When I moved to State College in 1971, a common theme among both residents and university staff focused on the “exceptional learning opportunities that our high school students were afforded.” The years have certainly born-out that theme as a reality. Yes, it is because of the exceptional students we attract, outstanding faculty who have developed market responsive programs, parents who wanted the best for their children and great facilities. Sadly, we can no longer be proud of our physical facilities — 40 plus years of providing temporary patching has caught up with us.
I also know how important great facilities are in recruiting faculty to the university. When the facilities for our hospitality management program became an issue with alumni and industry professionals, we had a massive fundraising effort and a new building became our “learning laboratory for students in the major.” I cannot emphasize enough the pride and the changes that came about as a result of these new facilities. Similarly, that same faculty wanted the best for their children and grandchildren.
As a long-time faculty member, now retired, I know the impact that the proposed changes will have on future generations. While I believe we continue to have very prominent students, faculty and programs, I do not believe without substantive changes that we will continue to provide outstanding facilities. Knowing that exceptional programs become even better when they are supported by state-of-the-art facilities, I strongly support a yes vote on May 20. Our students, staff, and faculty should expect nothing less.
Sara C. Parks