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The President's 2010 Welcome Address

September 16, 2010

On Sept. 16, President Greg Weisenstein welcomed the campus community to the beginning of the 2010-2011 academic year.

In his address (which can be read in its entirety here), Dr. Weisenstein referred to West Chester’s successes and to the challenges and opportunities facing the University.

He began with “one of the thornier issues we confront:” the budget and financial support for higher education, noting that, “With flat or decreasing Commonwealth funding and tuition increases at less than the mandated cost increases, we in PASSHE have an unsustainable financial model.”

While we have a responsibility to keep public higher education affordable and therefore accessible, he continued, “Accessibility to higher education … is not achieved only by affordability. … Here at WCU, we are denying more students a higher education because of the lack of seats than we are because of the cost of tuition” – substantiated by the fact that West Chester attracted more than 21,000 first-time applicants this year.

The University has also been named a “best buy” for the third consecutive year by Kiplinger’s magazine.

He confirmed the University’s commitment to sustainability when he announced that he has “become a signatory to the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment that will place us among an elite group of institutions of higher education who are providing leadership to the sustainability movement globally.”

Among the many other highlights of Dr. Weisenstein’s speech:

– Plans for the Business and Public Affairs Center are progressing with news that the Commonwealth will make available $18 million in support for the project.

– The entering class of regular admits for fall 2010 had a mean combined SAT score of about 1,115, a grade-point average of 3.32, and a 64th percentile class rank.

–  A pilot intersession begins this winter for the period between semesters. Up to 10 courses – such as U.S. and international travel studies, workshops, hybrid courses and distance education – are in the planning stages this year.

– For the fourth consecutive year, WCU was selected for the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll with Distinction.

– He invited the campus to support the Frederick Douglass statue, being sculpted by WCU artist Richard Blake, to ensure that there is a tangible reminder of “Douglass’ influence as a mentor for us all, a mentor who will inspire many generations of WCU students to come.”