State of the University, 2003-2004
Charles J. Dougherty, Ph.D.
President, Duquesne University
October 25, 2004
The vision of our strategic plan our collective aspiration is to enter the top ranks of American Catholic higher education. In the last academic year we made great strides toward achieving that goal. We made these strides because we are blest with a faculty, staff, and administration that understand that we are all educators. But we also know that education at Duquesne is more than something for the mind. Our education is for the mind, heart, and spirit. We are in the business of transforming lives.
I say thank you to all of you who played a part in these achievements. You gave to Duquesne University, and the students that we serve, another year of your best efforts. Throughout the year, you served God by serving students and you helped to put us in a position to serve more students with greater excellence in the years ahead. Because of you, this is a time of special grace in the life of our University.
I also want to offer my gratitude and yours to the Congregation of the Holy Spirit and especially to the Spiritans among us. Thank you to this remarkable community for the inspiration in every sense of that word they have provided to all of us and to every generation on this Bluff since 1878.
To attain our goal of moving to the highest ranks of Catholic universities in America, we cannot depend on isolated endeavors. Instead, we need a comprehensive, Universitywide effort. The elements outlined in our strategic plan offer a clear pathway to ensure that Duquesne University reaches the highest levels of excellence in all that we do. The students we serve today and those we will serve into the future deserve nothing less.
By working together over the past year, we have made great progress in realizing our strategic goals and incorporating these gains into the fabric of University life. We have much to be proud of; much to be grateful for.
Our enrollment continues to climb. In the last three years, we have had the three largest entering classes of freshmen and transfers in Duquesne's history, resulting in an average 12 percent increase in enrollment compared to the previous three years. Record enrollment is evidence that all aspects of the University from our academic programs to athletics to the amenities of campus life are meeting the needs and expectations of a growing number of talented students.
We have not experienced this increase by lowering our standards. Just the opposite is true. We have strengthened our admissions requirements and lowered our acceptance rate. That rate had reached the high 90s; now it is down to 85 percent. And our incoming students are getting stronger. The average freshman SAT is nearly 40 points higher than three years ago up from 1080 to 1118.
We made the top more competitive by making it more difficult to enter the Honors College. We raised the minimum SAT score last year by a full 100 points and still filled the program. Honors College students this year boast an average score of nearly 1350.
This fall's firstyear law students have the best credentials we have ever had. Pharmacy, music, nursing, forensic science, physical therapy, and our physician assistant's program are once again filled to capacity with outstanding students.
Prospective students and their parents are getting the message: Duquesne wants and gets the best and the brightest and a Duquesne education is worth our students' best efforts and their parents' tuition payments.
This simultaneous growth in numbers and sharp improvement in quality is a tribute to our Admissions Office. I applaud their hard and creative work. Thank you, too, to the many others on campus who assist with recruitment in an active way. I also thank all of us for the spontaneous hospitality we show to the people roaming our campus with red Gothic Ds on their chests. A series of pleasant greetings, holding open a door, a bit of patience in giving directions all of these minor acts of graciousness create an impression that makes Duquesne an attractive option for people who are visiting many campuses. It really does take the whole community to recruit each new class and we have all succeeded exceptionally well.
We are not only attracting better students but also retaining them in record numbers. I'm proud to announce that Duquesne has achieved the best freshman retention rate that we can document. This fall, 89 percent of last year's freshmen returned as sophomores, a higher rate than any on record. This far surpasses the national freshman retention rate of 74 percent. It is worth remembering that this is the same freshman class that encountered severe crowding in our residence halls. Many of them lived in twoperson rooms converted to three and in our lounges converted to fourperson rooms. A special thank you to our Residence Life professionals for this feat of bringing back so many freshmen who lived under such challenging conditions.
Recordbreaking enrollment and retention bring unique challenges, and require a constant effort to ensure our campus meets students' needs. As we increase selectivity, we also bring in students who expect more from us. Highcaliber students expect and deserve the best.
We responded in the past year with many enhancements to both facilities and programs. Let me begin with those in our learning environment. This spring and summer, we invested more than $8 million to augment the safety, efficiency, and appearance of our buildings and grounds.
The School of Nursing moved into entirely new, functional, and attractive quarters. There were major renovations in the McAnulty College, the Pappert School, the Law School, the Mylan School, and the Rangos School. Many other academic facilities underwent extensive upgrades to provide an enhanced learning environment, including state of the art labs, refurbished classrooms, and updated lecture halls. In addition to the obvious improvements, there were major improvements in academic spaces that are only noticed when something goes wrong, like asbestos abatement, new roofs, and new airhandling systems.
The living and learning centers housing our largest residential population ever received important safety and security upgrades. Over the last several summers we have added sprinkler systems to St. Martin's and the Towers to protect residents in our existing highrises. By the end of next semester, Brottier will be similarly protected. When we took possession of Brottier last semester, we immediately upgraded every security system in the building. There have been investments as well in appearance and beautification in our residence halls, throughout the Student Union, and across campus.
Beyond improving existing facilities, we have laid the groundwork for future development and for expansion. We completed an ambitious master plan for the development of our campus outlining as many as 20 future building projects to accommodate current and future needs.
Brottier Hall began when we acquired Citiline apartments. This acquisition does three important things for us. It allows us to offer students the option of apartmentstyle living. This will be a new and important advantage in recruiting. It helps the University meet a growing demand for housing. About 85 percent of our freshman class opts to live on campus. Next year we take a giant step in shaping our oncampus culture with the requirement that all sophomores not living at home live in our residence halls. Finally, our ownership of Brottier also allows us to unify the campus and end the neglect of a building that was already housing large numbers of our students.
We have also acquired the entire two acre block of Forbes Avenue that lies directly north of the Forbes garage. Our initial intent was not purchase. It was to partner with the City and with a private developer to eliminate the blight on the block, a block that virtually every visitor to campus must pass. When that partnership did not succeed and an opportunity emerged to buy the whole block, a decision of historic proportions for the University's future had to be made. With the support of our Board of Directors, we said "yes this land can advance our strategic goals."
We are now involved in an intense planning process for the development of the block that will soon be opened to the whole University community. For now, I ask you to imagine a renewed bustling area with prosperous shops and services on the first floor street level perhaps a restaurant, a pharmacy, a grocery store. Imagine a commercial urban renewal that serves our neighborhood and generates tax revenue for the City while it offers amenities for the University and an attractive new front door for the campus. Now imagine seven to twelve stories of usable space built above the retail outlets enough space to program every University need we can project in academic areas, housing, and support functions. Finally, imagine another skybridge over Forbes linking this complex to the University and a new formal elevator entrance to Duquesne on Forbes Avenue that ties the whole project together. These are exciting prospects indeed.
These two acquisitions in the last year Brottier and the Forbes Avenue parcel have enlarged Duquesne's campus by nearly 10 percent. This may be the largest increase to the campus in one year since the days of Father McAnulty. Generations have struggled to build this campus across the Bluff. Now all of the Bluff is Duquesne University. Generations have struggled to enhance the appearance of our campus. Now we can beautify our front door on Forbes Avenue. Generations have struggled to create space on our compact footprint. Now we have the space we need for the new levels of excellence to which we aspire.
Duquesne's facilities here in Pittsburgh are not the only ones we are enhancing. We recently dedicated our new Italian Campus in Rome. This was the culmination of a long process of planning and of dealing with the laws and bureaucracy of a nation thousands of miles away. We have had a successful academic program in Rome for four years. But those of you who have worked there or visited know that the site was inadequate, inconvenient, and too expensive. So we have partnered with the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth and remodeled half of their convent in Rome into a modern residential and academic facility for our students.
A number of us traveled to the dedication in the company of 35 alumni, friends, and donors. That dedication included the Mother Superior of the Holy Family Sisters (a Duquesne alum), the Superior General of the Spiritan Community, the American Ambassador to the Holy See, and 50 of our students elated with their new facilities and with their experiences in Rome. Next semester, we have the longest waiting list ever for our program in Rome. I am sure that when this semester's students in Rome return to the Bluff with the exuberance we witnessed, future waiting lists will be longer still.
Whether we're improving facilities on the Bluff, across the street, or across the Atlantic, our efforts enhance our ability to attract and retain a strong student body, leading teacherscholars, and an inspired administration and staff. These are all steps to secure the future greatness of Duquesne University.
Now I want to share with you some of our academic highlights of the year. There were very many, so in the interest of time, I've chosen just a few to share with you now. Other highlights submitted by our deans can be found in the convocation booklet you will receive as you leave today. The year brought both academic additions and enhancements. I commend the deans and faculty for identifying areas where Duquesne can become a pioneer, differentiating us from other institutions. You've worked hard to develop new programs, and to revise and update those of proven quality.
We are launching one of the only information systems management programs in the country in digital forensics, a degree that gives our students an edge in an industry where new skills are constantly in demand. We have a new master's degree in music technology, an innovation in the field. We are offering the first animal advocacy degree program in the nation to prepare the students who will be the leaders of this new field. We've revised majors and minors and introduced new concentrations in English, Modern Languages and Literature, Psychology, and Sociology. We've adapted our Nursing programs to include a greater emphasis on serving an aging population. We're also expanding our reach with new collaborations with agencies such as the FDA, the FBI, and the county police, offering course work and training in fields from pharmacy to forensic nursing.
Distance learning technology is allowing Duquesne to reach more people than ever. Students from Alaska to Nigeria are enrolling in our rigorous online degree programs that offer those living far from the Pittsburgh area access to a quality Duquesne education. In addition to developing new programs and techniques, Duquesne continues to offer platforms for critically examining the issues of the day. Thoughtprovoking symposia help us maintain national relevance and a strong reputation among our peers.
Last year, Duquesne held conferences on the assassination of John F. Kennedy, the ethics of stem cell research, the fight against cybercrime, and Brown vs. Board of Education, a watershed of the civil rights movement. Each of these high profile events garnered local and national headlines. This year, we're hosting national events on tracking terrorism, on federalism, and an international gathering on improving university teaching, to name just a few.
We also bring our name into the public arena and enhance the attractiveness of the University to new students through athletics. Our sports teams are "scoring" on the field and in the classroom. The Dukes won the midmajor national football championship. We took the Atlantic 10 regular season in men's soccer, ranking as high as 17th nationally. The Dukes won the women's lacrosse Atlantic 10 season championship. Academically, our athletes ranked among the best in the league, with 240 of them making the Atlantic 10 commissioner's honor roll the highest number of any team in the league, despite the fact that other universities in the league have many more athletes.
Our schools and programs continue to draw national attention for innovation and excellence in their fields. The School of Education achieved elite status by gaining membership in the University Council for Educational Administration. Of all schools in the nation that offer doctoral degrees in educational leadership, only 10 percent reach the standards required for Council membership. Congratulations to the School of Education for achieving this important recognition.
The Mylan School of Pharmacy's profile was once again enhanced with news that its wellness program is now hailed as a national model by the Association of Chain Drug Stores. The School of Leadership and Professional Advancement's "Learning on the Go" program received accolades from the national Association of Continuing Higher Education. And, the Mary Pappert School of Music's Wind Symphony performed in a place reserved for the greatest musicians in the world Carnegie Hall in New York City.
This kind of national recognition across the diversity of our programs raises Duquesne's stature, and enhances our reputation among faculty peers and their institutions. This same end is achieved by the individual work of our faculty. Last year, our faculty achieved remarkable success in scholarship, perhaps our best year ever. Every school increased faculty participation in regional, national, and international conferences and meetings, bringing attention not only to specific areas of expertise, but also to the University as a whole.
Faculty made more than 288 professional presentations to international audiences in such far off places as Switzerland, South America, Africa, China, Russia, and Australia. We published more than 200 books and articles and gave more than 145 conference papers. As we are still improving our University system for collecting and counting this information about scholarship, I am confident that these numbers do not capture the whole of last's year's academic successes by faculty.
I would love to name every Duquesne faculty author and each of his or her published work from last year. But that approach would keep us here through the reception, so I will not try. Suffice it so say that the University has an energetic and creative faculty that is publishing in leading journals and with leading publishers in every field the University contains.
I commend faculty for their research and sharing their knowledge and perspectives with audiences across the globe. Your commitment furthers your areas of expertise, and stands as a testament to Duquesne's academic excellence. Your efforts are having financial results as well. There was a 17 percent increase in grant and external funding last year, up $1.6 million from the previous year. I'd like to highlight some particularly outstanding examples:
The School of Pharmacy doubled its external funding, reaching $5 million. This success makes the Mylan School third in the nation among all private schools of pharmacy for total funding from the National Institutes of Health. Total funding in the Bayer School reached $2.75 million, including substantial federal funding from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education. Among other things, this funding allowed for establishment at Duquesne of a state of the art supercomputing facility. McAnulty College faculty received more than $1 million in grant funding last year. The School of Nursing applied for and received programspecific grants, allowing nursing students to use personal digital assistants to study their utility in nursing education. I congratulate all of these efforts and successes.
The Duquesne community is known for more than just strong academics and leading faculty. True to our roots, we have expanded community outreach, offering our time and talents for the benefit of others.
Outside the classroom, we continued the Duquesne legacy of "doing more." Last year, more than 7,500 students, faculty, and staff members gave their time and talent volunteering in the DUV program an alltime participation record. Our schools are also making an impact in the community. The School of Nursing launched Operation ChurchBeat, a program to place qualified CPR trainers in the congregations of inner city churches. Additionally, our nursemanaged wellness centers expanded, with a new facility serving the South Side. Our Law School students continue to provide assistance to low income individuals and families, nonprofit and community development organizations through their clinical and pro bono programs. Additionally, departments across campus engage in numerous service projects year round, from advancing literacy to feeding the homeless.
To accommodate a growing number of students, develop new programs, construct new academic facilities, and expand our work in the community, we need continued support from corporations, foundations, alumni, and friends of the University. To that end, we have launched the "quiet phase" of our new capital campaign, "Advancing Our Legacy." The objectives are to strengthen the University's endowment, provide our faculty with additional resources to reach new levels of academic achievement, and enhance the overall quality of our students' experiences at Duquesne.
The pursuit of our ambitious strategic goals is directly linked to the success of our capital campaign. We are fortunate to have many respected business and community leaders assisting us in reaching our goal. Mr. Joe Guyaux, President of PNC Financial Services Group, is chairing our effort and we have built a team of volunteers to work with our experienced professionals in University Advancement. The campaign is supported locally by the "Do More" marketing campaign that you have seen in print and on television.
I am happy to report that the campaign is on schedule. We have raised $16.7 million in gifts and pledges to date. Another $38 million in requests for support are in proposals currently in the hands of friends and donors, both individual and institutions.
As you know, we recently announced the donation of $1.5 million for an endowed chair in biotechnology by alum Ed Fritzky. Shortly after that, we received a million dollar gift from John Rangos for a chair in health science and ethics, a chair we will inaugurate today.
We received more good news while in Italy from another alum and friend of the University who were traveling with us. Our distinguished alumnus and Board member Dr. Robert Gussin and his wife, Dr. Patricia Gussin, have committed $1.5 million toward the establishment of an endowment for our Spiritan Division. The Gussins were motivated to help the Spiritan Division because their family has been helped directly by the personnel and services of the Spiritan Division, not just once, but twice, and over two generations. They experienced firsthand and upclose the difference that the extra care and discipline of the Spiritan Division made in the lives of two people they love. Now they are helping to ensure that even when you and I and everyone in this room are gone, there will be a Spiritan Division making a difference in the lives of Duquesne students and their families.
I'd like to share Dr. Gussin's simple but gracious words of support with you. He writes, Pat and I "are thrilled to be able to provide support to the University and to aid in the success of the Spiritan Division. Duquesne has been very good to the Gussins and we are honored to be able to give something back." And we, in turn, are honored to have the Gussin's support.
One of the hallmarks of an elite institution is the ability to shape academics in perpetuity through the establishment of academic endowments, especially endowed faculty chairs. Oxford established the first endowed chair in the late 1400s and it has been continuously occupied to this day with leading scholars. Rewarding outstanding faculty by naming them to endowed positions allows us to honor the best among us and to attract the best from around the world.
Today I am delighted to install three outstanding faculty members to endowed chairs at Duquesne University. Our first installation is the holder of the Joseph Katarincic Chair in Legal Process and Civil Procedure. This gift came to the University by way of former Board member, Mr. Katarincic, from a fund that originated in a bequest from Noble Dick. I am pleased now to install the first Chair holder, Dean and Professor of Law Nick Cafardi. Professor Cafardi will begin fulltime work as Chair holder when he leaves the Dean's office in June.
The next installation is the Vernon F. Gallagher chair for the Integration of Science, Philosophy, and Law funded in honor of former Duquesne president Vernon Gallagher by recently deceased alumnus Dr. Bernard Ransil. Vernon Gallagher was Duquesne University president through the 1950s. Dr. Ransil was a renaissance man whose Duquesne education led him to seek syntheses of science, theology, philosophy, and law. This is a Herculean academic task, but if there is an area that regularly approximates such an integration, it is health care ethics especially in life and death situations. No one is better qualified for a chair in that arena than our own Dr. David Kelly, who has been integrating theology, science, and law throughout his illustrious career in heath care ethics. Dr. Kelly is a Professor of Theology and director of our Health Care Ethics Program.
Dedicated Duquesne Board member, business leader, and international philanthropist John Rangos gave us a legacy in the name of his mother, Anna Rangos Rizakus. She will be remembered forever in this institution as the name of the endowed chair in Health Sciences and Ethics. When we are all long gone, Duquesne University will still be filling this position with outstanding faculty members in the name of John Rangos' mother. Today, I am proud to install the first Anna Rangos Rizakus endowed Chair holder, Dr. Paula Turocy. Dr. Turocy is Associate Professor and Chairperson of the Department of Athletic Training.
Generous individuals like John Rangos enable us to continue the important work that brings our mission to life. On behalf of the entire University, I'd like to thank him and all of our generous supporters. Your contributions will allow us to continue educating the mind, heart, and spirit for generations. I have the honor at this time of recognizing members of our faculty who have completed 25 years of service. Each has given us a generation of teaching, research, and service. We are proud of their accomplishments and deeply grateful to them.
The faculty members are: Dr. James Hanigan, Professor of Theology; Dr. Aleem Gangjee, Professor of Medicinal Chemistry; Dr. Vincent Giannetti, Professor of Pharmaceutical Administration; Mr. Ronald Ricci, Professor of Law; Dr. Thomas Rihn, Associate Professor of Pharmacy Practice; Dr. David Seybert, Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Dean of the Bayer School; and Dr. Joseph Yenerall, Associate Professor of Sociology.
For a quarter century, these special people have lived out a commitment to their fields of study and also to Duquesne's mission, serving God by serving students. Through their efforts, and those of all Duquesne faculty and staff, we are building a greater Duquesne, year by year and day by day.
Today, I challenge the entire University community to do more, by taking that success to the next level and creating a new chapter in our history. We are committed to entering the ranks of the top Catholic universities in America. To achieve this level of greatness, everything we do, every choice we make, must be done with that singular goal in mind. By working together, the world will come to know what all of us here today have known for years: A Duquesne education is an education for the mind, heart, and spirit. It transforms students for a lifetime.
Thank you all once again for advancing Duquesne's legacy. Thank you for what you are doing this year to serve God by serving students and for all you do for Duquesne University.