Elliot L. Hirshman, Ph.D.

This is my first President's Perspective for Ventures magazine, and I am glad to have this forum to call special attention to the achievements of our talented students, faculty, staff, and alumni as well as the new developments on our campus.

I have had the opportunity to meet many students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents, and community supporters during the past several months and it is my pleasure to share a few reflections about our community. 

Ours is a community focused on the success of our students, putting them first and foremost in all of our efforts. You will hear people relate stories—some as old as the university's founding 70 years ago and others reflecting recent events—of the close-knit community we are and how this makes a difference in the lives of those who have studied and worked here. It was especially heartening to hear from a student who shared that Stevenson aspires to be the friendliest university in the country. This sense of community and caring defines our university.

Coupled to our strength as a community is our ability to provide students with an exceptional college experience and a connection to their career. Time and again, I have heard of faculty and staff whose teaching and mentoring helped prepare an alumnus for their life and career. I have heard of how students' involvement in campus clubs and organizations helped broaden their perspectives and how the coaches of our athletic teams brought out the best in our student-athletes. The creation of lifelong friendships and relationships is a constant in all of these experiences. The picture is clear: We are providing our students with extraordinary experiences that shape their lives, personally and professionally.

Our feature article, "Practical Arts," in this issue of Ventures captures these vital aspects of the Stevenson experience. The story takes a look at how we have structured academic programs in the visual and performing arts to give students an exceptional learning experience, a pathway to career possibilities, and the mentoring that fosters their personal and professional achievements.

You will also read about Stevenson University Online, formerly the School of Graduate and Professional Studies. The name change stems from a strategic initiative to position the school more directly as a leader in online education for working adults and professionals who are seeking the next stage in their professional lives.

As the 2017-2018 academic year progresses, I look forward to meeting many more members of our Stevenson community and learning how the university transformed their lives.