Year in Review: Top Alma College Stories in 2009
Campus construction, an international articulation agreement, the receipt of federal grants, fund-raising success and a major retirement announcement were among the top Alma College stories in 2009. Following is a summary.
• Students, faculty and staff began the 2009 Winter Term by setting aside homework, classes and other activities to observe as a community the presidential inauguration of Barack Obama as part of the College’s celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. Week.
• In February, leaders from Alma College and Ecuador-based Equatorialis University signed a landmark articulation agreement that provides an opportunity for Ecuadorian students to transfer to Alma College in their senior year of study, beginning in the fall of 2013.
The Ecuador articulation agreement signing ceremony.
• Student accomplishments were prominent in 2009, bringing positive recognition to Alma College. James Kruse and Aaron Pooley earned Fulbright scholarships. David Bechtold captured a Truman. Will Allen received the College’s first Jack Kent Cooke Fellowship. In addition, student teams produced outstanding results in Model UN and SIFE competitions. In December, four students attended — and blogged about — the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen.
• The official ending of another academic year brought the introduction of the newest alumni class in April. Paula Cunningham, a former community college president and current bank president, delivered the commencement address to more than 260 graduates on a pleasant, sunny afternoon.
• Major enhancements to the physical campus were launched in 2009. Officials broke ground May 1 for the Hogan Center gymnasium/convocation center, designed to be Alma College’s first LEED-certified building. Returning students in the fall were greeted with technology renovations in the Swanson Academic Center. In October, the Board of Trustees approved planning for extensive renovations to the Eddy Music Center.
• The Alma Scots softball team won the 2009 MIAA Tournament Championship in May with wins over Adrian College and Trine University to earn the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s automatic bid to the NCAA Division III National Tournament. The Scots finished with a 29-13 overall record.
• A figurative sculpture commemorating the spiritual ideals of the late Bishop Makarios was unveiled and dedicated May 16 at Alma College, the institution he faithfully served for 25 years. A crowd of approximately 150 people attended the ceremony. Video highlights were broadcast in India and throughout the world on Malayala Manorama TV News and AsiaNet TV.
The Bishop Makarios sculpture dedication ceremony.
• President Saundra Tracy announced her retirement effective in June 2010. “The timing is right for Alma College,” she said. “My decision to retire next is based not only on the desire of Doug and myself to spend more time with our children and grandchildren, but also because the College is at the right place and time to enter a presidential transition.”
• Alma College received its largest federal grant ever — $500,000 from the National Science Foundation — to fund the PRISM Project, or Positive Routes Into Science and Mathematics. The program increases research opportunities for students not only in their first year of college but also prior to taking their first college course. Alma was one of 22 institutions, out of 186 submissions, selected for the funding.
• Two Alma faculty members received significant federal research grants in 2009. History Professor Liping Bu was awarded a $130,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health for a two-year study on the history of public health education in 20th century China. Chemistry Assistant Professor Jeff Turk was awarded a three-year $150,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to study influenza inhibition.
• The second highest number of students in Alma’s 123-year history enrolled in the fall, just barely missing a record enrollment by three students. It also was the first time the College enrolled more than 400 new students for three consecutive years.
• The largest fund-raising campaign in Alma College history successfully concluded in September more than nine months early. The Open Windows Campaign raised $37.3 million — $2 million more than the $35.25 million goal.
The Open Windows Campaign concludes early.
• Every seat in Presbyterian Hall was filled when Jared Diamond, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and one of the world’s most celebrated scientists, gave the 2009 Robert D. Swanson Responsible Leadership Speaker Series keynote address in October.
• The Alma Symphony Orchestra launched its 50th anniversary season in the fall. The anniversary “is truly a testament to the visionary founders who established the symphony, the musicians who inspire the community year after year, and the patrons who provide unwavering support,” said ASO Council President Eric St. Onge.
Posted: Mon, January 11th, 2010 at 2:08PM