This presentation was delivered to Penn State’s Board of Trustees when it visited Beaver campus in July 2015. The board last visited in 1982 and this presentation highlighted the many changes and progress the campus has made. Please pause the video if you need more time to read the caption or review the slide. Penn State Beaver opened its doors to 97 students in the fall of 1965. Beaver County’s legislators and Board of Commissioners asked Penn State to consider opening a campus in the former county tuberculosis hospital. The Board of Trustees accepted the invitation and work at the 105-acre campus began immediately. The late Michael Baker Jr., former president of Michael Baker Corporation and former president of the Penn State Board of Trustees, as well as the late Senator James E. Ross, were instrumental in the planning and development of this campus. The old hospital, which housed offices and classroom space, became known as the Administration Building. By the end of the 1970s, the campus enrollment had grown and, along with it, the number of campus buildings. In 2004 the old Administration Building was replaced with the new Ross Administration Building. Almost a decade later, the Gary B. Keefer Wellness Center, named in honor of our late Chancellor Emeritus, was added to the gymnasium. Our current project is the renovation of the Michael Baker Science and Engineering Building. At Penn State Beaver, in addition to the first two years of more than 160 majors, we offer five baccalaureate degrees. Slightly more than 200, or almost 30% of our students, are enrolled in one of our baccalaureate programs. This percentage reflects only those students who are juniors and seniors and not those in pre-major status. Student enrollment has remained relatively steady despite the overall drop in enrollment of school districts in the Beaver service area. The total enrollment for fall 2015 was 705 students. About 90% of students are enrolled full time, and 14.5% are considered adult learners. Approximately 59% of students are male. Finally, 11% of our students are non-Pennsylvania residents. Ten years ago, 6.75 % of our students were from under-represented groups but by fall 2015 that number had increased to nearly 19%. We’ve seen significant gains in all ethnic groups, especially Hispanic and Asian students.
In fall 2011, we had six international students, but by fall 2015 that number increased to 21. The numbers may be small, but we clearly recognize the importance of the diversity our international students bring. We have 32 full-time faculty members who are engaged in all aspects of teaching, research, scholarship, creative activity, and service. Dr. Robin Bower received the 2012 Milton S. Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching, and three faculty members have received the University’s George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching – Ms. Karen Barr in 2012; Dr. Robert Szymczak in 2002, and the late Dr. John Simpson in 2001. Dr. Szymczak has also been recognized internationally for his body of work on Polish history. In June 2014 at the University of Warsaw, he received the Polish “Gold Cross of Merit,” one of the country’s most honored and prestigious awards.
Dr. John Chapin has received numerous awards for his efforts on behalf of victims and prevention of abuse, including the Pennsylvania Governor’s Pathfinder Award and the National Organization for Victim Assistance – Stephen Schafer Award. A few of our faculty members, such as LaVarr McBride, instructor in AOJ, offer their expertise by serving as consultants for external agencies. McBride has been asked by the Pentagon’s Office of Military Commission to serve as a mediator between the victims of terrorism and the Military Courts in Guantanamo Bay. Through this experience, he’s able to share interesting case studies (minus, of course, confidential or classified information) with students in his criminology classes. Our faculty members are also engaged in various service activities. I’d like to share some examples of how our faculty supports our local schools. For instance, area high school students competed in our 20th Annual Science Challenge this spring, coordinated by one of our campus chemists, Claudia Tanaskovic. High-scoring students are awarded scholarships to attend Penn State Beaver when they graduate from high school. Other examples include the annual Math Challenge, coordinated by Dr. Chris Wu, which brought over 100 students, grades 9-12, to campus. For years, Dr. John Chapin held a Forensics Tournament that engaged thousands of middle and high school students in a variety of levels of competition in speech, dramatic readings, debates, and persuasive arguments. Two of our science faculty – Stephanie Cabarcas-Petroski and Keith Willson – served as judges for the Second Annual STEM Challenge held on campus by the Beaver Valley Intermediate Unit. We’ve also seen an increase in diversity of our faculty members, a fact that adds to the richness of our students’ education in and out of the classroom. Faculty are natives from The Bahamas, China, Ghana, India, Romania, South Africa and Turkey. Like many campuses, we offer a variety of academic experiences that allow students to engage with faculty and collaborate with each other. Three of our chemistry students – Aliah Adams, Tyler Logue, and Taylor Carlin – are working in the lab with one of our chemistry faculty, Dr. Michael Hay, to prepare a new metal containing ionic polymer. This material should exhibit unique electrical and magnetic properties and might be used in modern material science applications. This spring Amy Arnold, a business major, attended the International Academy of Business Disciplines Conference in Orlando to present her research project, entitled “Have Faith in the System? Explaining the Pay Gap,” which explored salary and pay differences between men and women. Tyler Suehr, an IST major, recently developed a mathematical calculator app called The Stoichiometry Solver, which is offered through the Google Play Store. But most impressive is the fact that Tyler accepted an opportunity with Computer Enterprises, a Microsoft Managed Partner, located in Pittsburgh, after his freshman year. Several faculty members bring community or industry-related projects to their classes. An engineering project included the creation of a 3D model of Gaston’s Mill in Ohio, including the redesign and restoration of the waterwheel at the historic site. IST students have worked with a local company, Independent Concepts, to convert a memory device into a working Android platform. The device, known as The Jogger, enables those with short-term memory loss to handle daily activities with increased independence and productivity. IST students have also collaborated with Lamprey Networks, a software development company, to ensure that Lamprey’s medical monitoring equipment can transmit accurate diagnostic data to one’s medical provider. This year our corporate communications students put their event planning, marketing, and media relations skills into action by hosting an event, the Penn State Challenge, designed to help area high school students explore college options and careers by building an app to plan their futures. In the past ten years, our students have traveled abroad with faculty to the various countries. During the weeklong spring break trips, students have presented their research at international conferences; explored cultural and educational differences; toured major companies; and sampled previously unknown cuisine. Each of our five baccalaureate degrees has an internship requirement. Here are logos of many of the companies and organizations where our students have interned. Some of our engineering students have acquired experiences similar to internships in their freshman or sophomore years. We’re proud of the fact that these companies have consistently been impressed by our students’ work and contributions, even though they’ve completed just a year or two of study. While thousands of students have attended our campus, I’m happy to highlight just a few of those who have graduated from our baccalaureate degree programs: • David Walker, an IST graduate, is a network performance engineer at Lockheed Martin.
• Eric McIntosh, a 2005 business graduate, is the director of human resources at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. • One of our administration of justice graduates, Nelly Peralta, is a program assistant for the U.S. Office of Refugee Resettlement.
• Ted Froats Jr., communications, is the public affairs officer for the Dayton VA Medical Center. • A psychology graduate, Christina Wallace, is the Director of the Mental Health Unit at the State Correctional Institution in Pittsburgh.
• Steven Du-sis-ko, a 2013 business graduate, is a sales manager for GE Transportation and is enrolled in GE’s Commercial Leadership Program. • Valerie Cycle, an operating system engineer at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, is a 2012 IST graduate.
• Entrepreneur, Arman Bim-a-tov, a 2014 graduate in IST, is the owner of TravelWits, a Pittsburgh-based company designed to ex-pe-dite cost-effective travel planning. These students, and others like them, frequently gain confidence and develop skills through the career development and leadership opportunities offered at Beaver. For instance, along with Penn State Greater Allegheny, New Kensington, Shenango, DuBois, and Fayette, Penn State Beaver is part of the team that delivers Leader Launch. This annual, two-day career development conference allows students to attend workshops and networking opportunities focused on career building. Various leadership opportunities at Penn State Beaver provide networking and social skill development to students seeking personal and professional growth while helping others. Penn State Beaver has a long history of student outreach in our communities. Our students continue to support activities associated with American Red Cross, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, THON, and United Way, among many others. In addition, students also volunteer to work in the community as part of our annual Martin Luther King Jr. service project called “Make it a Day On, Not a Day Off.” About one out of every six students on campus is a student-athlete. About 130 students participate in our eight intercollegiate sports. Beaver is a member of the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) and the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA), a national organization for small colleges. In March 2015, our Lady Lions basketball team made history when it won the USCAA Championship, the first team in the PSUACC ever to win this national title. Another athletic highlight occurred in April 2015, when our inline hockey club won the Western Pennsylvania College Roller Hockey League Championship. We also offer a variety of intramural and recreational activities for our students throughout the year. Penn State Beaver takes its role as a community leader seriously, as evidenced by its many programs and outreach efforts. The Adult Literacy Action program has been part of Beaver campus for more than thirty years. Paid and volunteer staff members provide education in literacy and life skills for people from all socio-economic walks of life. As part of our workforce development efforts, in addition to offering Corporate Training to area business, our Office of Continuing Education provides Personal Care Home and Nursing Home Administrator training in small groups for area healthcare employees. This summer the Brodhead Cultural Center has been offering free programming for the community since 1976. Over the years thousands of adults and children have attended performing arts programs. We also offer a variety of academic and athletic summer camps that provide learning activities for area youth. Camps include baseball, softball, golf, robotics, rocketry, chemistry, Web and multimedia design, science and fashion, musical theater, and art. As we look ahead to the future of Penn State Beaver and Beaver County, I believe we can do so with great optimism. Beaver County is the epicenter of what some government leaders are calling the single largest economic development opportunity for Pennsylvania in a generation. In order to capitalize on the rich Marcellus shale gas deposits in the region, Royal Dutch Shell is considering construction of a $2.5 billion ethane cracker facility in Potter Township, just minutes from Beaver campus. If built, this facility will generate temporary construction jobs, permanent positions, and will serve as an incubator for a variety of upstream and downstream businesses and industries.
Combined, these businesses would create an unprecedented surge in employment and population, providing a wide range of possibilities for new academic program delivery and training. In addition, PennDOT recently announced plans for an $81 million roadway project that will provide direct access from Beaver County to Cranberry Township, located just 15 miles from campus. Construction is slated to begin in 2016 with completion scheduled for 2020. Cranberry continues to be one of the state’s fastest-growing residential and retail areas. It’s a prime bedroom community for Pittsburgh-based workers, and its also home to a large industrial park. Seneca Valley High School serves the township and graduates more than 500 students annually. Six years ago, Westinghouse Electric Corporation opened its new headquarters in Cranberry at a location that now has more than 4,200 employees and contractors. Finally, the city of Pittsburgh has undergone amazing transformations. According to the 2014 Allegheny Conference Annual Report, more people are working in the Pittsburgh region than ever before. (1,280,700 people) Since 2010, 11,400 more people have moved into the metro area than moved out. The Pittsburgh region has the third-highest concentration of people in the labor force aged 25-44 with graduate or professional degrees, right after Washington, D.C. and Boston. The median age in the city of Pittsburgh is 33.7, below the national average of 37.5. Pittsburgh was ranked in the Top 10 among regions nationwide for economic development projects and No. 1 in the Northeast by Site Selection magazine in 2012.
Pittsburgh’s key sector strengths in advanced manufacturing, energy, financial and business services, healthcare and life sciences, and information technology have led to its designation as one of the first three U.S. metropolitan areas deemed “fully recovered from recession” by American think tank “The Brookings Institution.” The promise of new industry, improved transportation, and growth bodes well for Penn State Beaver by expanding the number of students we could potentially serve, increasing the opportunities for our graduates locally, enhancing partnerships between our faculty and local industry, and even improving development prospects. Penn State Beaver had humble beginnings. In 50 years, we’ve come a very long way. We have a beautiful 105-acre campus; a variety of academic and student life buildings; five quality baccalaureate degrees; students from across the country and around the world. We have dedicated and caring faculty and staff; a host of extracurricular activities and community projects for our students, and so much more. Our hope is to continue to build on all of these strengths – to enhance the programs and services we provide for our students and to continue to stand as a community resource for businesses and organizations. We’re proud of our students, faculty, staff and our reputation and we look forward to a future bright with promise.