February 2020

A message from
Dr. Hilary L. Link

February 21, 2020

Dear Members of the Allegheny Community:

Amidst my many other activities and engagements in the past month, I have had the pleasure of convening with colleagues from across higher education in two thought-provoking arenas: the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), whose theme was “Shaping the Future of Higher Education: An Invitation to Lead,” and the annual meeting and advocacy day of the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities (NAICU). I came away from both meetings further energized by the dedicated work of our faculty, staff, and students and reminded of Allegheny’s innovative place in higher education.

While attending a dinner at NAICU, I was fortunate to hear David Epstein, author of Range, speak about the importance of a liberal arts education in training future successful leaders in all fields. For those of you who are not familiar with Epstein’s work, I highly recommend it; Range’s premise is the following: “Generalists often find their path late, and they juggle many interests rather than focusing on one … They’re also more creative, more agile, and able to make connections their more specialized peers can’t see … As experts silo themselves further while computers master more of the skills once reserved for highly focused humans, people who think broadly and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives will increasingly thrive” (italics and emphasis mine).

As we work to strengthen Allegheny’s focus on interdisciplinary thought — achieved through our major/minor requirement in two completely different disciplines — I am encouraged by the increasing public understanding that connecting different approaches and seeing through different lenses are indeed key to future success in solving the large-scale issues confronting our world. I am excited for Allegheny to become an even more prominent leader in championing this type of multi-perspectival approach to problem-solving.

Also at AAC&U, I was proud that Dean of Curriculum and Registrar Ian Binnington and Vice President and Dean of Students April Thompson presented a session discussing the integrative and productive partnership between academic affairs and student life at the College on initiatives, including new student orientation. Ian Binnington also served on a panel about retention with individuals from the Gardner Institute. Our faculty and staff are leaders in their various sectors, and wherever I go I encounter people who are impressed with the quality of our community.

These two gatherings provided me additional occasions to engage with other chief executive officers on a range of pressing issues facing higher education, including demographic challenges and the financial realities of the marketplace. You may have read the recent Inside Higher Ed article about a study on the higher long-term return on investment for graduates of liberal arts colleges. While that financial impact is certainly important, I am grateful for the emphasis that Allegheny has long placed on developing individuals who are committed to success in the workforce and to bettering their communities. We can point to example after example of Allegheny students and alumni who exemplify that philosophy, as well as to faculty and staff who model it.

As always, I want to take the opportunity here to share just a few highlights from the past months on campus:

  • I enjoyed attending events celebrating Martin Luther King Jr. Week, including the MLK Day commUNITY Brunch, the annual Fellowship Dinner, and Pride Night with the IDEAS Center and Allegheny Gator Basketball. My thanks to all who worked to organize these events. You can view photos from them on my website and my Instagram. If you are not currently following me on Instagram and Twitter, I hope you will start doing so — you can find me on both at @presidenthlink!

  • The Board of Trustees met earlier this month for a deep-dive retreat on effective trusteeship and how to best leverage the College’s exciting momentum and trajectory. Rick Legon, former president of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges (AGB), led the board through two intensive days of discussion and engagement.

  • We continue to look forward with excitement to the College achieving climate neutrality in 2020, the result of excellent work by so many people over nearly two decades. I am very pleased to join Trustee Christine Scott Nelson and Presidents Emeriti Richard Cook and Jim Mullen in Atlanta for a plenary session devoted entirely to the extraordinary work Allegheny continues to do in this realm, at the Second Nature Higher Education Climate Leadership Summit on Feb. 23–25. At this session, we will discuss how the College has maintained a commitment to achieving climate neutrality through multiple presidential transitions, making Allegheny a national model!

  • Black History Month programming continues this month with a variety of events sponsored by student organizations. You can view the schedule here.

  • Two Allegheny faculty members recently shared their expertise in stories featured in the Erie news media. You can watch the interviews with Professor Brian Harward on WJET and Professor Becky Dawson on WICU/WSEE. The Allegheny News Center also recently shared stories about Professor Amelia Finaret’s research on the economics of nutrition and Professor Beth Choate’s trip to Israel during winter break. We are excited to share more broadly news about our faculty and their scholarly work in the future.

  • The newly formed Allegheny Pep Band made its debut this semester, performing at men’s and women’s basketball games on three dates. The band was a wonderful addition to the fun and excitement of Gator basketball, and I’m grateful to the students and faculty who brought the band back!

  • For the first time, the Bruce R. Thompson Center for Business and Economics has expanded its Zingale Big Idea Competition to include area residents. Entrepreneur in Residence Chris Allison and I enjoyed our interview with the Meadville Tribune for this article about the competition. And speaking of the Meadville Tribune, I recently also had the opportunity to talk with a reporter about women’s leadership in the workplace, a topic about which I care a great deal.

When I’m not on campus during the next few months, my travels for the College will take me to Georgia, California, Washington State, New York and Dublin. It’s very gratifying to share the Allegheny story with others who might not know much about Allegheny but want to learn more about this remarkable college. It continues to be a great joy to meet with our alumni to hear about their accomplishments and love for their alma mater.


President Hilary L. Link

November 2019

A message from
Dr. Hilary L. Link

November 20, 2019

Dear Members of the Allegheny Community:

The last few weeks have been a busy — and exciting — time on campus. The inauguration celebration was a very special and memorable day for my family and me; I hope it gave you a sense of renewed pride in Allegheny and the place it holds in the national higher education landscape. I am so grateful for your involvement and the warm welcome and hospitality that you extended to the many guests who joined us.

In the past weeks, I also enjoyed meeting the alumni and families who brought their energy, excitement, and Allegheny pride to our Blue & Gold Weekend festivities — including those who wore Gator costumes to the football game! My thanks to all who worked to plan and provide programming for the weekend, which this year for the first time included faculty lectures on a range of topics and an opportunity to visit the new Allegheny Lab for Innovation and Creativity. The alumni and families I spoke with enjoyed every minute of being here on campus, and their enthusiasm only echoed the affection and commitment to Allegheny I have witnessed at various recent alumni events in Washington, D.C., Boston, and Pittsburgh.

I also was delighted to meet and gather with Allegheny alumni and families during a recent trip to Japan and China. We hosted several very successful alumni gatherings, and the Gators we met with were thrilled to be reconnected with their years at the College. At one of those visits, I was intrigued to learn that a student from Japan enrolled at Allegheny in 1884 after becoming acquainted with missionaries who graduated from the College. Nitobe Inazo attended Allegheny briefly and then did graduate work in the U.S. and Germany. He went on to become a noted agricultural economist, author, and diplomat who advocated for Japanese-U.S. understanding. In honor of his achievements, Nitobe was featured on Japan’s 5,000-yen note. It turns out Allegheny has been “global” for almost 150 years!

While in Japan, Provost Ron Cole and I had an enriching experience participating in the Great Lakes Colleges Association-Global Liberal Arts Alliance Leadership Meeting, where we strengthened connections with colleagues from around the world. Finally, I spent two days in Chengdu, China, visiting a wonderful Allegheny family and laying the groundwork for our students to participate in internships hosted by the technology company of an Allegheny parent. I am excited for the College to continue building on all that we already have accomplished as we extend our global reach and provide more opportunities for students to learn, grow, and flourish.

Allegheny’s Continued Leadership in Climate Action

I also wanted to share a brief update about Allegheny’s continued support of, and leadership in, climate action. As you may know, the College is poised to achieve climate neutrality next year, building on two decades of significant campus-wide efforts and commitments to sustainability. All of this progress has been supported by the research, activism, and engagement of our students working alongside faculty and administrators.

In 2017, President Jim Mullen signed the “We Are Still In” declaration committing to continue to pursue climate action ambitiously in support of the international Paris Agreement on Climate Change. You may be aware that the White House recently notified the United Nations that the United States will begin the withdrawal process from the Paris Agreement. Through the non-partisan We Are Still In initiative, I have again joined with presidents from other colleges and universities in offering statements that reaffirm the importance of the Paris Agreement and the continued relevance of climate action to higher education, the nation, and the world. I have included my statement here:

“It is imperative we commit and collaborate globally to find opportunities for creativity, transformation, and growth even as we face the turbulence of a rapidly changing climate. Allegheny College remains steadfastly committed to achieving carbon neutrality in 2020 and modeling to our students and community what it means to be an engaged, ambitious change agent in a diverse, interconnected world.”

For more information, please read this news release issued by Second Nature. Second Nature is the organization that coordinates We Are Still In as well as the Climate Leadership Commitments signed by President Richard Cook in 2007 and the Resilience Commitment signed by President Mullen in 2016. Allegheny’s climate action history, present, and future reinforces our mission to develop responsible citizens — and our distinctive emphasis on interdisciplinary learning and approaches to solving challenging problems.

As we prepare for a very busy time of the semester and the year, I hope that you have an enjoyable and relaxing Thanksgiving Break!

All the best,

Hilary L. Link

August 2019

A message from
Dr. Hilary L. Link

August 21, 2019

Dear Colleagues,

My first eight weeks as Allegheny’s president have been nothing short of exhilarating. Whether you’re new to the College community like me or continuing your Allegheny career, I offer you a warm welcome as we prepare to begin a new academic year.

My family and I have already received such kind greetings from so many in the community, and we are looking forward to getting to know many more of you in the coming weeks. (My youngest son, Zachary, is especially eager to meet Chompers — and has even asked about getting a smaller replica of the costume to wear to athletic events!) We are very excited to explore the region, particularly all of the outdoor opportunities that we can now easily access. As special as Rome and its bustle became to us, we are looking forward to the different pace of life and the close-knit environment of our new home.

I have greatly enjoyed experiencing all of the “firsts” of starting this new role, from visiting the Meadville Market House to attending an ACRoSS summer research presentation last month. I also am very pleased to share another “first” with you — this edition of my presidential newsletter. I will be sending the newsletter to the campus community twice per semester as one of the ways I will provide important updates and feature College achievements.

Capital Improvement Projects Update

This summer has been a very busy one on campus, as several important capital improvement projects in the Allegheny Strategic Action Plan have taken shape in just a few short months. The classroom enhancement project, development of the innovation center in Doane Hall of Art, residence hall renovations, substantial upgrades and additions to athletic facilities, and other projects will enhance the academic and co-curricular experience that we provide for our students. The Bentley Hall project also continues to be on schedule for completion by the end of July 2020. Significant progress has been made on interior removals and design, and work is underway on the exterior of the historic building.

Telling the Allegheny Story

These projects play a supporting role to the extraordinary work of our students, faculty, staff, and every member of this community. As I meet more of you and hear about your experiences, I become even more inspired by the distinctive education that Allegheny provides. We have an outstanding opportunity before us to tell Allegheny’s authentic and powerful story more broadly. We will make it a priority to advance the College’s visibility in the U.S. and the world, conveying the outcomes of our rigorous, research-based and interdisciplinary curriculum as well as the remarkable contributions of Allegheny alumni.

As the world grows in complexity, it needs the creative problem-solvers that Allegheny prepares: multidimensional thinkers who consider different viewpoints, integrate knowledge across disciplines, and collaborate even across vastly different backgrounds and perspectives. The remarkable work that informed the Allegheny Strategic Action Plan has positioned the College to sustain its important mission in a changing world. I am energized by the spirit of innovation and dedication that continues to fuel our positive momentum as a leading liberal arts institution, and I am enthusiastic about our future.

Events to Begin the Fall Semester

The first week of the semester brings a flurry of activities, and I wanted to highlight just a few of them here.

  • Welcome Weekend (August 24–26) includes move-in, the traditional Academic Convocation and Matriculation Ceremony, and many more activities designed to welcome our new first-year and transfer students. I send my thanks to all who are working to make this weekend a successful one.
  • I am thrilled that students have invited me to join them on Thursday, August 29, from 5 to 7 p.m. on the Gator Quad for “Imagine the Possibilities.” This student-planned celebration will feature entertainers from Imagine Circus, and the Student Involvement Fair will take place alongside it. All students are invited to attend, and I hope to see you there for the fun!

My family and I are delighted to be part of this vibrant, diverse, and inclusive community, and we thank you again for the continued warm welcome. Here is to a wonderful new academic year for us all!

All the best,

Hilary L. Link