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Dickinson Forward: The President’s Report

"We are moving Dickinson forward, and it will take all of us to create a bold and innovative future."

— John E. Jones III '77, P'11


63% Meter

As of Jan. 17, 2023,
3,796 donors have given:

$47 million

to the Campaign for Scholarships, bringing the college 63% toward fully funding our commitment to providing a scholarship for every student who needs one.

The Campaign for Scholarships at Dickinson

The Campaign for Scholarships at Dickinson

The campaign has generated 78 permanently endowed scholarship funds and is currently helping to make Dickinson possible for over 1,800 students.


"I visited Dickinson over the summer, and I really wanted to go here. This scholarship makes that possible. It’s a really big opportunity for me, being the first woman in my family to go to college. It’s also a confidence boost—it tells me that I’m right for the college, and the college is right for me."

—Sarah Pearl ’26, a student leader from Laurel, Maryland, is a member of the first cohort of the Reynolds Leaders Scholar Program. Established through a generous gift from George and Jennifer Ward Reynolds ’77, the program brings high-achieving Maryland students to Dickinson through a four-year, $40,000-per-year scholarship.

Delivering Excellence IN ACADEMICS

Dickinson continues to push the boundaries on a useful liberal-arts education, remaining committed to the core values of the humanities, sciences, social sciences and the arts, while also equipping students to thrive in an ever-changing world.

Data Analytics & Quantitative Reasoning

In the last fiscal year, the college took major steps to advance its quantitative instruction and resources for students. After approving a data analytics major last year, Dickinson created the Department of Data Analytics with nine faculty members to support it. Seeking to enhance data literacy across the curriculum, Dickinson also united its Quantitative Reasoning Center with a new Spatial Literacy Center and the multilingual writing center.

To learn how you can impact and support the data analytics program at Dickinson, email

"The recent gifts toward the this initiative have enabled us to bring data analytics to Dickinson faster than we could have hoped. None of this would have been possible without the generous gifts to the college."

— Professor of Mathematics Dick Forrester, acknowledging the importance of the support and guidance from donors like and members of the Data Analytics Advisory Committee Scott Beaumont ’75, Rob Borden ’91, Gretchen Brigden ’89, Michael Capone ’88, Tom ’78 and Judianne Hare P’22, P’25, and Dave ’74 and Sue Stebbins Souerwine ’75, who have helped Dickinson establish and enhance its distinctive liberal-arts approach to data analytics

Mellon Foundation Grants

Dickinson was awarded two substantial new grants from the Mellon Foundation.

The first grant, worth $800,000 and awarded to Provost & Dean of the College Neil Weissman and Assistant Professor of American Studies Darren Lone Fight, is for  a three-year initiative in Native American studies centering on the complicated  history and enduring legacy of Indian boarding schools in the U.S. This project will  position Dickinson to initiate and contribute to a robust national conversation on the Indigenous boarding-school experience, strengthen a vital new and understudied component in our undergraduate program and position Dickinson at the forefront of humanistic study of the present and future of North American Indigeneity.

The second grant, worth $350,000 and awarded to Associate Professor of English Claire Seiler  and Associate Professor of Russian Alyssa DeBlasio, is for a three-year project to create a literary disability studies program across literature and languages departments. This project will create  a lasting network for literary study and for the humanistic study of disability at and beyond Dickinson. The project includes support for faculty scholarship, the development of shared expertise and public humanities work; curricular innovation and pedagogical development; and community engagement in central Pennsylvania and with the U.S. Army War College.


The Food, Agriculture & Resource Management (FARM) Lab initiative, which will create a new facility supporting research, coursework and co-curricular programs at Dickinson’s College Farm, advanced in several important ways this summer and fall. Dickinson established a FARM Lab Advisory Committee to move the project forward, and the team selected an architectural firm for the project, Re:Vision Architecture, a “deep green” architecture and sustainability consulting practice based in Philadelphia.

The initiative, which was generated by Dickinson’s Revolutionary Challenge co-innovation effort in 2019, also earned a $150,000 Metropolitan Edison Co. Endowed Sustainable Energy Fund/Penelec Green Building Grant. This grant, combined with donor support, is enabling the college to begin design development on the project.

To learn how you can impact and support the FARM Lab project, email

Search for New Provost Underway

In October, Neil Weissman announced his plan to retire as provost and dean of the college at the end of this academic year. Weissman has been pivotal in making Dickinson the top liberal-arts college that it is today. The longest-serving provost in Dickinson’s history, Weissman has held that post for 24 years. He also served as acting dean (1988-89) and as interim president (2016-17). Weissman will return to the faculty as professor of liberal arts.

Weissman has significantly increased support for the faculty. His efforts to modernize Dickinson curriculum led to new majors in Africana studies, neuroscience, data analytics and quantitative economics and minors including creative writing and ethics. He led the effort to develop nationally recognized pillars of excellence at Dickinson, including global education, sustainability and our interdisciplinary approach, and he is responsible for $3.1 million in successful grant proposals for the academic program. He has been influential in countless other enhancements, including planning for the Rector Science Complex, development of Dickinson’s first graduate program in managing complex disasters and the creation of the Learning Commons.

A national search is underway to fill this critical post, and a well-rounded search committee has been formed. We have engaged WittKieffer as our search firm, and we will continue to keep the campus community informed about the process.


As part of a continuing effort to address existing problems in the wider world and critical issues for the future of democracy, Dickinson recently launched the Dialogues Across Differences program. Funded by a three-year grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, the cross-disciplinary effort will help students and faculty learn the tools and practice facilitating reflective structured dialogues.

A postbaccalaureate fellow will provide essential support for this initiative while also developing valuable job skills. This person will coordinate the student dialogue facilitators, prepare curriculum materials under the guidance of faculty and staff, co-facilitate the immersive-training program, compile training and facilitation resources and stay abreast of new scholarship in support of the Dialogues Across Difference initiative.


"Our multifaceted plan involves faculty, students and the community in creating culture change. By preparing faculty to shape how hundreds of students practice dialogue and by developing student leaders who serve as role models and facilitators, we seek to establish a culture of true dialogue in action."

—Noreen Lape, associate provost of academic affairs and director of the writing program, one of nine faculty members leading the initiative

Celebrating Support

So far this year, donors are directing their gifts to the Dickinson Fund in the following ways:

Pie chart for Dickinson Fund allocation

40% Area of Greatest Need

25% McAndrews Fund for Athletics

15% Scholarships

7% Other Areas Supporting Student Success

5% Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Initiatives

5% Student Wellness Fund

3% Academic Programming

raised so far

79% of the way to our $5.2 million goal

Goal: 25% Alumni Participation
have made a gift so far

44% to our goal

Goal: 35% Parent Participation
have made a gift so far

66% to our goal


"Thanks to your generous support, I have pursued leadership opportunities, created meaningful connections with fellow students and faculty members and, most importantly, received a quality education that has prepared me for successbeyond college."

—MacKenzie Brielmann ’23 (psychology and dance), the fifth member of her family to attend Dickinson. Thanks to donor support, she has developed leadership skills and confidence as a tour guide, admissions intern, RA and Dance Theatre Group member.


Because Dickinson is dedicated to educating the whole student, we supplemented our academic efforts this year with numerous initiatives that enhance the holistic student experience. Initiatives include new career support programs like Winter Break Career Pathways, a new three-week career-immersion experience and renovations to create a new Dickinson Park Athletics Center, which include state-of-the-art new locker rooms for several Red Devil athletics teams. The college also improved wellness and mental-health services by offering multilingual, 24-hour counseling services and online therapy.

Dickinson also took steps to improve the community and dining experience amid continuing staffing challenges. Efforts include reopening the Quarry featuring Denim Coffee, holding food truck events and an Octoberfest on campus as well as special holiday meals and opening Farm Works, which brings new meal options and fare from the College Farm to campus.

Acknowledging that these are only small steps in the dining improvements needed, the college also announced plans to refurbish the Holland Union Building (HUB), with a groundbreaking in 2024. The renovation project aims to improve the Dining Hall and overall campus community experience by establishing the HUB as a premier gathering space and “living room” for the college.

Prioritizing Inclusivity

Committed to institutionalizing inclusivity, Dickinson has drafted an Inclusivity Strategic Plan. This critical document acknowledges that in addition to embracing diversity, the college must challenge traditions and assumptions that reinforce paradigms of privilege and power that contribute to oppression. The plan outlines steps to achieve three main goals:

  • Embed inclusivity in the college culture.
  • Expand and deepen learning and skill development for all members of the community.
  • Cultivate a diverse campus community that is reflective of the broader world.

To learn more about how Dickinson will achieve these goals, you can read the full plan at As a key step toward achieving these goals, this fall the college named Tony Boston, an experienced diversity officer and equity advocate, as vice president and chief diversity officer. As a member of the president’s senior leadership team, Boston immediately began working on implementing the Inclusivity Strategic Plan, creating a road map to institutionalize inclusivity at Dickinson.


"I was attracted to Dickinson because of the demonstrated commitment to academic rigor, selfreflection, critical inquiry and, equally important, its commitment to change. These elements are not only essential for advancing the educational mission of the college but are prerequisite for driving cultural change."

—Tony Boston, Dickinson’s first chief diversity officer

Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Challenge

Inspired by a gift made by President John E. Jones III ’77, P’11, and Beth Jones P’11 supporting inclusivity initiatives on campus this fall, Dickinson’s Alumni Council came together to rally the alumni community through the Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Challenge. Since launching in October, the challenge has received 130 gifts totaling more than $72,000. Given this outpouring of support, Dickinson will extend the challenge this spring and with a potential additional goal on Day of Giving, Tuesday, April 4.

To join them, make your gift at and choose “Diversity, Equity & Inclusivity Initiatives” under “Designation” on the gift form. The goal is to match the Joneses’ $50,000 gift.


from this moment forward?"

— John E. Jones III '77, P'11

Increasing Alumni Engagement

As an alumnus, parent, former volunteer and current leader, President Jones knows well the vital role alumni engagement plays in moving Dickinson forward. This is the reason Dickinson Forward is focused on co-innovating with alumni to build Dickinson’s future. To ensure that the college can most effectively partner with alumni on future initiatives, Jones is working with the Office of College Advancement to begin to more accurately measure and increase alumni engagement with, and service to, the college.

Over the next five years, Dickinson will commit to raising its alumni engagement percentage to 75%

To help spur this increased engagement, Jones took to the road this fall through the Dickinson Forward Tour. Making stops in Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Malibu, New York City, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Washington, D.C., he met with Dickinson alumni, families and friends to encourage them to consider their own parts in the bold Dickinson story that’s unfolding.

“If you can give your time, give your time. If you can give of your treasure, give of your treasure,” Jones told attendees, as he also shared with them his vision for the future of the college. “Help us continue to be the world-class institution that we are.”

The Dickinson Forward Tour

The Dickinson Forward Tour

Plans are underway for the Spring 2023 leg of the tour. Click here to read more!

John M. Paz ’78 Alumni & Family Center

This September Dickinson officially broke ground on the project to transform the Historic President’s House into the John M. Paz ’78 Alumni & Family Center. The renovation project will establish a permanent, centralized facility that reimagines what a welcome center can be.

Entirely funded by donors, the new center will:

  • provide a welcoming space for alumni and parents to visit campus to interact with students, faculty and college administrators
  • foster deeper connections between current students and alumni
  • strengthen the bonds among Dickinson’s past, present and future
  • enhance the power of the Dickinson network
  • make a bold statement about our lifelong commitment to Dickinson alumni and families.

Dickinson thanks the following lead donors for making this project possible: John M. Paz ’78, George Hager ’78, Sam Rose ’58, Bill ’71 and Elke Durden, Jim ’78 and Niecy Chambers, Doug ’80 and Terri Pauls, and the Pugs Foundation.

Look for your chance to join these donors in supporting this project through an upcoming paver campaign for the center.

All of the momentum highlighted in this report is a result of engaged Dickinsonians like you. THANK YOU FOR HELPING US MOVE DICKINSON FORWARD TOGETHER.