By Sarah Porterfield
SC Staff Writer
Inauguration Week, from April 1-6, is a series of events and ceremonies planned by the East Stroudsburg University (ESU) Inauguration Committee to celebrate Dr. Marcia Welsh, the 13th president of ESU, with a theme of “Great Expectations,” where events will showcase talents of students and invite participation of the local community.
In all of the one hundred and twenty years of the existence of East Stroudsburg University, there have only been thirteen inaugurations, and each inauguration marks a moment in the history of the university.
Each president has a unique set of passions, visions, and inspirations. Dr. Welsh has a desire to promote innovation and lead ESU to a higher level of excellence. She listed several of her great expectations, including a vision to distinguish ESU from other state schools, and a desire to create, “a place where students come and would never want to leave.”
Dr. Welsh desires ESU to become a less generic school and more extraordinary. She said, “I don’t want to be a vanilla institution; I want to be a hot fudge sundae institution.”
The theme of “Great Expectations” connects to the president’s ambitions and plans for the future potential of ESU.
To ensure a successful week that properly reflects the great expectations and interests of the president, university, and community, the Inauguration Committee, made up of various town and campus members, began planning over the summer of 2012, shortly after the President Welsh was hired.
Dr. John Hauth, co-chair of the Inauguration Committe, says many details went into the planning and that even picking the date was a complicated affair. Many people from a variety departments and communities were involved.
Hauth found the whole planning experience exciting because of the extensive and diverse collaboration process. He enjoyed the opportunity to be part of the celebration. “Often we are not tuned in to all the great and wonderful things students, faculty, staff, and the community do for ESU. We don’t celebrate all the good things that are happening on campus and get bogged down with what we need to improve,” says Hauth.
Even the Inaugaration logo designed by Darlene Farris-Labar, ESU Associate Professor of Art, celebrates the University and Dr. Welsh’s vision. Each color of the triad is a symbol.
The blue represents the Delaware River, fast-flowing and ever-changing like ESU. Red celebrates ESU and its 120th anniversary as of this year. Lastly, the green symbolizes the Pocono Mountains and the special location and community associated with it.
Since Inauguration Week is a celebration of the president, the university, and the community, a wide array of events have been scheduled. Each day anywhere from 2-6 events are planned.
Because Dr. Welsh is an advocate of student research, and because students are such a large part of the university and its accomplishments, various panels, symposiums, and ceremonies have been scheduled to encourage students along their academic pursuits and allow them to show off their work.
The community is celebrated and embraced through events such as the Business Card Exchange, the Great Expectations Community Dinner, where a local jazz orchestra will be performing, and the Liztech Pin Reveal. Liztech is a well-known jewelry company based in East Stroudsburg who has designed a special pin to commemorate the president’s inauguration.
Personal interests of the current ESU president are also reflected through the wellness walk and fashion show. Dr. Welsh exercises every day and greatly appreciates and enjoys fashion.
Dr. Welsh has thoroughly enjoyed attending almost every type of event on the ESU campus. She has been to many art, academic, and athletic events. When asked about the Art Association Exhibit and a Gallery Opening, Welsh replied, “I love the arts and I think the arts really help us educate more well-rounded students.”
Meeting students is one of Dr. Welsh’s absolute favorite things about her job. Going to various events allows her to meet and support many different students. This includes sport events. Women’s Lacrosse and Men’s Baseball both have games during the week of inauguration.
Dr. Welsh looks forward to the many events planned. She, however, intends for the theme of “Great Expectations” to extend far beyond a week’s worth of events. Welsh plans to transform great expectations into great realities.
According to Dr. Welsh, the two biggest obstacles of reaching her goals are financial limitations and lack of freedom and support in using a more innovative approach to education. She hopes to increase open-mindedness in order to make needed improvements.
Dr. Welsh explained her worries about finances, “The financial consequences are very stressful because so many of the things we need to do to ensure student success involve spending money,” and the spending budget is low this year.
Despite various challenges, Dr. Welsh has made several improvements during her time in office so far. These improvements include the library staying open 24/7 the week before and during finals week and adding a calendar link to the ESU website, allowing students to find events easier. Welsh desires to make the ESU website modernized with “more access and pizzazz.”
Dr. Brenda Friday of ESU University Relations is also impressed by the ESU president’s communication initiatives.
“Many other university presidents and people of high regard have someone else tweet for them and that is not the case here,” said Friday. “Dr. Welsh truly does it on her own.”
Tweeting is one way in which Welsh reaches out to the student body by receiving feedback from them and acting upon that feedback. She enjoys the way the social media allows her to interact with students through her Twitter account, @PresidentWelsh. She hopes to get even more followers within the next couple of weeks.
The Inauguration Week celebrates Dr. Welsh as a president and as a person. One interesting fact about Welsh as a person is that she, along with the rest of her family, is scuba diving certified. Her two favorite quotes are “Another day in which to excel” and “Just keep swimming” which is quoted from Dory in “Finding Nemo.”
She enjoys playing Jenga with her family. And though she does not enjoy Monopoly, she won second place in a Monopoly tournament at Towson University when she was provost there.
Welsh’s advice to both aspiring women and graduating seniors is: “Just get out there and take on the world and do not be afraid of anything. Take chances.”
Dr. Welsh summarizes why she chose to be the president of ESU in this statement, “My passion is higher education. I think we can change the world. And I like to believe that.”
To see a complete listing of Inauguration events, times, and dates go to http://quantum.esu.edu/inauguration/events/. Also, if students find a life size cardboard cutout of Dr. Welsh during inauguration week and take a picture with it, text or send the photo to firstname.lastname@example.org. First twenty photos per day will receive a free inauguration backpack.
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