Remarks by Council of Trustees Chairperson Robert Grim

At the final meeting of the council of trustees for the 2023-24 academic year, outgoing chairperson Robert Grim, Esq., offered the following remarks at the close of his tenure as the board's president.

Welcome to the final public meeting of the Kutztown University Council of Trustees for the 2023-2024 academic year.

It has been my distinct honor to be chair of the Council of Trustees, and although Governor Shapiro appointed me, last fall, to another term, my term as chair, as limited by our by-laws to two years, will end this June 30th.

My departing valedictory would be incomplete if I did not first pay tribute to two veteran trustees, along with whom I have had the enjoyment of serving for my eight years, Jack Wabby, who retired recently and Tom Heck, who as we just witnessed, is retiring now. In addition to all of the countless contributions these gentlemen have made to the grand welfare of Kutztown University, let me also say that they made my service on this council a pleasure to the extent that I would describe our trustee interactions as very harmonious. We all will miss them.

And now, let us turn our attention to what good things have happened at Kutztown University in the last two years, and not necessarily that I have had anything to do with them. Credit for successes here lie almost entirely with (President Hawkinson), together with the team he has built.

After the pandemic died down, KU, because our president and my predecessor chair, Jim Ludlow, insisted we stay open, emerged stronger than ever, academically, financially, and in all other aspects compared to so many other educational institutions who did not stay the course. New buildings and rebuilt buildings such as the Wells-Rapp Center for Mallet Percussion Research and de Francesco Building, made the university stronger, livelier, and more respected than ever. Because I grew up on College Hill, the preservation and the renovation of Poplar House as the new Admissions Welcome Center is particularly noteworthy to me because it demonstrates that KU honors its history while adding new luster to its physical plant.

Also in the works is a very large and more than appropriate solar panel field on south campus, which, through the timely efforts of the KU Foundation, is undergoing administrative approval by Maxatawny Township. The contributions to Kutztown University by this development are manifold, to the numerous students who will receive scholarship money from the income generated by this solar project, to burning less fossil fuels and thus saving our environment.  In my introductory remarks two years ago, I said I wanted us to be more green.  And, so we are.

But really, when you look at KU, one of its greatest successes has been its ability to attract students who, in many cases, are the first of their family to go to college. Then, to top it off, the percentage of our students who have been retained and did not quit has steadily and surely risen. May I respectfully say that, not only is it “good to be golden,” but it’s “good to stay golden.”

It’s easy for me to admire and talk about these things because I was born with a Kutztown University educational silver spoon in my mouth. I have previously talked about my great-grandfather, Dr. George Washington Grim (the other George Washington), who raised eight children in Bucks County. Every single one of those children traveled by horse and buggy in the late 1800s to attend and graduate from this institution, including the youngest, my grandfather, James S. Grim, who after obtaining his Ph.D., taught science here for 45 years. My father, my mother, three uncles and an aunt all graduated from here. I and my three brothers and sister all attended the Campus Laboratory School, as did Jane and my three children.

Finally, as I move on from this chair that I have been so fortunate to occupy for the last two years, the questions is: Is Kutztown University a better place than when I assumed office? Compared to the difficult problems I previously alluded to that my predecessor, Jim Ludlow, had to deal with and his timely responses, the answer is KU is relatively better because it has met many challenges and it continues to thrive ever more so, mostly because of the adjustments and leadership of our president, Dr. Hawkinson and his team.

KU flourishes as new scholarship money for its students becomes available, as our faculty gets more students excited to learn, as we adjust the curriculum to focus on getting our students ready to do their jobs after they graduate, as we improve and fine tune the contributions a residential college experience has on our students’ character – and the list goes on and on.

Ultimately, the answer to the question of whether this is a better place is whether each one of us, including our students, has grown better at what we do, and that is to continue to strengthen Kutztown University, as the regional powerhouse that it is. It is my humble opinion that, indeed, we, all of us, have accomplished that.

Robert P. Grim, Esq.
Chair, Kutztown University Council of Trustees