In gathering the campus community on April 27, President Gary Olson continued a twice-yearly Daemen tradition, though under a new banner—State of the University.
Olson’s address noted that increased enrollment, campus improvement projects, and other achievements are indicators of Daemen’s progress as the institution embarks on its 75th anniversary year.
Delivered to a standing-room-only crowd in Wick Social Room, the spring edition of the president’s update for faculty, staff and supporters marked the first in-person version of the event since the fall of 2019.
“We are continuing to maintain a great deal of momentum,” Olson said, “and are well into completing another productive and successful academic year.”
Several significant pieces of news were shared with the campus community during the president’s speech, including an update on the Daemen Public Square, otherwise known as the Quad Project.
With comprehensive architectural plans approved by the Town of Amherst, work has started on new parking lots along Getzville Rd.—which will be completed this summer—that will help absorb the loss of spaces replaced by the new park-like space in the center of campus.
“Construction of the actual Daemen Public Square will begin next summer,” Olson told attendees.
Olson also provided an update on the university’s collaboration with the Town of Amherst to develop West Royal Park—located less than two miles from campus—into a turf field and athletics complex for Daemen.
The university has secured a $2.4 million New York State grant toward the $8 million project that will provide Daemen with a 1000-seat stadium and six tennis courts.
He added, “This complex will constitute Daemen’s first true home field in history.”
Turning attention to the proposed Shatkin College of Dentistry—first announced in March—Olson told attendees that construction had started on one of the two buildings associated with the project.
“Directing this gargantuan effort was Provost Brogan, who had the vision of making this new college a reality.”
Daemen’s Diamond Anniversary
Olson called attention to the large banners hanging around campus marking the institution’s 75th anniversary.
To commemorate this milestone, the university has launched a year-long celebration with special emphasis on this year’s Founders Week celebration and the annual scholarship gala—to be held at Jazzboline on Main St.—which will mark the conclusion of Daemen’s first-ever comprehensive campaign: the Drive to 75.
Also during Founders Celebration—slated for late September—Daemen will hold a contest, where the first 75 community members who sign up will have the opportunity to ring Founders Bell during a special ceremony.
The president also mentioned that the university will hold a 75th anniversary-themed student formal dance and a commemorative 75th-themed holiday party at the end of 2022 in the Social Room.
President Olson announced eight faculty who have obtained approval from the Board of Trustees for promotion or tenure.
Laura Watts, an associate professor of Visual and Performing Arts, was granted promotion to professor.
The remaining seven are assistant professors who were granted promotion to associate professor, with tenure: Sarah Latchford, Physician Assistant Studies; Mark Warren, Philosophy and Religious Studies; Meg Artman, English; Vicki Knapp, Applied Behavior Analysis/ Behavioral Science; Sarah Whorley, Natural Sciences; Martha Kershaw, Nursing; Michael Jones, Visual and Performing Arts.
The Daemen Board also approved emeritus status for a recently retired distinguished faculty member who was instrumental in the founding of our Physician Assistant Studies program: Robert Gunther.
“Gunther demonstrated outstanding service to Daemen and to the Department of Natural Sciences,” said Olson, “especially during his 9 years as chair.”
Increasing national and regional visibility
Olson also recounted the many distinctions that have been awarded to the university since his fall then-State of the College address.
“This national visibility helps extend our reach in recruiting top students,” Olson said.
For the 6th consecutive year, Daemen has earned a position in the prestigious Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings; for the 13th consecutive year, Daemen has been named a Military Friendly School by Viqtory Media; and U.S. News and World Report ranked Daemen’s graduate programs in Social Work and Nursing as among the best in the nation.
In his concluding remarks, Olson recognized the dozens of faculty and staff in attendance.
“I want to make clear that all of the success you have just heard about is thanks entirely to you,” said Olson. “You made this possible through your hard work and dedication to the university.”