The University’s Council of Trustees approved an honorary doctorate and a variety of new academic programs while saying farewell to two members who have completed their terms on the council.
At their June 6 quarterly meeting, the trustees unanimously endorsed University President Geraldine M. Jones’ request to award an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Elmo Natali ’53, whose career as a student-athlete, teacher, coach and administrator at Cal U spanned five decades.
Natali retired in 1992 after serving his last 25 years as vice president for Student Development, now known as Student Affairs.
“(Natali) was called the tone and pulse of the campus for his ability to talk with students and really understand what their problems and issues were,” President Jones said.
“It was also said that his complete dedication to the University made it a better place then, and the place that it is now. It’s appropriate that we honor his wonderful legacy.”
Natali will receive the honorary degree at a small ceremony to be scheduled later this summer.
The trustees also approved a new bachelor’s degree program in molecular biology, pending approval by the Office of the Chancellor for Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education. Trustees also backed the University’s request to convert 10 program concentrations — nine in business, plus one in biology — to major programs of study.
Should the State System approve, nine current business concentrations will become Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degrees in Fall 2018: accounting, interdisciplinary business commerce, economics, finance, human resource management, integrated global business, management, marketing, and management information systems.
Students also will be able to earn a Bachelor of Science in Fisheries and Wildlife Biology, should the Chancellor's Office approve.
“The new molecular biology program addresses important workplace developments in the southwestern Pennsylvania region,” said Dr. Bruce Barnhart, provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs.
“Converting the existing concentrations to majors will strengthen recruiting by making these program more identifiable and visible to both students and employers, especially in the digital realm.”
In other business:
— Fawn Petrosky, associate vice president for finance, presented the annual inspection of facilities report to the trustees.
She noted that Coover Hall’s $10.5 million renovation is on schedule to be completed this winter, and the building should be open for classroom instruction in Fall 2019.
The softball field renovation is on track to be completed by fall. The project includes regrading the field, completing electrical upgrades and installing new dugouts, press box, bleachers, batting cage and warning track.
Trustees also approved new lab fees for courses in art, applied engineering technology, biological science, chemistry, communication design, earth science, health science and physics. The fees will be used to purchase laboratory instrumentation and supplies.
— Dr. Nancy Pinardi, vice president for Student Affairs, had Jamison Roth, director of Recreational Services, report on the success of Cal U’s sports clubs.
This spring, 426 student-athletes played for 24 club teams, including a number that earned national or regional recognition.
Among the highlights: the baseball club’s 22-2 overall record and fifth-place finish at the National Collegiate Baseball Association World Series; the women’s rugby team’s 12th-place finish at the National Small College Rugby Organization’s Women’s 7s National Championship; and five top-40 performances by Archery Club members at the U.S. Intercollegiate Archery Championships.
— In his report on Cal U’s marketing efforts, Barnhart reviewed recent advertising campaigns, including banners placed in the River Lot to promote residence life. Created by A to Z Communications, they use quirky messages (“Your room NEVER needs new brakes”) to encourage commuters to try on-campus housing.
— Tony Mauro, associate vice president for University Development and Alumni Relations, reported that his office has raised nearly $4.5 million in cash donations during fiscal year 2016-2017 and 2017-2018 to date.
He reminded trustees of several alumni events, including Cal U Night at PNC Park on Sept. 7 and the Oct. 12-14 Vulcan Fest, which includes Homecoming festivities.
— The quarterly meeting marked the conclusion of six-year terms served by trustees Michelle M. Mandell ’69 and Robert Miner Jr. ’78. President Jones and trustees chair Annette Ganassi, among others, praised both trustees for their dedication to the University.
The trustees are scheduled to meet again Sept. 19.