and merit
increases, we put an additional $100,000 toward salaries; this year we will
do even more. Given the credentials and caliber of our faculty, we must
again commit to this important priority.
We will also conduct a review of compensation and develop an
institution-wide compensation strategy for exempt staff. Further, we will
continue to work constructively with MCEA to improve the quality of work
life for non-exempt staff.
While we are pleased with the substantial percentage increase
in our State appropriation, we must manage our expectations. The actual
State support we will receive in fiscal year 2007 is an increase that only
takes us back to our level of funding in fiscal year 2002.  We must allocate our resources wisely to assure
that we retain the agility to be able to deal with rising expenditures
relating to benefits and utilities. We will take a conservative approach to
budgeting, balancing the need to fund new positions, programs, and salary
increases, with the uncertainties of future State appropriations. To sum up,
while there is ample reason to feel good about this year’s budget, we must
exercise caution in making decisions that impact our operating expenditures.
The capital budget for which we advocated and which was
ultimately approved this legislative session will transform this campus. In
addition to the planning money for the Perdue School of Business, the
capital budget includes nearly $50 million for the construction of our new
Teacher Education and Technology Complex.
We will break ground for the TETC by early fall and, when it
is finished in 2008, it will provide
University with additional and greatly improved
classroom and faculty office space. The TETC will finally provide this
University with a unique aesthetic identity – and a far more welcoming
façade – for travelers along the U.S. 13 corridor. The very design of the
building, and the sophistication of its learning resources, will help us
successfully recruit more of
Maryland’s best and brightest students.
It certainly feels like a “new day” when Salisbury University can claim that our
institution received a higher level of capital funding than any other school
within the University System. The construction funding for the TETC was the
largest project in the State’s entire 2007 capital budget!
Our external constituents – legislators, alumni, Foundation
Board members, members of the USM Board of Regents, business leaders, and
many others – all recognize that something truly special is happening here.
It may seem trite for a Sea Gull to say, but our institution is, indeed,
The broader higher education community recognizes Salisbury University’s excellence, as evidenced in the recent visit and final
report of the Middle States Commission visiting team. Based upon its review
of our Self-Study, institutional data, and interviews with a large number of
faculty, students, staff, and supporters, the Middle States team noted the
following strengths of Salisbury University: “… a student body that is
engaged in the institution and in the community; evidence of a student
success culture, as documented by high retention and graduation rates …
[and] … a loyal and dedicated staff whose pride in their work is evidenced
by the well-kept facilities and efficient and friendly operations.”
The visiting team made particular note of our “talented
and student-centered faculty,” and they stated that “it is very
evident that there is a tremendous dedication of the faculty to the students
as well as to the institution and colleagues.” Commission members who
Salisbury University were very, very impressed by what they saw.
I thank all of you, especially Dr. Ron Dotterer, who put in
so much time and hard work as Chair of the campus Self-Study Steering
Committee, for making this process so meaningful and reaffirming for Salisbury University.
Further, our Seidel School of Education and Professional
Studies achieved its NCATE re-accreditation with flying colors! Dean
Dennis Pataniczek and his colleagues in teacher education worked morning,
noon, and night, seven days a week, to steer that labor-intensive process to
its highly successful conclusion.
I would like to acknowledge the efforts of Dean Pataniczek,
and those of his colleagues, with a round of applause.
Also, the recent re-accreditation of programs in Athletic
Training, Clinical Laboratory Science/Medical Technology, and Environmental
Health Sciences, and initial accreditation for Exercise Science demonstrate
the strength of our academic programs and the validation of the larger
Our students and their families – the most important
constituencies of any successful school – also believe in Salisbury University. The student body that
is currently enrolled at this institution is one of the most accomplished
and certainly the most diverse of any in our 80-year history. Our average
SAT scores are higher than those of any of our peer institutions and
exceed the statewide average by 112 points.
Our average high school grade point average for incoming
freshmen is now 3.46, and more than half of all of our incoming freshmen
graduated in the top 25 percent of their graduating class. We are now
competing for the very best and brightest students this State has to offer …
and we are getting them. Our ability to compete for these
high-performing students will grow, and we are dramatically increasing our
scholarship funds for this purpose.
Our African-American, Latino, and Asian-American student
enrollments are at all-time highs and are continuing to increase in number.
I would also like to point out that our student body is the most
geographically diverse of any in our history. Just 10 years ago, we were
known primarily as an Eastern Shore school. This year,
53 percent of our total student population hails from the “Western Shore,” compared with 38 percent a
Area residents will be pleased to know that Wicomico County is still the largest supplier
University students. The next largest, though, is
County, followed by Anne Arundel and Baltimore
counties. The counties with the fastest-growing student enrollments are
City and Calvert, Washington, Montgomery, and
It is clear that our growing reputation as a competitive yet
affordable institution, the quality of our campus experience, and our
convenient access to Maryland’s metropolitan regions
have combined to make
Salisbury University a statewide institution of
By many measures, from the quality of our academic programs
to our athletic prowess to our success in private fund raising, we proudly
receive acknowledgement as A Maryland University of National Distinction.
And, while it is healthy to step back, reflect, and think about how far we
have come, I am also reminded of the words of Winston Churchill, who once
said that “the price of greatness is responsibility.” I firmly
believe that our responsibility to those constituencies that I have noted
here today, and the essential obligation of what we have achieved thus far,
is to continue moving forward.
Improving the Learning Experience
Since we changed from a College to a University, the world
has changed dramatically. We must embrace innovation in order to compete
effectively for recognition and resources. We must chart a strategic
course that will enable Salisbury
University to become yet more distinctive within the University System of Maryland and in all of American higher education.
We must continue to explore new and better ways to improve
the quality of the learning experience for our students, to prepare our
graduates for success in the global economy, strengthen the bond that
already exists with our community, and remain responsible stewards of both
public and private funds.
So, how can an institution that has the highest four-year
graduation rate in the University System of Maryland think outside the box
to provide our students with a richer and even more rewarding experience?
While we are A Maryland University of National Distinction,
at 80 years old, as an institution we are just getting started. Now we have
an opportunity to build our distinctiveness and quality through a new
which, if adopted, will be unique within the University System of Maryland.
For the past year, SU faculty have been considering the
merits of a “course-based curriculum.” Under this model, courses, and not
credit hours, are the basic measure of academic content. Instead of 120
credit hours required to graduate, students would complete 32 courses. While
a detailed discussion of the course-based curriculum model goes well beyond
the scope of my remarks today, I do believe that there are compelling
arguments in its favor.
By far the most important reason for us to adopt the
course-based curriculum is that this model – more commonly in place at
prestigious private colleges and universities (including most of the Ivy
League schools and privates such as Bucknell, Colgate, Franklin and
Marshall, Bryn Mawr, and Washington College, to name a few) – would
reinforce the intimate and engaged learning culture that we have established
at Salisbury University. The additional time devoted to each course would
allow faculty to present course material in greater depth and would
facilitate greater personal interaction between instructors and students,
particularly majors within their respective departments. I am inclined to
believe that a course-based curriculum would provide our students with a far
more rewarding intellectual experience.
In the course-based model, faculty would have more time for
course development, student advising, scholarship, and creative endeavors.
It is a model that reinforces the concept of the teacher-scholar and clearly
places student learning as our institution’s top priority.
Finally, the reduced number of courses and the increased
emphasis on coursework performed outside of the classroom would ease the
demand for classroom use and, thus, make it easier for Salisbury to accommodate projected enrollment growth.
It is in that spirit that I urge faculty members to approach
the possibility of a course-based curriculum with open-mindedness. We are
at a rare moment when we have the opportunity to transform the way in which
we provide higher education on this campus. One week from today all
faculty are asked to vote on the proposal. Should the course-based model be
approved, the Provost and I will provide faculty with the time and resources
for the planning, transition, and successful implementation of the new
I’d like to thank members of the Faculty Senate Ad Hoc
Committee on Curriculum Change for their work over the past year: Dr. Keith
Brower, chair; and Drs. Grace Clement, Cynthia Cooper, Mark Frana, Herman
Manakyan, Katherine Miller, Susan Muller, Ed Robeck, Denise Rotondo, Bob
Tardiff, Joerg Tuske, and Elichia Venso.
Stanley Ikenberry, the former President of the University of Illinois, once said that “Strategic differentiation – breaking
from the pack – is precisely what will be required if American higher
education is to survive and thrive in the century ahead.” The adoption
of a course-based curriculum model is a most appropriate way to begin the
next stage of our distinctiveness.
Beyond Classroom Walls
It is with that same spirit of open-mindedness that I would
ask all of us – students, faculty, and administrators alike – to begin
redefining our very notion of a classroom. Specifically, we should move
aggressively and creatively in pursuit of learning opportunities that occur
outside of the halls of Fulton, Henson, Caruthers, Holloway, and Devilbiss.
This means expanding the opportunities for our students to
study abroad – an undertaking that has become increasingly essential for a
lifetime of employment in the global marketplace. We will also increase our
Web-based course offerings, strengthening SU’s presence in the online world
in which we learn and live.
We will also build upon our successful student internship
programs in the community, across the State, and beyond. Obviously, “real
world” experiences for our students are a natural enhancement to the
knowledge gained in the classroom. Furthermore, our students’ talents help
advance many local businesses by offering new and creative initiatives that
can enhance ways of doing business. Our internships in
Annapolis and Washington have
helped our University rise in stature in the State House and even on Capitol
Redefining the classroom will also mean identifying new ways
in which our students can serve this community through volunteerism and
public service. The challenge to transcend traditional classroom boundaries
is one that we must fully embrace.
Over the coming years, too,
University will establish a greater presence in
Maryland’s distance learning centers. We currently offer upper-division
courses at the Eastern Shore Higher Education Center, located at
College in Wye Mills, and we are also exploring
programs that we can offer at the Higher Education and Applied Technology
Center – the HEAT Center,
for short – at Harford Community College and at
This is a good start, but it’s not enough. Centers like these
provide a genuine opportunity to expand Salisbury’s reputation and introduce ourselves to a wider audience of
students and stakeholders. Expanding our course offerings and presence well
beyond the campus will send a clear message that
University is truly a statewide institution, and it
would turn our legislative colleagues from the
Washington suburbs into direct, vested stakeholders in our success.
For these same reasons we also need to consider, over the
long term, a presence at the regional higher education centers in Shady
Hagerstown, and Southern Maryland.
We should also be offering programs for the rapidly growing
population of retirees in our immediate vicinity and at the coastal
communities. Is it time to consider reinstituting the position of Dean or
Director of Extended Learning (formerly known as Continuing Education),
perhaps combining it with oversight for graduate programs? This was, by the
way, one of the suggestions made in our Middle States report.
A Library for Our Future
I would like to make note of another observation in that
report and to speak to it for a moment. The Commission praised Salisbury University for our focus on the library as essential to the success
of our academic enterprise.
At this moment in time, we are blessed with the leadership of
Dr. Alice Bahr, our Dean of Libraries and Instructional Resources, a woman
who is an exceptional scholar and administrator. We have a talented and
experienced staff that works very hard to make the most of the resources
that are at their disposal. Unfortunately, what we do not have, at
this time, is a library building that is worthy of this great institution.
We have a severely outdated and limited facility that lacks
modern learning technology, group study areas, adequate public restrooms ...
or even a sprinkler system! I want to assure Dr. Bahr, and everyone in this
room today, of my personal commitment to secure both the public and private
money needed to provide a state-of-the-art library and learning center on
the campus of Salisbury University.
To quote from our recently-approved Mission Statement, our
new library must serve as a “hub for academic discussion and discovery
and will blend space for public events, community outreach, quiet study,
research assistance, specialized materials and local archives, and the
creation of digital publications.”
Without a high-quality library, this University cannot
sustain its rise to national distinction, and it cannot realize its full
potential as a civic resource and economic engine for our community. It is
for that reason that this will become the next top capital priority for the
I would like to ask everyone to recognize Dean Bahr and her
staff, who have served our students and faculty so ably with relatively
The Master Plan that was completed in 2002 also called for
other enhancements to our campus grounds and facilities. We have begun, or
will begin, planning for a parking garage, a fine and performing arts center
that will provide new space for the
School, and better recreational and athletic
facilities. We also are actively exploring the acquisition of land to expand
beyond our current 145 acres.
Good Neighbors and Community Leaders
While Salisbury University has become a rising star in Maryland higher education and a university of national distinction, I
am mindful of the fact that we are, at the end of the day, a proud native of
the Eastern Shore. Just as we have helped transform the
economy and culture of the Delmarva Peninsula, the
support of this community has made our greatness possible.
I understand the need to be good neighbors and to cultivate a
source of civic pride, and I am particularly pleased with the progress that
we have made on this front. Today, we have a successful Town-Gown Council
that brings University representatives, business and civic leaders, elected
officials, and law enforcement agencies to the table in a shared spirit of
collaboration and consensus. I am pleased that some of our Town-Gown Council
members are with us today. I’d like to ask each of you to stand and be
We have also hired several new professionals who are making a
positive difference on this front. I would like to recognize Dr. Ellen
Neufeldt, Vice President for Student Affairs; Dr. Dane Foust, Associate Vice
President of Student Affairs; Ed Lashley, Chief of University Police; Edwin
Cowell, our new Dean of Students; and Len Foxwell, my assistant for
Government and Community Relations. These individuals have made it very
clear, to students, neighbors, and city leaders alike, that we do care about
our surrounding community and responsible student behavior.
I would like to acknowledge and thank the leaders of our
Student Government Association – President Jen Poole, Executive Vice
President Beth Depot, Vice President of External Affairs Sara Pagano, and
the entire SGA Executive Board – for using their platform to steer in a
positive direction the conversation on the broad issue of responsible
student conduct. Would the current SGA officers and senators in the audience
I am so impressed with the quality and the character of our
Salisbury University students. Because good news often travels slowly, it is
easy to overlook the positive contributions that our students make in this
community on a daily basis. The weekend before last, the SGA hosted The
Big Event, which generated an extraordinary outpouring of student
volunteerism. By all accounts, this year’s Big Event was another huge
success. Students rolled up their sleeves to rake leaves, paint, clean, and
pick up trash in an effort to be of service to our neighbors, those who live
in close proximity to campus.
I would like to extend our gratitude, on behalf of this
entire community, to Colleen Maier of the SGA, the lead organizer of this
event, and to everyone who worked so hard on The Big Event. It would have
been far easier to sleep in on that cold, rainy Saturday morning.
This coming weekend Salisbury University students – along with
faculty, staff, and cancer survivors – will gather at the track for our
fifth annual Relay For Life. This important event raises funds for the
American Cancer Society, which are used for research, public awareness,
patient services, and advocacy. We call our event Going Strong ... All
Night Long ... and what an appropriate way to describe it! Last year, we
raised $115,000 for the battle against cancer, and ours was named Top
Relay in the Nation
for a school of our size. If anyone here would like to experience the
selfless and caring spirit of our students while joining the good fight
against a disease that has taken so many far too quickly, I would ask you to
join us this weekend.
A Campaign for What We Can Become
Looking ahead, the Salisbury University Foundation will
commemorate the 80th anniversary of this institution by launching our second
Capital Campaign. The purpose of this multi-year campaign is to generate
unprecedented levels of private donor support for our leading priorities,
such as the library, student scholarships, program enhancements in each of
our four academic schools, and upgraded facilities. The Campaign will be a
call for “all hands on deck.” We will call upon alumni and their families.
We will reach out to our current and retired faculty members. We will be
asking for the help of employers on Delmarva and throughout the State whose
continued success depends upon the quality of the workforce that we provide.
The Capital Campaign, which will be launched officially on
June 2, 2006, will require the hard work of many. I am confident that the
level of support we receive will reflect our remarkable progress over the
past 80 years and will provide
University with a down payment on another 80 years
of academic excellence and transformation.
Think about this: at 80, Salisbury University is still a very young
institution. We have achieved a high level of distinction. Yet, I believe,
we are still defined by our aspirations, our dreams of what we can become.
We must continue to shape the character and culture of Salisbury University through our curriculum and our successes in fund raising.
We must continue to explore new opportunities to be unique, and we must
continue to explore ways to excel.
I would ask everyone to dream a bit, to imagine what this
University could become ... and then help me in the pursuit of that dream.
It has been my honor to accompany you on the journey thus
far, and I look forward to working with you as we make our dreams come true.
Thank you very much, and let’s get started.