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Gates at the entrance of California University of PennsylvaniaGates at the entrance of California University of Pennsylvania


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Posted on September 12, 2017

Portrait of Cal U President Geraldine Jones.

To all faculty, staff, students and alumni,

I have often said that it takes all of us, working together, to move this University forward. That united effort is beginning to pay off.

At this morning’s Faculty-Staff Convocation, I shared some good news about our University. Here are some highlights: 

•  Enrollment is up: Thanks to a concerted, campuswide effort to recruit and enroll new students, we are experiencing the first increase in our student population since 2011. Although the numbers won’t be finalized until next week, when we reach the official census date, headcounts for freshmen, transfers and graduate students all are higher than last fall, and we anticipate an overall enrollment increase of about 3% compared to fall 2016.

•  The 2016-2017 budget is balanced: Final totals are in for the 2016-2017 fiscal year, and we were able to balance the Education and General (E&G) budget without dipping into the University’s reserves. In fact, we were able to add about $500,000 to both our E&G and Physical Plant fund reserves.

Careful spending in every department, along with higher-than-anticipated revenue from investments and tuition, were among the factors that allowed us to close the year on a positive note. Over the past two years, our University has achieved nearly $7 million in operational savings, and we anticipate a further $2 million in savings during the current academic year.

Looking ahead, we expect to balance the budget for the current fiscal year without using our reserves. And we anticipate no further workforce adjustments in the year ahead.

•  Our Strategic Enrollment Plan is working: We are refreshing the campus visit experience and introducing new academic programs. We’ve optimized scholarship awards and improved the financial aid awarding process. These and other steps outlined in our Strategic Enrollment Plan are beginning to make a difference — and our faculty and staff are collaborating in new ways to provide an exceptional student experience.

•  Renovations are under way: Classes have been relocated while we rejuvenate Coover Hall, which houses our Applied Engineering Technology Department, as well as some art and graphic design courses. We expect to reopen an updated Coover Hall in 2019. In addition, we’ve entered the early planning stages for the science center scheduled to replace Frich and New Science halls. 

Both projects are funded through the state Department of General Services. These improvements support Cal U’s renewed focus on science and technology by providing top-quality classrooms and labs for active, applied learning in STEM-focused skills for students in a variety of majors. 

•  Grant awards have reached new heights: Our faculty and staff were awarded more than $5.4 million in federal, state, private and State System grants last year — a remarkable increase over previous years’ totals. In all, 22 faculty and staff members were engaged in grant writing this year. Two professors, Dr. Thomas Mueller and Dr. Robert Whyte, were added to the select group of Million Dollar Achievers.

I am heartened to see the progress our University has made on so many fronts — and I thank the many faculty, staff and students who have contributed to this success.

There is plenty of work left to do, and we can’t lose focus on our goals. But our University is better today than yesterday — and tomorrow it will be better still. Together, we are making Cal U the very best it can possibly be.

With sincere thanks,

Geraldine Jones

Geraldine M. Jones
University President