Mount Union College's President Jack Ewing Delivers State of the College Address
April 15, 2004
Mount Union College is one of the strongest institutions in the country today, according to its president, Dr. John L. Ewing, Jr.
At the annual State of the College address, Thursday, April 15, Ewing backed up this assertion with information regarding Mount Union's vision, fiscal responsibility and devoted alumni base, but pointed to the College's role in "transforming lives" as the most important factor and indication of its success.
"We are committed to the potential that exists in every student," said Ewing. "We have chosen not to accept only those students with a 4.0 grade point average. We know we can make a difference in other students' lives as well. We transform those lives."
Ewing related what he sees as Mount Union's outstanding strengths - clarity of vision, faculty commitment to teaching, enrollment stability, fiscal responsibility, facilities and a working strategic plan.
"At Mount Union, we not only know the mission statement -- we know it, believe it and live it," said Ewing.
In regard to faculty commitment to teaching, Ewing says that he thinks basing tenure, reward and recognition primarily on contributions to the body of knowledge, rather than quality teaching, is a mistake many other institutions make.
"We put the focus on our students," said Ewing. "We have not diverted from our commitment to a full-time, liberal-arts education."
While Ewing referred to the trend of colleges and universities to focus on other, possibly more lucrative initiatives, he asserted that Mount Union has maintained its focus on undergraduate education. According to Ewing, it is within the College's strategic plan to consider providing graduate programs in the future. However, he said that the College's primary commitment to undergraduate education will not waiver.
The College is on target for a class of 650 in the fall. This is consistent with the measured growth that is now Mount Union's plan, having stabilized the tremendous growth experienced throughout the ?90s. At the end of the fiscal year, Mount Union plans to be celebrating 50 straight years of balanced financial operations, which Ewing attributes to generous donors, good investments and appropriate management of the endowment. Mount Union is currently considered one of the premier institutions in the country based on the size of the endowment in relation to the number of alumni.
In addition, Mount Union has built or renovated 10 buildings on campus during the past 10 years. Tolerton and Hood Hall, which formerly housed some of the natural sciences departments now located in Bracy Hall, will be renovated this summer to accommodate the departments of Math, Psychology and Sociology. The second phase of
this project will be the renovation and addition to Wilson Hall. Plans for this phase are not finalized at this time, but the intention is for the building to house the departments of Education and Economics, Business Administration and Accounting.
Ewing also expressed the College's plans for improvement in the area of diversity. While the College's enrollment has grown dramatically, the percentage of students of color and international students has remained the same. Ewing stated that Dr. Judith Jones-Walker, associate professor of psychology, has served as assistant to the president for diversity initiatives and will develop the framework for a plan that will include the addition of a chief diversity officer and a diversity committee with administrative responsibility for diversity issues.
"We recognize the role every one of us plays in the education of our students," said Ewing. "The Mount Union experience is a 24-hour, seven-day- a-week experience. Each of us can reflect on how we have contributed to transforming the lives of our students."
Ewing related the story of Chris Carter, a senior from Cincinnati who is currently completing his student teaching in Australia.
"Chris grew up in inner-city Cincinnati," said Ewing. "He had a wonderful experience playing football at Mount Union, but most importantly, he found his passion in life - early childhood education. In addition, he is now having the benefit of study abroad. I will have the pleasure of shaking his hand when he receives his diploma in May. That is a transformed life."