President Olson Delivers State of the University Address

By | May 2, 2023

Daemen University President Dr. Gary A. Olson emphasized at the spring State of the University address on April 28 that despite some challenges, it’s been a very productive year.

President Olson pointed to the deadly blizzard that hit Western New York in December. The storm knocked out power to most of the campus and caused a pipe to burst on the third floor of Duns Scotus Hall.

“This damage was concentrated primarily on the first and second floors, but affected almost every area,” Olson explained. “This was a potential disaster because Duns Scotus is home to the preponderance of our classrooms and administrative offices.”

But the President said the Emergency Response Team (ERT) devised a plan for asbestos abatement, clean-up, and renovation that allowed the semester to start on time.

“Amazingly, five weeks to the day from our power outage and the resulting pipe burst, the building was reopened for business in time for the first day of classes the very next day,” Olson said.

The high price costs associated with the clean-up came at a time when Daemen was already working with a stressed budget, leading the university to institute a spending freeze.

Despite the financial strain, Olson announced that all indications are the institution will end the year with a balanced budget without any furloughs or other personnel changes. He also said it’s a top priority to try and offer a raise this year.

In his address, President Olson cited the $1.5 million dollar grant Foundation 214 awarded to Daemen to support military-aligned and veteran students. The funding will allow the university to create a new Accelerated Business Online Veteran Education (ABOVE) program, and an expedited online bachelors degree program in Business Administration. With this, students will also receive academic advising, career coaching, mental health counseling, and professional development workshops.

“In recognition of Foundation 214’s generosity, Daemen will name our school of business The Alfiero School of Business after the Alfiero family who created Foundation 214,” Olson said.

Olson also announced the accreditation process for the College of Dentistry is moving forward with the New York State Education Department advancing the proposal to the Executive Secretary. An accreditor is scheduled to visit campus in September.

The President noted Daemen received approval from the Amherst Planning Board to construct a replacement parking lot. It’s a move that paves the way for construction of the Daemen Public Square to begin in late-May; the project is fully funded by donors and corporate partners.

In conclusion, Olson said, “So as you can see, despite the monumental challenges of preparing to open for the spring semester, we adapted and have been having yet another successful and rewarding year.”