University off to ‘remarkable’ beginning

A new academic year is well underway at SUNY Fredonia. In the words of Frank A. Pagano, Chairman of the College Council, (OBSERVER, Aug. 27) “this years’s freshman class is the second largest in Fredonia’s history … and we did not lower our admission standards to achieve this goal.”

Truly, in light of the current population trends, fewer high school enrollments and other demographic factors, this is indeed remarkable. We commend the entire university community … faculty, staff, students, alumni, and thoughtful area citizens … this significant accomplishment is most commendable!

A phase which describes this institution of higher learning is “Exemplar of Excellence.” Indeed, Fredonia is known for its strong academic programs and quality standards, its positive campus life, its most attractive architecture and grounds, and particularly its powerful commitment to student progress and success. What a busy and productive learning, teaching, and research environment is located at SUNY Fredonia.

Indeed, the university is a cultural and economic powerhouse: exemplar in teaching, creative in research, and dedicated to service with a creative cultural and economic impact on the county, state, and beyond. Truly, we are fortunate to have such an outstanding academic institution in our scenic and bountiful western New York region. Without question, we have a highly creative, energetic, and talented student body, faculty, staff, and administration who occupy the spaces on this most productive university campus. What a plus this institution is to our greater geographical region!

The university is particularly noted for its innovative teaching protocols, dynamic research, rigorous academic standards of excellence, developmental strategies, and involvement in community service and broadening initiatives. Through the years, Fredonia has become a model institution of higher education par excellence. Many of these quality indicators have been maintained and advanced by and through the superb academic standing of the student body and their zest for learning, and by the excellence provided by a scholarly, eminently distinguished faculty, staff, and administration. These hallmarks of unique excellence are worthy of nurturing, preserving, enriching, and enhancing. No wonder Fredonia is continuously ranked as one of the top public universities in the North by major accrediting institutions and organizations. And no wonder, too, large numbers of high school seniors and graduate level individuals have indicated … to this writer … their sincere interest to be admitted to, attend, and graduate from Fredonia. A degree from Fredonia is highly respected by a broad spectrum of the population.

I have had the good fortune of being associated, in various capacities, with Fredonia for well over 50 years. Also, my wife (MS degree), daughter (BA degree), son (Advanced Certificate) daughter-in-law (BS, MS degree), nieces, and nephews are graduates of this fine institution.

I have had the distinct pleasure of working with hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students at Fredonia through the years. Further, I have seen this university motivate, challenge, and inspire students to become skilled, connected, productive, and innovative founders and leaders. The university continues to enrich a broadening population of individuals through extensive scholarship, artistic expression, community engagement, and individual/group entrepreneurship. It was Golda Meir who said so eloquently, “Make the most of yourself by fanning the tiny, inner sparks of possibility into flames of achievement.”

To be sure, these are exciting times at our local SUNY campus. There is a vibrancy of creativity, encouraging exciting interdisciplinary collaboration and furthering the enhancement of teaching and learning outcomes. This institution’s climate of dynamism is an energetic thrust for Fredonia’s response toward meeting cutting-edged local societal and global needs.

Fredonia is proudly a vital part of our great state university system. Strategically, the system plays a pivotal role in the intellectual climate, cultural advancement and economic vitality of our state and host communities. In many ways, it helps to serve as an area’s core economic engine. In other words, often the university becomes the magnet which draws in other enterprises, explores emerging possibilities, and serves as an attraction for future initiatives. And thus, it has a magnetic pull of attraction for folks individually or collectively, and is often central to playing a vital role in anchoring and enhancing an area’s cultural and economic quality of life. Indeed, this is so true in our own Southwestern New York region. In a recent study conducted by the UB Regional Institute it was reported that our university’s economic impact is estimated to exceed $204 million regionally (Chautauqua, Cattaraugus, Erie counties) each year, and stateside, the impact surpassed $330 million.

It was Tapan Monroe, an economist for California who so thoughtfully stated, “Like steel and auto manufacturing during the 1900s, it is quality education which fuels the cultural setting and the economic engines of the current century.” Fredonia is just such a powerhouse of culture and engine of ingenuity. Indeed, SUNY Fredonia stands with pride as an institution that is truly “Exemplar in Excellence”.

Dr. Robert L. Heichberger is professor emeritus at the State University of New York at Fredonia. He is an award winning author. All past columns can be viewed on http://www.fromourperspective.net. Send comments to: Rheich@aol.com

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