Wilkes University President Patrick F. Leahy welcomed faculty and staff back to campus with a spring convocation address that celebrated the successes of 2018 and outlined goals for 2019. Leahy delivered remarks on Jan. 17 at the Dorothy Dickson Darte Center for the Performing Arts. He celebrated the many milestones in 2018, using a top ten list outlining the greatest accomplishments of the past year.
Topping his list was the news that Wilkes has been categorized as a doctoral university in the revised 2018 Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education, the highest classification for institutions in the country. Of approximately 80 private institutions in Pennsylvania, Wilkes is now one of just 14 with this designation. Other institutions with the doctoral university classification include Carnegie Mellon University, Drexel University, Duquesne University, Villanova University and the University of Pennsylvania. “That’s very good company to be in,” Leahy said. To read full details of the University’s doctoral university status, please click here.
Leahy outlined nine other accomplishments for 2018. They included:
- Legendary athlete Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s appearance on campus in September to deliver the Rosenn Lecture, which drew 1,200 people.
- The success of the 2018 Founders Gala, which raised $820,000 for student scholarships.
- Pass rates of 95 percent on licensing exams for Wilkes pharmacy and nursing graduates, making them the highest in northeast Pennsylvania.
- The addition of men’s and women’s ice hockey as the University’s 22nd and 23rd NCAA sports.
- Increasing the Gateway to the Future capital campaign goal to $55 million.
- The successful completion of the transformational campus Gateway Project.
- Enrolling the best first-year class in University history: the largest, most diverse class with the highest average SAT scores.
- The dedication of the $8 million Mark Engineering Center
- Leading all other northeast Pennsylvania schools with the conferring 1,569 degrees in 2018, 159 of them doctoral degrees.
The president added three “runners up” to his top ten. They included the success of the SHINE after-school program, which now enrolls more than 500 students, an agreement with the Milton Hershey School to enroll its graduates at Wilkes, and the successful winter session, which has grown in three years from 27 students to 202 enrolled in January 2019.
Leahy closed by outlining areas of focus for 2019. It included capital projects, fundraising, budget, enrollment, retention, accreditation and plans to enhance public safety.