Council Honors Student Trustee

Photo Credit / Ronald Hanaki L. Patrick Ross (left) and Marcia G. Welsh (right) at last Thursday’s Council of Trustees Meeting. Photo Credit / Ronald Hanaki
L. Patrick Ross (left) and Marcia G. Welsh (right) at last Thursday’s Council of Trustees Meeting.

Ronald Hanaki 

Staff Writer 

ESU’s Council of Trustees convened last Thursday at the Innovation Center to honor one of its own. Senior Abigail Soto will be graduating in May and leaving her post as a student trustee on the Council.

“She has been an absolute asset to us for the whole year and represented the students very well. She has always given her opinion in a very respectful way… and we wish you nothing but luck,” said Trustee Chair Patrick Ross.

Trustees Harry Lee and Marcus Lingenfelter echoed similar sentiments about the graduating student trustee, complimenting her articulate and professional conduct.

The council welcomed two student-researchers from the seventh annual Student Research & Creative Activity Symposium held on April 10 to present their projects.

Provost Joanne Bruno presented the two students, Alicia Kakakios and Samantha Dietz.

Kakakios is a math student who was mentored by Dr. Olivia Carducci and did a study on retention. Specifically, she studied freshman and sophomore retention at ESU from 2013 to 2016 and found some interesting information.

She found that retention was higher among students who lived in non-traditional housing (off-campus) as opposed to traditional housing (residence halls).

Data also found that first-generation students and non-first-generation students were retained at about the same rate between their freshman and sophomore years.

Dietz, the second student to present, was mentored by professor David Mazure.

She used a design process to develop three animated characters named Justice, Chris, and Tom, at a school that she called ‘Coming of Age University.’

“These characters were created to communicate to younger students about what it might be like to be in college,” Bruno said.

Dietz began introducing the characters with Justice, a sorority law student. She is the president of her sorority, and she is also a law student. Her challenge is how to balance these two roles.

Her character is intended to thwart the Greek life stereotype that it is all about partying, Dietz explained.

“Chris [the next character] is somebody who recently came out as non-binary to their family and close friends. Their story is about being able to be their true selves to everybody in public with the combination of coming out to the public at the school at a pride rally,” Dietz said.

The final character is Tom, a freshman physics student who is struggling to adjust to the pressures of college social life.

“I like to say that I had an inspirational quote going through the whole thing: to inspire the uninspired. You are not alone in college. Your story has just not been told yet,” Dietz said.

After the student-researchers spoke, President Marcia Welsh complimented their work and presented the President’s Report.

“This is a time of campus celebration–every single day as we get ready for our commencement ceremonies,” stated Welsh.

She said that ESU honored 67 employees who reached their 10 to 15-year milestones with the university.

There was also a very successful alumni event in Monroe County, where Welsh was encouraged by the young alumni turnout and their desire to be engaged at the university.

Additionally, the report highlighted ESU’s sport management students that again came in first during the 2019 Pocono Raceway College Tour.

Welsh announced the university’s formal commencement speaker, Retired Lieutenant General Susan Lawrence. She currently works as the Managing Director of National Security Practice at Accenture Financial Services.

ESU also plans to begin recruiting students for the new Doctorate in Health Sciences program while they are awaiting approval for the new Master’s accounting program.

Six students accompanied Welsh to Harrisburg for the annual Advocacy Day, and the president passed along a compliment from legislators on the students.

“As we left two of the offices, legislators told us that our students were the most articulate and passionate of any they have had in their offices,” Welsh said.

Lastly, Welsh thanked the ESU Foundation for holding the scholarship dinner.

“The students were phenomenal. I think it was a good match of scholarship donors and scholarship recipients,” Welsh stated.

Following the President’s Report, Ross noted that this was Dr. Doreen Tobin’s last meeting.

“Thanks for all you have done for East Stroudsburg University. We only wish you the best as you move forward,” Ross said.

After Ross’ remarks, Lingenfelter presented the Strategic Initiatives Committee Report.

“We have a single most important stakeholder, and they are called students. They are footing 80% of the bill for everything we do, and that needs to remain in the forefront of every conversation we have,” stated Lingenfelter.

That conversation begins with data and Lingenfelter complimented the academic team’s work on important data that guides the strategic initiatives going forward.

The trustees approved a new measure that provides new guidelines and uniformity to how centers are established and managed at the university. 

Additionally, a new hazing policy that keeps the university in compliance with the new law passed six months ago was also approved.

The Finance Committee presented a motion for a modest increase in the university’s fees by 1.5% or approximately $300 which passed unanimously. 

Finally, nominations for the following academic year ensued, with Ross again nominated to Chairman for a 23rd year on the board. Lingenfelter was nominated as Vice Chairman while Paul Shermansky was nominated as secretary. All three of these motions were passed unanimously.

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