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Everything Eagletastic

President Karen Whitney with Founders Hall in the background
Clarion turned "Eagletastic" with the arrival of Dr. Karen M. Whitney as its 16th president on July 1, 2010. The new word coined at Clarion reflects a continuation of the pride in Clarion University and its mascot, the Golden Eagle.

Eagletastic can refer to individuals, groups, or experiences that possess exceptionally good ability (the large wing span) and exceptionally good focus and strength (the strong soaring flight).

"It is our exceptionally good teaching, research, and service that I believe our region, state, and nation need from us now more than ever in order to do what many call, -deliver America's promise," said Whitney in her inaugural address.

"The promise of quality undergraduate and graduate academic programs, the promise of applying our teaching and research in ways that meaningfully respond to the great social and economic issues facing our country, state, region, and community."

Since assuming the presidency, Whitney articulated a vision of engaging leadership with the goal of advancing Clarion University and its region through increased degree attainment, a campus culture of civility, listening, entrepreneurialism, achievement, relationships, civic engagement, and institutional leadership.

"I further believe that our exceptionally good teaching, research, and service - our focus, strength and abilities - advance a common good that provides significant benefits to both individuals and society as a whole," continued Whitney in her inaugural address.

"While the personal gains from higher education are widely acknowledged, the societal benefits are even more significant and lasting. Participation in our democracy and preparation to lead a civic life in our communities, economic productivity, increased wages and the increased opportunity to pay taxes over a lifetime of work are both individual and societal benefits from a college degree."

After arriving at Clarion, Whitney launched a 90-day listening tour for all of Clarion's constituents, a first step in the planning process for Clarion University's future.  (Summary of Listening Report, Fall 2010.)

Five residential priorities developed after the listening phase include:

  • Academic Advancement - Champion increasing the degree attainment of the regional community through faculty driven programs, services and facilities that are of interest to students and employers.
  • Campus Climate - Cultivate a campus culture of civility, listening, entrepreneurialism, achievement, and relationships.
  • Civic Engagement - Become a civically engaged public university.
  • Financial Stewardship - Lead the university community to organize itself in a manner that will ensure the future fiscal capacity of the university.
  • Institutional Leadership - Ensure that the leadership of the university holds the confidence of the faculty, staff and students so that focused goals can be pursued in a clear and purposeful way. 

Whitney has a Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Arts in Public Administration and Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from the University of Houston. She teaches, researches, writes, and presents in the areas of higher education finance, administration, law, student development, and student facilities.

Before Clarion, Whitney formerly served for eleven years as Vice Chancellor for Student Life and Dean of Students at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). In that capacity, she was responsible for 12 departments and provided leadership for institutional strategic planning, policy development, and budget oversight to ensure the effective delivery of programs and services in close collaboration with academic affairs and finance and administration. (Biography)