Career Connections

Text Alert

Get Connected

Whitney Accomplishments

Responded to budget challenges (2011 and 2012); introduced Responsibility Centered Management

When Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed the new state budget June 30, it came with the news that the 14 state-owned universities will receive 18 percent - or $90 million - less in funding than last year. The funding cut amounts to about $802 less per full-time student.

Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and the universities it governs had held their collective breath since February, when Corbett announced his intent to cut funding by 54 percent. Since then, students, faculty, staff and alumni, along with supporters of higher education, advocated for the funding to be restored. Lawmakers in Harrisburg heard the plea and did restore much of the funding.

With the 18 percent reduction, however, Clarion University students, along with their peers at other state-owned universities, will face a tuition increase of 7.5 percent for 2011-12, PASSHE announced June 30. The tuition increase amounts to $218 per full-time student, per semester. The adopted tuition rate retains the promise by PASSHE leaders that the students and their families would not be asked to shoulder the full burden of replacing the lost funding.

PASSHE's Board of Governors sets tuition rates for the 14 state system schools, while the individual universities determine fees. Clarion University Council of Trustees will meet July 21 to set the fees for programs and services the university offers students, at which time students will know the full cost for the 2011-12 academic year.

With the decreased funding, Clarion is facing a projected budget shortfall of more than $8 million in 2011-12, Clarion University President Karen Whitney said. That number factors in the tuition increase and is based on a projected decrease in enrollment of five percent.

"To be clear, until we know exact numbers of all our revenues, expenses and enrollment for 2011-12, this will continue to be a best guess. We must guess and not wait for the final calculation, because budget decisions must be done in a timely manner to be most effective," she said. 

Clarion University has undergone fiscal reorganization with the implementation of Responsibility Centered Management. RCM divides the operating budget into 12 responsibility centers to aid in generating revenue and managing expenses. Whitney said all responsibility centers will share in the shortfall.

"We will now begin the difficult task of identifying specific areas where we can reduce our budgets to bring them into balance," she said.

Whitney emphasized that it is especially important for Clarion University to focus on its mission and the way that students, teaching, applied research and public engagement count in meeting that mission.

"As we finished the spring semester, we all knew that this would be a difficult summer for our budget," Whitney said. "While we have the privilege of doing what we love to do - teaching, research, public service, as well as offering services, programs and facilities in ways that make Clarion so special - at the same time we are also taking action across the university to increase revenues and decrease expenses."

In 2010, celebrated first observance of Founders’ Day in 2010

Whitney and Seminary Brick
New Clarion University President Karen Whitney will initiate a new tradition September 10 with the first observance of Clarion University Founders' Day. The celebration begins at 1:30 p.m. in the Center for Academic Excellence, Level A, Carlson Library and is free and open to the public. All attending are encouraged to wear Clarion University blue and gold.

Sept. 10, 1867, is the date of the founding of Carrier Seminary, which evolved over the next 143 years into today's Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

"It is most appropriate that we celebrate the courage and conviction which inspired the founding of this great university 143 years ago," said Clarion University President Karen Whitney. "As we move forward in continued service to the commonwealth and to northwestern Pennsylvania, considering our past will help us define our future."

According to the 125th Anniversary History of Clarion University of Pennsylvania by Dr. Samuel Farmarie, in 1865 the Erie Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church was informed of the merits of establishing seminaries to further the endeavors of the church and appropriately observe its centennial. In March 1866, a convention was held in Clarion to initiate the establishment of a seminary. By July, funds had been raised to construct a building. On March 18, 1867, the contributors met to organize a board of trustees.

In 2012, awarded the first joint honorary degrees

Whitney Presents Honorary Degrees
Presentation of first joint honorary degrees to Jane France and
her husband Chris Allison
On May 12 at its 2012 Spring Commencement, Clarion University awarded its first joint honorary degrees to alumna Jane France and her husband Chris Allison. Jane and Chris each received the Doctor of Public Service degree at the 10 a.m. ceremony. As part of his remarks at the morning event, Allison honored his wife, Jane, and her commitment to and love for Clarion University.

Announced change from Venango Campus to Venango College; name change effective July 1, 2012

During the 2011-12 academic year, Clarion University-Venango Campus has celebrated 50 years of growth and community partnerships. As the campus embarks on its next 50 years, it will do so with a new moniker - Venango College of Clarion University of Pennsylvania.

Following a year of discussion within the university and community, Clarion University President Karen Whitney has announced that on July 1, 2012, Venango College will join the three colleges of the Clarion campus - the College of Arts and Sciences, College of Education and Human Services, and College of Business Administration. She made the announcement during the 50th Anniversary Founders Dinner April 26 at Robert W. Rhoades Center, Venango Campus.

Advocated for book center location on Main Street; store will open in July/August 2012

Clarion University will nestle into downtown Clarion when a new retail store, Golden Eagle Landing, opens this summer in the former S&T Bank building on Main Street.

The Main Street location will add to the vitality of the downtown business community, as well as provide an off-campus site where shoppers can find clothing, gifts and more. Golden Eagle Landing is a division of Clarion University Book Center.

The idea developed from the thought that a Main Street store that is all about Clarion University would be good for both the community and the university.

Whitney Interview
Whitney TV interview for Venango Anniversary
"I think people can be apprehensive to come on campus because they are not sure what our book store offers. Additionally, parking and actually knowing our location can be daunting to those not familiar with campus," said Shelly Wilson, business manager of Clarion Student Association, which handles finances for the book store. "When Karen Whitney became president of Clarion University, she expressed a desire to see Clarion University represented when you drive down Main Street. Golden Eagle Landing will provide that presence."

Although the community is very much welcome on campus, the downtown location will provide easier access to Clarion University merchandise and more. Golden Eagle Landing will have inventory different from that of the campus location, and it will include items such as stadium blankets and pom-poms in local high school colors.

"We're going to offer a couple of lines of clothing that don't have any type of design on them. Hurley is one we know we'll offer," Wilson said. "We're going to expand our gift lines and offer some things that aren't at the book center. We're looking at a couple of jewelry lines and a line of crockery. Someone coming in might not want a Clarion University sweatshirt, but they might be interested in a pendant or a phone case."

Tippin and Becht renovations, new natatorium

Three major building projects are on the agenda for Clarion University in 2012.

The university has completed the feasibility study for a new natatorium, which will be attached to the current Student Recreation Center. The Recreation Center will also be renovated to expand the locker room area and add other enhancements to the building. University plans would have initially replaced and expanded the Waldo S. Tippin Gymnasium with a new facility, but the cost of a new building would have surpassed $60 million, exceeding the available funds.

The feasibility review of Tippin additionally found the gymnasium to be in acceptable shape after renovation took place, but the condition of the swimming facility and basement area had deteriorated too much for use in the future. Tippin will continue to house the gymnasium and support facilities, and the new natatorium, which will include offices and classrooms, will be built on to the Student Recreation Center.

Paul Bylaska, vice president for finance and administration, said the funds are allocated through the regular commonwealth capital funding process. For 2012, the capital building funds from the state were cut from $130 million a year to $65 million, to be shared among the 14 schools in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education. The natatorium project was approved before the reduction in funding.

Now that the feasibility study is complete, the actual construction design will begin for the natatorium project and Tippin renovation. Assuming expedient progress on the design, Bylaska expects construction to begin in fall 2013.

The second project is the renovation of Becht Hall. Becht has been used in various ways during its 100-year life span, including as a residence hall, dining hall, and a home for various programs and offices.

Bylaska said the goal is to preserve the historical aspects of Becht, keeping the exterior looking as much as possible like it did originally. Becht features Spanish/French-style architecture with a pantile roof, Spanish gables and light-colored brick. It was last renovated in 1994.

The current renovation is extensive. Clarion will be replacing the building's wood frame with a steel frame, which will support its new functions and is not as susceptible to fire. Even though Becht is currently fully fitted with a sprinkler system, Becht ceased to be used as a residence hall because of the fire risk from its previous wooden structure and supports.

Becht will feature geothermal heat pumps which take advantage of underground geothermal conditions for heating in winter and cooling in summer. Bylaska said the Becht project will be the first introduction of geothermal heat pumps to campus.

When Becht is complete, which Bylaska projects for 2013, it will serve as a Student Success Center. Student service offices, including registration, admissions, financial aid, student billing, career services, housing, orientation, counseling and health services, academic enrichment, disability support services, student identification cards, student meal plans and parking permits, will be located there.

The renovation of Becht and construction of the new natatorium will both be done in accordance with LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification guidelines. Clarion University is committed to building all new structures for LEED certification.