Message from President Hawkinson to KU Community at Close of the 2021-22 Academic Year

Dear KU Campus Community:

As we come to the end of the 2021-22 academic year, I would like to express my appreciation to the faculty, students, staff, trustees, alumni, parents, friends, and all members of the Kutztown University community for their efforts in bringing us to a successful finish.  Despite challenges from COVID, sustainability adjustments, and many issues arising from our society, everyone pulled together and supported each other to bring about a positive experience for our students and university family.  More than 1,200 students will be graduating this weekend, and their accomplishment serves as a testament to the success of our university in accomplishing its mission of providing a high-quality education to our students.

Many wonderful things took place at the university this past year. I will summarize a few of them:

Student Success:  We began the year with an increase in new students (for the second year in a row) and the highest GPA in many years.  Students demonstrated excellence in the classroom, laboratories, in research with their faculty, on the athletic venues (with football, women’s soccer, women’s basketball and softball earning championships), in the arts, through the Honors Program, in study abroad and in many other areas.

Faculty Accomplishments:  Our faculty continued to be there for our students through face-to-face interactions throughout this COVID year and taught and mentored them through these difficult times.  Faculty continued to engage in high-quality scholarship publishing numerous articles, presenting many papers, and procuring a record-breaking number of grants.  They continued to devote much of their limited time to service.

Staff Engagement:  Our staff provided the support services that are so necessary to student success.  Employees in Housing and Residence Life, Financial Aid, the Registrar’s Office, Student Accounts, and many other areas provided the expertise and engagement that made this year a success. 

I also want to acknowledge the many managers on campus who strove to set the example and gave selflessly of their time and effort.

We are proud of the fact that KU balanced its budget for the fourth year in a row while not raising in-state tuition. This success has been a campus-wide effort and resulted in KU being elevated within the State System’s financial sustainability ratings.  Our foundation is nearing the end of a $40 million comprehensive campaign – the first of its kind in our history.  All money raised will serve our students. 

You may have noticed a lot of construction going on around campus.  We are about halfway through a full renovation of de Francesco Building, which houses our College of Business.  The historic Poplar House at the east edge of campus will soon be transformed into an Admissions Visitor Center.  The renovation of Keystone Hall, which has served as the home to Golden Bear Athletics since 1971, will also begin in a few years.  This building is in great need of renovation and when completed, will better serve the needs of both men's and women's intercollegiate athletics.  And, of course, we are very excited to have received gifts that are allowing us to renovate the former Professional Building into the Delight E. Breidegam Building, Headquarters of the Pennsylvania German Cultural Heritage Center, as well as the new Wells/Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion.

We are also working with experts on campus, representatives in our regional government, student leaders, and others to review our safety protocols on campus.  We had a terrible accident several weeks ago and we ask that all in our community keep our injured student, Ollie Hope McKeone, in their thoughts and prayers.  I know many have written cards, signed a banner and made other gestures of support.  I am so proud of how the KU family comes together under difficult circumstances. 

We look forward to going into the next year with hope that the pandemic will be largely behind us and with continued resolve to do the good work of the university.

Congratulations to you all for your hard work, perseverance, and grit.  You are the stuff that Kutztown University is made of.  My best wishes for a wonderful summer. I will see you in the fall.

Dr. Kenneth S. Hawkinson