Moving Boldly

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Photo by Dan Loh.

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

Every day, I read penetrating articles on the state of colleges and universities in the United States, articles rife with references to the so-called demographic cliff, complete with dire predictions about the state of liberal-arts education. Some days these pieces are better left unread!

Here at Dickinson, we see challenges as great opportunities. It’s not our style to wring hands or make excuses. Rather, we act boldly and engage daily in the generative processes that move this college forward with great purpose.

For more tangible proof of our momentum, look no further than the gateway to our campus, where the beautiful new John M. Paz ’78 Alumni & Family Center has opened to rave reviews. It’s a stunning tribute to our dedicated alumni donors, who had a clear vision and stepped up to see it become a reality.

Next, we are directing attention to much-needed HUB improvements. Rest assured we will make the necessary investments in this space at the heart of our campus, but we will do so in phases to be fiscally responsible. The student experience is essential, and it’s imperative we have modern spaces on campus that serve our students better!

We’re also continuing to expand the ways we prepare students to create meaningful lives and careers. We’ve launched our first alumni network, the Finance & Business Network, which will provide unparalleled connections and opportunities for our community. More alumni networks are to come.

We must provide every one of our students with the tools to be successful, no matter what their chosen academic path may be. That’s why we offer ethics courses across our curriculum, so that our students understand ethical decision-making. Our Dialogues Across Differences program, funded by a grant from the Arthur Vining Davis Foundations, is teaching our students how to engage productively with others with whom they disagree and to discuss controversial topics constructively. And our new Inclusive Pedagogy Grant initiative will encourage and fund innovative ideas that improve accessibility, build community and enhance academic and/or social belonging. Ethical reasoning, civil dialogue and an inclusive mindset—these are skills our students need to go out into society and change the rhetoric.

Time and again, when I meet fellow alums on campus or on the road, they are so gracious in thanking me for taking this job. It is a privilege to lead Dickinson—it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. Thank you for your constant support and good wishes, which propel me in all that I do on behalf of our great college.

Read more from the winter 2024 issue of Dickinson Magazine.


Published March 8, 2024