President Delivers State of the University Address

By | October 25, 2023

President Gary Olson stands at the podium as he deliver his State of the University address.During the fall State of the University address, President Gary A. Olson highlighted a very eventful and productive summer for Daemen University – a summer that helped position the institution for long-term success.

Faculty and staff joined President Olson in the Yurtchuk Social Room for the bi-annual address on Friday, October 20.

The president lauded the newly constructed Saffrin Public Square, a decades-long vision to replace the large parking lot between Duns Scotus Hall and the John Yurtchuk Student Center. The traditional campus quad includes a peace garden with a Ringo Starr ‘Peace & Love’ statue, and features will continue to be added over time.

“Clearly, this project has already been transformational for the university,” Dr. Olson said. “It alters the look and feel of the entire campus, makes the college much more of a traditional pedestrian campus, creates a distinctly safer environment for our students, and substantially enhances our recruitment efforts.”

Daemen University faculty and staff members sit in the Yurtchuk Social Room for the State of the University address. President Olson said the public square culminated a decade-long project to transform the look and feel of the campus in order to make Daemen a more welcoming place for students. Those 10 years also included beautifying campus grounds, renovating major buildings, creating a campus-wide technological infrastructure, improving campus safety, expanding educational offerings, moving to university status, and strengthening the athletics program.

“All of the components were part of an intentional and concerted strategy to make Daemen an especially desirable destination for the smaller and smaller number of college-age students each year that are deciding which institution to enroll in,” added Olson.

Referring to the looming enrollment cliff in higher education, which will see 400,000 fewer college-aged students starting in 2025, the president believes the university is positioned to weather the storm.

Dr. Olson acknowledged the hard work of the university’s enrollment team, who surpassed post-pandemic enrollment goals despite the challenges facing higher education.

Turning attention to the Middle States reaccreditation process, Olson also recognized the hard work and dedication of the faculty and staff members leading the self-study efforts.

Daemen University faculty and staff members sit in the Yurtchuk Social Room for the State of the University address. President Olson ended the address on a lighter note – actor, comedian, and musician Jack Black. Four recent graduates of Daemen’s Animation Program worked with Black, the lead vocalist for Tenacious D, on his most recent music video, Video Games.

“This is a real tribute to those graduates and to our animation program in general. Our students leave Daemen well-prepared to do sophisticated work and are constantly winning national and international awards,” Olson concluded.