Each November, my message focuses on gratitude—taking time to say thanks to family, friends, co-workers, teachers, and every individual who makes our lives better. This year, as I get ready to officially retire as dean of the College of Arts and Architecture, it’s hard to know where to begin to adequately express my gratefulness and appreciation for my experiences and encounters at Penn State over the past 12.5 years.
Being a dean is about more than being an administrator. It’s about being the type of leader who knows when you need to make a decision in a crisis situation, and when you can make time to consult with others. Being one who knows when a staff member just needs to vent, and when there is a bigger, college-wide issue to address. Being one who can look at the college as a whole at the same time as the individuals—with different strengths, different goals, and yes, different complaints—who keep this place buzzing.
I’m grateful for the years I have spent as a dean at Penn State. The school pride exhibited by Penn Staters, from students to faculty to alumni, is unmatched. Within the College of Arts and Architecture, I have had the honor of working with incredibly creative, talented and dedicated individuals who made this job not “just” a job, but a true privilege.
Since announcing my retirement, the goal has been to leave this college in the best possible shape for the next dean. I’m proud to say that much has been done to achieve the overarching goal of ensuring that our work in the arts and design is central and relevant at Penn State and beyond. Applications and enrollments are up. We have implemented some college-wide systems to assist the daily work of the college. Thanks to the leadership of our development team, we have surpassed numerous fundraising goals over the years. In the coming weeks we will launch a new college website—a “digital front door” that will more accurately reflect what you find within our college.
We are currently in the midst of raising private funds for the planned University Art Museum, to be located in The Arboretum. Over the past few weeks, we received leadership gifts from Bill Jaffe and from Tom Sharbaugh and Kristin Hayes, both of which you will read about in this issue.
To say I’ve lived and learned a lot during my time at Penn State is both an understatement and cliché, but it’s truly hard to put into words what this university has come to mean to me, as well as my husband, Jim. While we are moving back to Florida, we are definitely not saying goodbye to Penn State, as we plan to spend summers in State College.
Jim and I are so very grateful for the professional and personal relationships we have developed during our time here, relationships that won’t end just because we no longer have offices on campus. My messages often conclude by thanking our alumni and friends for helping to make the College of Arts and Architecture such a vibrant and exciting place. I will close that way for a final time, though with an addition—thank you for making MY time in the College of Arts and Architecture one marked by shared goals, accomplishments, and friendship.