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A New Standard of Excellence at Penn State

on December 18, 2013 3:24 PM

Dear Penn State Community:

It is time that many of the extremely positive things happening at The Pennsylvania State University get their proper recognition:

Enrollment. One of the greatest measures of a university’s success is the demand by future students. Applications for enrollment at Penn State are 16% ahead of last year. Many said we would have to take fewer students last year or decrease our already high standards of admission. We did not. This year, with such high demand, the aptitude of the incoming class may be even higher.

Veterans. Within the past month, Penn State was ranked as the #1 university in the nation for veterans.

Research Ranking. Penn State is ranked in the top 15 for competitively-earned research dollars ($808 million last year), putting us in the company of other prestigious schools like MIT, Johns Hopkins and Stanford. This valuable research provides the learning laboratories for our students and for tomorrow’s discoveries that enhance lives globally.

Fundraising. Penn State will likely soon announce it has exceeded its ambitious fundraising campaign goal of $2 billion with “For the Future,” the Campaign for Penn State students.

Moody’s Rating Upgrade. Moody’s, the prestigious credit rating institution, recently upgraded our financial rating to positive, strongly suggesting an upgrade in Penn State’s underlying credit rating soon, which will positively influence our ability to borrow money and reduce our interest costs. Moody’s took this action, citing the governance improvements we made and expressing its confidence in Penn State’s Board of Trustees leadership.

Governance Leadership. Nearly 80% of the leading universities in the nation are following Penn State’s lead and model in implementing significant improvements in governance and oversight, according to a recent USA Today article.

Career Center. Princeton Review recently rated Penn State’s Career Center as the best in the country.

U.S. News Ranking. U.S. News and World Report recently ranked Penn State #8 among all public universities and #37 of all universities in the United States - up nine places in just one year - a very significant jump.

Job Recruiting. The Wall Street Journal recently ranked Penn State as the #1 place for corporations to hire their best employees.

Library Resources. The Penn State library ranks 8th among all research libraries in North America.

Job Starting Salaries. Penn State is #7 in median starting salaries for our students, ranking us above many Ivy League schools.

Academic Departments. Some of Penn State’s departments rank #1 in the world. Many others rank in the top 10 of elite universities nationwide.

Fulbright Scholars. Penn State is #1 in faculty Fulbright scholars, with 14 in fiscal year 2012. This beats every other university in the U.S.

Philanthropy. THON is by far the largest student run philanthropy in the world. It raised $12.4 million last year to fight pediatric cancer.

Digital Learning. Penn State continues to be a leader in online and digital learning.

Basic Sciences. The National Research Council ranks Penn State among the top 10 elite universities in the basic sciences in the U.S., according to a recent comprehensive study.

Best Professors. Penn State is #3 for the best professors in 2013 by ratemyprofessors.com.

Football Program. Attendance at Penn State’s last home football game exceeded the attendance at every NFL and every SEC game that weekend. And who will ever forget the unbelievably enthusiastic atmosphere at Beaver Stadium during the incredible victory over Michigan. In the past year, Penn State earned a Graduation Success Rate of 85%, exceeding the national average of 70% for all Division 1 institutions. In the past two years, the Penn State football team has been at a disadvantage due to the unfair NCAA sanctions. Yet we have had two winning seasons, testimony to the great resiliency and tremendous culture that exist at Penn State in academics, research, service, and sports. Across all sports, we finished 6th nationally in the Learfield Sports Directory Cup, winning 8 Big Ten titles, and 2 national titles.

Governance Model. We have established a model for the highest level of University governance, athletic integrity, ethics, moral standards, and processes. In answer to a question I asked at the most recent board meeting, Senator Mitchell suggested that few other institutions have achieved our high level of morality and ethics in intercollegiate athletics.

Hershey Medical Center. The Hershey Medical Center brand and Hershey finances are quite strong in an era of challenges to healthcare institutions nationally.

As you can see, Penn State is setting new standards in higher education. All in the Penn State community can take great pride in these achievements.

I urge all Penn Staters to spread these positive messages whenever and wherever they can.

Thank you,

Joel Myers - 61 BS, 63 MS, 71 PhD

(Editors note: Joel Myers is a longtime member of the Penn State Board of Trustees.)

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