Recent graduates usually scoff at the university’s attempts to solicit donations on graduation day.
But while loans and interest may seem more pressing than giving back to the university, the Class of 2008 has reason to consider a donation.
In the last four years, we’ve seen the most vibrant development in North Philadelphia in five decades. Former President Peter Liacouras set out 25 years ago to build a residential campus that students could be proud of, and this class was one of the first to realize that dream. Four years later, it’s difficult to remember Curtis Hall, the Annenberg lots, “Lake Temple” and guaranteed housing for sophomores. In addition to private development like the Edge and Sydenham Commons, our tenure has brought the TECH Center, a new Student Center and big changes on Liacouras Walk. It’s driven students out into the neighborhoods with surprisingly good results.
But with the completion of Alter Hall and the Tyler School of Art, the construction will stop. There are no specific plans for any further development on campus.
That’s where we come in.
The university is depending on its alumni to create a lasting legacy, one that will continue to elevate the campus academically and physically. Under Vice President of Institutional Development Stuart Sullivan, the university has crafted a vastly updated network of alumni. The university’s “Access to Excellence” capital drive has raised $291 million of a targeted $350 million, a figure that was raised from $300 million.
It’s high time we consider the next step in the history of this university. Presidents Liacouras and David Adamany both added physical stamps to the reforms they enacted here.
Now it’s President Ann Weaver Hart’s Turn.
We still face the same challenges – limited space, community concerns and antiquated infrastructure – but the university’s next transformation could be even greater than the one we’ve had the opportunity to witness in the last four years.