It’s a new year, and I’m pleased to be starting it off as the new chancellor of Penn State Behrend. Now that the search is complete, I want to thank so many of you from across the college and community for the support and encouragement I have received.
I am honored, humbled, and enthusiastic about serving as chancellor, and I look forward to working with you to build on the future of the college. I envision many opportunities in the years ahead, some emerging from challenges, as often happens:
- Like never before, higher education is being called upon to prove its worth. While we have a good story to tell, as evidenced by the success of our graduates, you can expect to see us strengthening efforts to improve access and affordability, elevate student outcomes, and undertake research of relevance.
- The Erie region is blessed with smart, hardworking individuals who are committed to its success and with natural resources to rival any other part of the country. But the region needs help to grow, economically and culturally. As part of a land-grant university, Penn State Behrend offers the resources and talent to play a pivotal role in our region’s success.
- We’re becoming a destination college within the larger University. We aim to build a national and international reputation while integrating student learning experiences and applying scholarship and research to support business, industry, and community. We will dare to be different, taking new and innovative approaches to achieve that vision.
It’s fortuitous that three key planning endeavors are happening in parallel here at the college. Our strategic plan, which lays out seven big-picture, transformative strategies for the college, is approved, and we’re outlining steps to achieve those strategies. A master planning process to develop a vision for our campus’ physical plant is now beginning. So too is development of a plan to guide our philanthropic activities for the coming years. The convergence of these three initiatives provides a rare opportunity to synchronize our planning.
We have a bright future ahead of us. I hope that you will join with me in helping to achieve it. If you have perspectives and ideas about the college, it would be great to hear from you.
Ralph Ford, Chancellor