Academic Convocation 2013
The Fairleigh Dickinson University community celebrated its annual Academic Convocation on Wednesday, September 18, 2013. The event, which officially marks the new academic year, honored several outstanding faculty and staff members. University President Sheldon Drucker delivered the keynote address titled "FDU in a Time of Transition and Opportunity."
In President’s Drucker’s keynote address, he focused on the challenges and opportunities facing FDU. He described a difficult environment for higher education in general, one marked by rising tuition and student debts, increasing institutional debts and costs, uncertainty concerning government aid and, of course, more demands for affordability and accountability. More and more people today, he said, are questioning the value of a college degree and limiting the amount they will spend on college.
"In nearly two decades of carefully surveying the landscape of higher education, I have never been more concerned about the future of the American university. I unfortunately believe there are institutions that will not survive this crisis," he said. Drucker added, though, that he was confident FDU will not only survive, but emerge "stronger than ever."
Drucker cited the many strengths of FDU including talented faculty, the global mission and great programs, as well as strong support services. He also pointed to what he called FDU’s enduring values — innovation, agility, accessibility, transformation and resiliency. "What makes me convinced FDU will survive and prosper is not so much what we offer, but what we stand for."
The president said he would be meeting with faculty, students, alumni and staff throughout the fall to discuss their ideas and suggestions. This input will be considered for the strategic plan that will be drafted this academic year. "Together we will chart a course. Together we will define our future," he said.
The president asked faculty to continue doing what they do so well. "You are the prime forces shaping student lives and careers. You define an FDU education," Drucker said. He added that he would be devoting about half his time to fund-raising and generating new resources for faculty and students.
The president also cited several immediate goals including:
"There are many priorities," he said. "And I look forward to continuing the discussion with you to identify other needs and develop new ideas to better serve our students. We will plan together and we will succeed together."
The president concluded by sharing the story of Ivana Viani, an international student who suffered hardships growing up in Croatia, but who journeyed to America, discovered FDU and graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor’s degree in psychology. She enrolled in FDU’s pre-medical program and was accepted into Harvard Medical School, where she began studying this fall.
"We are here," Drucker said, "to nurture the hopes and fuel the dreams" of students like Viana. "We are here to ensure that where the will is strong and where the ambition is determined, we will provide the opportunity."
Distinguished Faculty Awards
University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Christopher Capuano, left, presented the Distinguished Faculty Awards to, from left, Robert Prentky, professor of psychology and director of the MA in Forensic Psychology Program, Distinguished Faculty Award for Research and Scholarship; Kiron Sharma, professor of mathematics, computer science and physics, Distinguished Faculty Award for Service; and Peter Burkholder, associate professor of history, Distinguished Faculty Award for Teaching.
Pillars of FDU Award
The Pillars of FDU Award is given to staff members who make extraordinary contributions to FDU and who have been at the University for more than 10 years.
College at Florham Provost Peter Woolley, center, presented his campus awards to Kristina Jones, assistant director of the Educational Opportunity Fund, and Roger Kindel, associate director of athletics.
Metropolitan Campus Provost Joseph Kiernan presented the campus Pillars to Lea Ronchi, University associate director of Enrollment Services,and Rosemary Murphy, administrative assistant in the Regional Center.
President Drucker awarded a Presidential Citation to Christine Ferraiuolo and Theresa Montalbano, assistants to the dean, Maxwell Becton College of Arts and Sciences, for their extraordinary work running the Endeavor course evaluation system.