President Sara Jayne Steen delivers Annual State of the University Address
PLYMOUTH — Asserting that “Plymouth State University is vibrant and energetically moving forward,” Plymouth State University President Sara Jayne Steen delivered a favorable report in her annual State of the University address on March 25.
Citing continued success in experiential learning opportunities, an impressive recruitment and marketing effort, the culmination of a major fundraising campaign and campus capital improvements, Steen’s message highlighted the University’s achievements before faculty, staff, alumni and friends.
“I am grateful to the campus for your support and participation,” Steen said. “You contribute your ideas, expertise and talent to keep the University both excellent in quality and financially solid. Because of your work, the State of the University is strong.”
Steen emphasized PSU’s goal of preparing students for productive, meaningful careers through experiential learning, a principle Plymouth State has embraced with continued success.
“PSU’s culture of service with engagement is key to the experiential learning environment,” Steen said. “We at PSU are fortunate to have rich, productive partnerships with our host communities of Plymouth and Holderness, and throughout the Lakes Region and North Country and across New Hampshire. They invite partners to engage with us in educating students at the same time that those students serve area schools, non-profits, businesses, and agencies.”
In the past year, the institution has expanded its recruitment and marketing efforts. Steen noted those efforts have been successful.
“PSU has received an all-time high number of inquiries and applications for next fall,” Steen said. “PSU is positioning itself for the future.
That future, stated Steen, includes the ALLWell North academic and athletic complex, slated to open this fall.
The facility will be the largest academic building on campus, providing new space for classes and research, and for programs in health and human performance, community wellness, athletics and recreation.
The University recently reopened the venerable Samuel Read Hall Building after a $4 million renovation. Hall Building is now home to the departments of counselor education and school psychology and of nursing. The Center for the Environment and Center for Rural Partnerships are also located in the facility. The modernization allows PSU to expand capacity in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs, including health disciplines, in Gov. Hassan’s proclaimed year of STEM.
Steen added that the University’s greatest challenges moving forward are reinforcing its financial footing and ongoing student recruitment.
“We must continue to work on enrollment, on diversifying revenues, on continuing to manage resources prudently and effectively and on reallocating as necessary to pay for strategic investments,” she said.
This year also marks the conclusion of Steen’s “Imagine a Way” fundraising campaign, which she launched in 2007 with a goal of raising $20 million in support. Her motivation, she said, was her own educational opportunity and success.
“Like many of you, I am a product of public higher education, as is my husband, and we live a better life than we once could have imagined,” she said. “We hope that for our students. The future does begin with imagination, as we, in my mother’s words, imagine a way.”
Steen announced earlier this year that she will be stepping away from the presidency in June, after leading the University since 2006. She thanked the faculty, staff, students, alumni and friends for all that has been accomplished in her tenure.
“I am honored to have served you for nine years as president,” Steen said. “I have no doubt about the positive value of public higher education. I have seen what this campus and its people are made of, and I will always love PSU.”