I am thrilled to have been selected as the next Verne M. Willaman Dean of the Eberly College of Science and even more pleased that I am succeeding my mentor, Doug Cavener. I believe that the dean is the voice of the college, an advocate for its needs, and a resource to amplify the accomplishments of its students, faculty, and staff. Over the past five years, Doug has done these things exceptionally well, and while I hope to leave my own distinguished mark upon our college, building upon the leadership of Doug Cavener—and Dan Larson before him—will be a great honor.
The next 15 to 20 years are going to present important challenges and exciting opportunities as the academic, economic, and societal landscape continues to shift. Penn State and the Eberly College of Science will be faced with pressing issues that affect all our constituencies. These will include, among others, ensuring equitable access to opportunities for all students, faculty, and staff; empowering personal and societal resilience; supporting basic research as the wellspring from which practical applications derive; expanding knowledge to address problems of global importance, including sustainability and human health, and sharing these findings for global impact; understanding and addressing enrollment trends and effecting sustainable budget management; and supporting a changing student demographic and preparing them for the 21st-century workforce.
I will need your help, as the Eberly College of Science always has, but perhaps now more than ever.
Our 59,000 alumni are a significant strength. I know that you have believed in our future, participated in our events, encouraged and mentored our students—and sometimes employed and offered internships—and you have generously offered resources when we’ve asked. I am as excited about interactions with alumni and friends, donors, and volunteers as any part of this position. I look forward to extending my gratitude for your loyalty, my hope for your continued engagement in this critical time, and my wish that you will consider coming alongside us as we pursue expanded opportunities for our students and faculty to flourish. You’ll hear more from me and my team in the development and alumni relations office about these opportunities, and I hope you’ll participate.
Thank you for the important role you play in our college and at Penn State. I look forward to getting to know you.
Verne M. Willaman Dean
Eberly College of Science