GREENVILLE, Pa.—Thiel College, a leading liberal arts college in northwest Pennsylvania, celebrated the inauguration of its 20th President, Susan Traverso, Ph.D., at 2 p.m. Friday in the William A. Passavant Memorial Center.
Traverso’s keynote speech was titled “Roll Up Experiences and Think.” She examined major thinkers who have shaped the mission of the College and applied their ideas to Thiel’s reinvigorated focus on student success.
“Our meaning and purpose are not going to be delivered to us,” Traverso said. “We must find them in the world around us. Our work is not to just get out of the way and let students roll through the college experience. We must help them become systematic about inquiry and the lessons they find in their experiences.”
President Emeritus of Elizabethtown College Theodore E. Long, Ph.D., a colleague and friend of Traverso introduced her during the ceremony. Delegates from 25 regional colleges and universities participated in the procession, accompanied by banner-carrying delegates representing more than 40 student clubs and organization across campus.
Traverso was appointed last May and took office Aug. 1 as the College’s first female president, being unanimously selected by the Thiel College Board of Trustees for her prolific career in higher education, significant achievements in leadership, and fundraising accomplishments at Elizabethtown College and other institutions.
In her first year, she has overseen the completion of the Thiel 2016 Campaign, which raised $65 million and is the largest fundraising campaign in school history, as well as the implementation of a new strategic plan and development of new programs designed to engage first-year students. She also broke ground on a $4.5 million, 7,850-square-foot “Science Connector” expansion that is scheduled to be completed this summer and dedicated at Homecoming 2017. A new track and field facility is also set to be complete this summer.
The day’s activities included an inaugural chapel service at 11 a.m. in the David Johnson Memorial Chapel. Valparaiso University President Mark A. Heckler, Ph.D., delivered a message highlighting the values of Lutheran higher education.
A reception following the installation ceremony was held at 3:30 p.m. in the James Pedas Communication Center.
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