The daffodils are starting to sprout, the birds are back in Bluffton’s trees and we are excited for spring to continue to unfold on campus. This issue highlights the spirit of positive energy on campus and a number of ways, among many, that Bluffton is building momentum through academic, athletic and student engagement programs that grow from our enduring mission and values.
As I approach the conclusion of my first academic year, I continue to see examples every day of the way Bluffton’s mission helps our students shape lives of meaning and purpose with the expert guidance of highly committed faculty and staff. Bluffton University’s campus community and their relationship with the surrounding community are among the reasons I am confident we have much to look forward to as we prepare to launch a comprehensive strategic planning process this fall.
I am pleased to share that Bluffton has been reaccredited with no stipulations for ten years by the Higher Learning Commission. Very few institutions are reaccredited without a need for follow-up evaluations, so this is a significant outcome. I am grateful for the outstanding work of the many faculty and staff who helped prepare for the review with the leadership of Dr. Lamar Nisly, our recently appointed vice president for academic affairs.
This issue also marks the removal of Lincoln Hall. This venerable residence hall will be replaced by a new science building at the heart of campus. I appreciate the decades of service Lincoln Hall provided to students, including many of you, and also look forward to moving forward with construction of the Knowlton Science Center, a critical resource for teaching and learning in the natural and health sciences. With over $14 million of the $14.5 million project cost confirmed, we are close to realizing our fundraising goal. We are making progress every day and I am hopeful that with the support of many alumni and friends, we can secure the remaining funds needed and break ground sometime this calendar year.
And of course, I am looking forward to my first May Day and Commencement weekend! I hope that many of you can join me and reconnect with classmates and friends on Bluffton’s beautiful campus.
Jane M. Wood, Ph.D.