LINCOLN UNIVERSITY, PA – Lincoln University President Robert R. Jennings today offered an ambitious vision for the university’s future in his inaugural address as the 13th president of the university.
Dr. Jennings not only called for improvements or increases in enrollment, international student recruitment, retention, infrastructure, programs and courses, faculty development and assessment, distance learning, research grants, and fiscal management, but also outlined how it would be achieved amid a looming financial crisis.
“Under my leadership, Lincoln University will contribute its intellectual and creative expertise in developing innovative approaches to meet the changing needs of its communities and society at large,” said Dr. Jennings. “Thus, my vision is that the University will be a progressive growing institution with an expert workforce that delivers aggressive and comprehensive programs marked by effective support systems, efficient operating principles and sound fiscal practices.”
Dr. Jennings offered his remarks today before a crowd of distinguished guests, administrators, faculty, students and alumni who gathered for a formal ceremony with an academic processional, including: Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett, presidents from area colleges and universities, members of Lincoln’s Board of Trustees, state, regional and local officials, members of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., alumni, and others.
“This is a president of vast talent and admirable life experience,” said Governor Corbett, who offered greetings on behalf of the State. “He (Dr. Jennings) could have worked anywhere, but he chose Lincoln University – a place that has taught all of us to believe in excellence.”
Corbett, who recognized Lincoln’s legacy of distinguished alumni, said that schools two to four times its size would envy such a record of excellence.
Others offered greetings on behalf of area colleges and universities, the university family, the alumni, the student body and the academy.
“The alumni know what our charge is and we will stand up to that charge,” said Kimberly A. Lloyd, Lincoln University Trustee and Presidential Search Committee chair, who spoke on behalf of the University’s 15,000 alumni. “We are with you, but we, as alumni, have expectations too. That is not to go back to the past, but to take us to heights never before.”
Aside from recently re-established Nursing and Engineering programs, Dr. Jennings proposed new master’s degree programs in Social Work and Environmental Green Initiatives, an annual energy conference, a new doctoral program in Educational Administration and Policy Studies as well as a strengthened relationship with the renowned Barnes Foundation for its majors in Art History, Art Education along with new courses in Museum Operations.
He also recommended a Continuing Education Program at both main campus and at the Graduate Center in Philadelphia.
To increase enrollment, Dr. Jennings said that he had already signed articulation agreements with 9 community colleges. In the next five years, he projected the construction of at least one more suite-style dormitory and an additional 1,000 students through increased use of online learning and distance learning technology as well as new campuses or university or institutional partnerships in South Africa, parts of India and Asia.
During that same period, he said the University will also seek to increase undergraduate international student enrollment from 8 to 15 percent, retention of all undergraduates to 80 percent as well as ensure that 80 percent of all students graduate in five years or less.
He also suggested that building partnerships through the Center of Excellence for Business and Entrepreneurial Studies, savings recovered due to an increase in grants and contracts as well as increases enrollment from distance learning and other offerings would help to fund some new initiatives as well as address financial constraints.
“We will be diligent in charting Lincoln’s course for the future and it is our belief that with a plan and well-thought strategies we will achieve our goals,” Dr. Jennings said. “Lincoln’s course ahead is poised for greatness and I am honored to be at the helm at this time in its history.”
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Lincoln University of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, founded in 1854 as the nation’s first historically Black degree-granting institution, combines the elements of a liberal arts and science-based undergraduate curriculum along with select graduate programs to meet the needs of those living in a highly-technological and global society. Today, the University enrolls a diverse student body of approximately 2,000 men and women. Internationally recognized for preparing and producing world class leaders such as Thurgood Marshall, the first African American U.S. Supreme Court Justice, Lillian Fishburne, the first African American woman promoted to Rear Admiral in the U.S. Navy, Langston Hughes, the noted poet, Kwame Nkrumah, the first President of Ghana and Nnamdi Azikiwe, the first President of Nigeria.