My View from South Hill
Monday, December 17, 2012
Over the last three weeks I have described some of the challenges related to cost and quality that we face at Ithaca College. I am certain we will be able to meet these challenges because our campus community has great clarity on what makes us special and on where we need to improve. We are also committed to being accessible to all students of talent, which means that we will find a way to bend the cost curve so that IC can be a leader in combining excellence with affordability.
I want in this final message of the semester to focus on the opportunity in front of us. Our greatest opportunity lies in our educational mission to become the standard of excellence for residential comprehensive colleges. We take justifiable pride in our commitment to offer a blend of liberal arts and professional education that creates a transformative experience for every student.
We should never forget the profound impact our educational community has on students. To take just one example, I have gotten to know a senior named Perri Rumstein. Perri almost didn’t come to IC. IC was her first choice but it was pretty far from home and she didn’t think she was ready to be that far from her family. Perri was so unsure of herself that she left her freshman summer orientation early to go home and began to make plans to go to the local community college instead. Her parents talked Perri into giving IC a chance, though, and she did. Four years later, Perri has excelled as a student and is on track to graduate next spring. She is a leader in the senior class, one of the co-chairs of the senior class gift committee. The formerly shy student has been a President’s Host for the last couple of years, giving campus tours during which she tells prospective students that IC is a place where you can dream big and be fully supported in becoming the person you hope to become.
Perri’s story is the Ithaca College story. Yesterday I attended the celebration on campus for December graduates. Talking with the graduates and their parents, I heard stories again and again about how IC has fostered personal and intellectual growth among our students. An IC education is so much more than just the amassing of certified college credits leading to a degree.
I have sought over the last three weeks to describe the challenges we face in order to prepare us all for the focused effort we will undertake together in the years ahead. Our vision statement says that we will “strive” to become the standard of excellence for residential, comprehensive colleges. There is a lot of striving going on right now, and that will continue to be the case. Please do not let the magnitude of these challenges cause you to feel that Ithaca College has an uncertain future. Your commitment to our educational mission ensures that we will do more than just meet these challenges – we will build on the IC legacy of excellence to fully meet our commitment to become the standard of excellence.
I hope you will enter the holidays with a sense of peace that comes from confidence and pride. Thank you for all you do to make Ithaca College a truly special educational community.