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Message from the President

An Appreciation for Other Things

Back in the early ’80s, when I was an undergraduate engineering major, the stereotype of engineers as lone geniuses was prevalent.

In graduate school, I was given the assignment of leading a team designing a complex, leading-edge, integrated circuit chip. My team consisted of peers from China, Taiwan, India, and the United States, all from different socioeconomic strata. Suddenly, I recognized the value of what I’d learned about other cultures and about communication in those “unimportant” non-engineering courses. Only later did leaders in engineering practice demand that teamwork, communication, and leadership skills be part of the core education.

Vive l’école polytechnique, les sciences humaines, et les arts!

In this edition of IUP Magazine we mark the beginning of celebrating the opening of our new humanities and social sciences building. We’ve invited a few faculty members to comment on how their fields of study remain relevant in a tech-thirsty world. You’ll see more about this new building and all that it brings to our students in the next edition. We’re excited about the grand opening.

I must tell you that I cringe when I hear people say in response to a student’s desire to study a subject in the liberal arts, “Oh, you’ll never get a job,” or worse, “Just get that requirement out of the way, so you can concentrate on your real work.”

When I was a young engineering faculty member building my teaching skills and conducting research to push the boundaries of computing, you would often find me muttering, “if only I’d taken more calculus.” Statistics and mathematics courses were the fundamental tools of my trade, but as I moved toward senior faculty status and became an academic leader—and a parent—my understanding of the most fundamental tools changed.

In my work life today, you are more likely to hear me mutter, “if only I’d spent more time with the humanities and the arts and reading the classics and learning more about the cultural backgrounds of my colleagues.” 

Today I know that understanding myself and those around me is the real secret to transforming the world and to being a good husband, father, and friend. 

That’s what the humanities and liberal arts are all about.

Michael Driscoll

More from the Fall-Winter 2015 Issue of IUP Magazine

A Hell of a Ride

‘A Hell of a Ride’

For more than 30 years, IUP safety alumni have boosted the U.S. space program by filling a number of roles at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center.

Early Bird Research

Early Bird Research

A Natural Sciences and Mathematics program is equipping undergraduates with research experience as well as general career-building skills.

From Wartime to ‘Wild Hour’

The IUP campus is far different from the one Marian Templeton Brown ’45 knew at the height of World War II.

The Haunted Halls of IUP

With Keith and Leonard halls slated for demolition, IUP’s Paranormal Society looks to the future of ghost hunting, minus two campus hot spots.

Vantage Point

Selected IUP faculty respond to the question:"How has electronic communication affected society, and how will it continue to do so?"

Dining Innovations

After more than a year of renovations, Folger Hall reopened in October, completing Phase II of IUP’s $37-million dining master plan.

Miracle on the Streets

A peace movement started by an IUP alumnus cut the homicide rate in Boston by nearly 80 percent and has since been emulated around the world.