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State of the University Highlights Strategic Vision and Holistic Initiatives

by Paige Dormann May 30, 2024

In an optimistic State of the University address, Father James Greenfield, OSFS ’84, Ed.D., president of DeSales and his cabinet members outlined the University’s ongoing progress in advancing our strategic plan.

“We are trending and doing really well as we compare ourselves to other four-year private institutions,” says Fr. Greenfield. “We want to make sure we continue to show up in the marketplace among peers of reputable stature.”

The strategic plan, Connecting to Our Future, prioritizes Academic Excellence & Innovation, Student Experience, Visibility & Growth, and Stewardship.

Linda Zerbe, vice president for student life, touched upon the myriad ways we have served and will continue to serve our students so that they can thrive personally, academically, and professionally. Two noteworthy advancements in this area will include increasing DEI initiatives on campus and further enhancing mental health programming.

“As you all know, mental health is at a crisis level in college students. We want to be preventative rather than reactionary to prepare for that. We are going to create a wellness initiative focusing on three initiatives which are spiritual, resiliency, and physical health.”

Linda Zerbe, vice president for student life

The address also celebrated the significant community efforts and philanthropic support that have helped DeSales remain successful despite the looming decrease in the number of high school students, or demographic cliff, while allowing us to move forward with exciting plans such as:

  • The transition of DeSales’ academic structure from divisions to a four-college/school model, comprised of the new Kathleen Waterbury and J.B. Reilly School of Business, a College of Arts, Education, and Humanities with a School of Education and a School of Performing Arts, a College of Healthcare Professions with a designated School of Nursing, and a College of Sciences.
  • The opening of O’Connor Commons, slated for late June.
  • Constructing a pedestrian bridge over Preston Lane to serve as a gateway to campus.
  • Launching a new website.
  • Continued cultivation of a Strategic Partner Development program.
  • The establishment of the Allentown Summer Artificial Intelligence Institute for Allentown School District high school students.

Fr. Greenfield concluded with a reflection on DeSales University’s 60th birthday—celebrating the day in 1964 that the state of Pennsylvania granted the school its charter. 

“Sixty years later, I think Father Dooling, Father Gambet, and all of our first faculty members would be proud of where we are today,” says Fr. Greenfield. “Gentleness, humility, gratitude, hospitality, and wisdom–these are the values that make the world a better place. Without DeSales University, the world would not be a good place.”

View a recording of the address on Zoom.