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Summer 2008: Message from the President

IUP President Tony Atwater

President Tony Atwater

The Promise of Partnerships

Over three years ago, in my inaugural address as IUP president, I shared a vision identified by the acronym “APIE.” Each letter stood for a key priority of my administration: advancing academic excellence; pursuing partnerships that advance the university and the region; strengthening institutional advancement to enhance external support and IUP’s national image; and managing enrollment stability and incremental growth. Each element, individually and collectively, is crucial to the success of this fine university. However, it is partnerships that play a critical role in achieving success with all of the elements. And, several key partnerships certainly are moving IUP forward.

Some of IUP’s current and most significant endeavors involve partnerships with the community; with local, state, and federal officials; with corporations and foundations; and with individual alumni and friends (who assist through volunteer efforts, advocacy, and financial contributions). The Kovalchick Convention and Athletic Complex (KCAC) will change the landscape of Indiana and promote the economic and cultural vitality of IUP and the Indiana region for decades to come. The KCAC design has been completed, and groundbreaking for site construction will take place later this fall. Key features of the KCAC include a five-thousand-seat arena, which can accommodate major sports and entertainment events and state-of-the-art conferencing facilities.

The addition of a hotel on the site of the KCAC will enhance the center’s attractiveness for conferences and meetings. Working in concert with the Foundation for IUP and a blue-ribbon committee formed for this purpose, we commissioned a feasibility study to guide development of an upscale, full-service hotel. As recommended by the study, the hotel will be owned by the Foundation for IUP and will offer restaurants and banquet and meeting space to complement the KCAC. It also will serve the experiential learning needs of IUP Hospitality Management students. This spring, the Foundation for IUP moved this project one step closer with the selection of a hotel development partner. The hotel and the KCAC are on schedule to open in 2011.

The Fairman Centre in downtown Punxsutawney will open in fall 2009, thanks to a valuable partnership with Punxsutawney and Jefferson County, through which the Foundation for IUP has acquired the J.B. Eberhart Building in downtown Punxsutawney, secured funding for rehabilitation of the 24,660-square-foot building, and finalized designs to renovate all three floors. The Fairman Centre will accommodate expanded programming and teaching space for the IUP Academy of Culinary Arts, provide classrooms and labs for First-Year Experience students at IUP’s Punxsutawney campus, offer residential space to twenty university students on the third floor, and provide retail and meeting space for businesses and community members. The center will bring new vitality to the Punxsutawney area while making it possible for IUP to consider expanded two- and four-year degree offerings in Jefferson County. We are grateful to the Alan and Roy Fairman families for their generous gift to this project, which serves as an example of philanthropy’s transformative effect. I was delighted to have the opportunity to honor them at the first IUP Legacy Gala last spring.

Finally, a partnership with a local corporation has made it possible for IUP students and the local community to again enjoy the benefits of a comprehensive, endowed lecture series. The inaugural First Commonwealth Endowed Lecture Series presentation has been scheduled for October 1 at 7:00 p.m. The first series lecturers are political commentators James Carville and Mary Matalin, a prominent political couple—one passionately liberal, the other ardently conservative. Together they will share some entertaining insights during the last leg of the Presidential election season. Please mark your calendars for this exciting event. As you can see, the power of partnerships is a dynamic and vital force helping IUP go “beyond expectations.”