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Creating Our Revolutionary Future

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by interim President John E. Jones III ’77, P’11

In the past four months, Dickinson has welcomed our entire student body, faculty and staff back together again on campus for the first time since March 2020, hosted our largest Homecoming & Family Weekend in memory and held a proper Commencement for the class of 2020, whose senior year was interrupted by the global pandemic. We’ve done it all while following careful COVID protocols, and we’ve experienced relatively few COVID infections.

I am constantly energized by the spirit on campus. This is truly a world-class community, one poised to move into the post-pandemic future with boldness and innovation. I cannot thank you enough for the support and good wishes you’ve extended to me as I commenced my leadership role at this special place.

To accelerate that movement, we launched one of the key components of our Dickinson Forward: A Revolutionary Future initiative earlier this month. It’s the boldest and most ambitious financial aid fundraising campaign in the history of the college. We know that Dickinson develops global leaders, individuals who go on to positively impact our society. This initiative represents our commitment to finding the best possible Dickinsonians, and then providing them with the financial support they need to take advantage of all that our liberal-arts experience provides.

As I have talked to alumni, I know that one of the greatest concerns is the cost of higher education, and Dickinson specifically. That’s why our scholarship initiative is so critical, and I ask all of you to consider contributing to this worthy effort. With the support of this global community of Dickinson donors, we will meet every admitted student’s full demonstrated financial need. We will provide a scholarship for every Dickinson student who needs one. And we will help to bring positive change for generations to a world that desperately needs Dickinsonians. When we change our students’ lives, we truly change the world.

In addition to our scholarship initiative, a campuswide resource realignment task force convened in September to look at our finances and seek ways to find budget reductions, cost savings and greater efficiencies. While we know that the kind of personalized education we provide is by its very nature labor intensive and not inexpensive, we will make the necessary adjustments to ensure that our finite resources are allocated properly. This fall we also selected a similarly broad strategic-planning committee that is charged with finding bold and innovative ideas to secure Dickinson’s place as a global higher-education leader, well into the future.

The bottom line is that Dickinson is moving forward with great passion and purpose. As both an alumnus of Dickinson and parent of a former student here, I know intimately how valuable the broad-based rigorous academics, the close-knit residential experiences, and the countless practical opportunities for research, internships and community involvement can be. While the challenges in higher education are great, my plan is to lean into them. And we are doing so.

I want all Dickinsonians to feel a renewed sense of pride in this great college that is continuing to thrive, innovate and reimagine what we do as we continue to navigate through a pandemic. We must be creative, and I ask each of you to share with me your ideas for Dickinson and its revolutionary future. I want to draw upon the collective wisdom of this global community, so if you have ideas for the future, please contact me at forward@dickinson.edu.

Let’s create Dickinson’s revolutionary future together.

Read more from the fall 2021 issue of Dickinson Magazine.

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Published November 18, 2021