As thousands of students from the 14 universities within Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education prepare to walk across the commencement stage, they are about to take an important step into the future. We celebrate this great achievement with them and recognize that you had a central role in their success.

For all of us, student success is the top priority, and ensuring that success requires resources. Every day, we fight for additional investment by the Commonwealth, and we are pleased that our universities just received their first funding increase in eight years. I want to thank everyone who had a role in making the case for this new investment. While we continue to advocate for our State System universities, we must also take measures to look inward. Together, we are facing myriad challenges that are confronting our universities, from lagging state funding and fluctuating enrollments to increasing personnel and operating costs and continuing sensitivity to tuition—issues that higher education institutions across the nation are struggling to address.

The Board of Governors has asked that we begin a process to examine the State System and its 14 institutions—how we are organized and how we operate—in order to strategically position our universities for continued success on behalf of our students, their families, and the entire Commonwealth. This process will help us better understand what our System should look like—as individual universities, and as a public university system—to ensure the vitality of public higher education in Pennsylvania well into the future. We must be willing to ask the difficult questions, to explore every option, and to seek out the innovative solutions that will help our universities continue to fulfill the mission of providing high-quality, high-value educational experiences.

Throughout this process, the focus will remain student-centered. To the faculty, you have our gratitude for dedicating your lives to students and to the advancement of knowledge. To the staff and administration, your support of the academic enterprise and student success is unquestioned. We owe it to our 100,000+ students—and every future student—to chart a path forward that promotes real sustainability.

As this strategic positioning effort unfolds over the course of the year, it will require a common commitment to the future of public higher education in Pennsylvania—a commitment that is bigger than any person, organization, or institution. Over the past two years, I have met so many of you and am convinced that we all share that commitment and are ready to put our hands to the plow and to do the hard work necessary to secure that future.

Working together,

Frank T. Brogan

P.S. I invite you to subscribe to receive updates regarding the strategic positioning process.