Year in Review: Top Alma College Stories in 2010
A presidential transition, new academic programs, the addition of lacrosse, the opening of the Art Smith Arena, and numerous student and faculty accomplishments were among the top Alma College stories in an eventful 2010. Following is a summary.
• Board of Trustees Chair Candace Dugan announced on Feb. 5 the appointment of Dr. Jeff Abernathy as the 13th president of Alma College. Abernathy assumed the presidency on June 15. In his remarks at Fall Conference in August, he said, “Our plan will be rooted in our identity. We are not Amherst College, nor Ave Maria, neither MSU nor Phoenix. We are Alma. There is no prouder claim we can make. We are Alma … and we will remain so. Second, our plan will respond to our changing environment. … We will plan for a college whose 150th year will be even brighter than its 125th.”
Jeff Abernathy greets faculty and staff at Fall Conference.
• International education leader Diego del Corral received an honorary degree and delivered the 2010 commencement address to more than 240 graduates in April. Del Corral was instrumental in forging Alma College’s partnership with Equatorialis University in Ecuador. A group of Ecuadorian students got their first taste of Michigan when they visited during Spring Term.
• Campus construction projects continued in 2010. Officials broke ground in May for the Eddy Music Center project, while the Hogan Center project, including the new Art Smith Arena, was completed in August. A ribbon-cutting ceremony took place on Oct. 8.
The Eddy ground-breaking
• The Higher Learning Commission, the accrediting body of the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools, affirmed Alma College’s mission and educational strengths by granting a full 10-year re-accreditation.
• Alma College approved three new academic majors designed to prepare students for work in rapidly changing health career fields. Biotechnology, Environmental Studies and Health Care Administration will admit students beginning in 2011.
The new Art Smith Arena
• In athletics, Alma College added women’s and men’s lacrosse as varsity sports beginning in the 2011-12 academic year, increasing the number of intercollegiate sponsored sports from 18 to 20. On the field, the softball team earned a bid to the NCAA Tournament while the women’s soccer team captured the MIAA regular season championship.
• Student accomplishments were prominent in 2010. Demi Gary and Maureen O’Connell received Fulbright Scholarships to teach and study overseas. Rebecca Spitzley won the 2010 Barlow Trophy on Honors Day. The student organization SIFE won its 10th straight regional competition. Alma College students successfully organized a Chicago retreat that addressed how the United States can move forward with membership to the International Criminal Court.
Ed Lorenz was a finalist for a national service learning award.
• Alma students shattered the record books at the National Model United Nations Conference in New York City. Alma College received “outstanding delegation” recognition for the 14th consecutive year — the longest active winning streak of any college or university at the national conference. Alma’s 26 “outstanding” awards are the most of any school in the 88-year history of the national conference.
• Faculty achieved recognition in multiple ways in 2010. Ed Lorenz was named a national finalist for Campus Compact’s 2010 Thomas Ehrlich Faculty Award for Service-Learning. Liping Bu was the invited keynote speaker at an international conference in Austria. Biologist Dave Clark received a three-year National Science Foundation grant to study spider behavior. Stephany Slaughter was a field producer for “Which Way Home,” an Emmy Award-winning documentary.
• Alma College received not one, but two $1 million estate gifts. The gift from the estate of long-time Alma residents Art and Carra Jones Smith was designated for the Hogan Center gymnasium project and resulted in the naming of the Art Smith Arena. An anonymous $1 million gift was designated for Alma’s scholarship fund.
• A devastating plane crash in Lake Michigan resulted in the loss of four Alma community members in July. The community, in its shock and grief, responded in unity and kindness to the family members. Ribbons were tied around campus trees, and the College hosted memorial services for Earl Davidson and Don and Irene Pavlik.
An overflow crowd attended the memorial service for Earl Davidson.
• Alma College enrolled its fifth highest student enrollment in the fall. The total headcount of 1,422 students was just 25 students shy of the College’s all-time high.
• Marketing efforts in 2010 included the roll out of a new 60-second TV commercial that uses stop motion photography, upbeat music and humorous visual affects to promote the “Alma Experience” to multiple audiences. The TV ad aired statewide on cable stations and on YouTube.
Scene from the TV ad depicting study abroad.
Posted: Fri, December 10th, 2010 at 8:24AM