I am honored to be part of a Plymouth State University community that is committed to our students, our region, and each other. Over the past two days I have received several moving letters. One was from a student who achieved national recognition this week and wanted to express his gratitude to the faculty members who have contributed to his academic and personal success: “Without them I never would have had all these incredible opportunities at PSU.”
Two letters were from parents, one praising a senior administrator who had listened to and encouraged their son, who now has a stronger sense of direction, and another praising their daughter’s coach, who has created a positive and powerful experience for student-athletes: “They have come a long way as a team and individually since that first game.”
One letter came from a staff leader who values the open communication we have on campus, and another from a colleague who appreciates the exceptional work of several other colleagues and wanted me to know. You get the idea. Plymouth State University was named this year by Business NH Magazine as one of the five best large employers in New Hampshire. I believe it is because of shared dedication to our mission: transforming lives.
The commitment extends beyond campus boundaries. A highlight of the beginning of 2011 was the announcement by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching that PSU has been recognized with the Community Engagement Classification in honor of our engagement with our region, working in partnership to make a wonderful place even better. The classification indicates that at PSU teaching, learning, and research are done in collaboration with community partners and enhance the well-being of the region, as students, faculty, and staff apply their knowledge and talent to economic development, cultural enrichment, health and wellness, environmental sustainability, and more.
The recognition indicates a level of excellence that only 311 higher education institutions nationwide have achieved. Last year Plymouth State students contributed approximately 220,000 hours of service. That figure includes many stories of students working with small businesses, with area children, and on environmental issues. Faculty and staff members were actively involved in creating those relationships and projects, and community partners guided our students as well, providing important opportunities for hands-on learning.
Achievement is possible when people come together in common purpose, to make a difference, and the people at PSU are doing just that. As you read this issue of the magazine, I hope that you, too, are proud of PSU’s people, who live the University motto—Ut prosim (That I may serve).
Sara Jayne Steen, President
John Hession photo.