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Living in “Interesting Times”
One blessing of being human is that we are not
physically able to sustain any emotion for long. I do
not mean to make light of the anxiety that just about
everyone is feeling in these uncertain times, but a
steady dose of crisis headlines creates its own kind
of anesthesia—we tend to block out the latest bad
news, but it’s easy to overlook good news as well.
I recently received a most encouraging note from
a senior expressing her gratitude for having been our
guest for dinner. She wrote, “I have enjoyed every
minute of my four years at Albright!” Even allowing
for a measure of hyperbole, it’s awfully good to know
that we will soon be sending this bright and personable young woman out with a very fine education
and a heart full of gratitude for her Albright experience.
In this age of uncertainty, such encouragement
is more welcome than ever.
The results of a recent survey on the importance
and affordability of higher education contain more
good news, but also some bad news for all who care
about making college accessible.
The good news is the growing recognition that
a college degree is more important than ever. The
bad news is that a steady drumbeat of misleading
stories in the media has convinced a growing
number of folks that college is beyond their reach.
The truth is that college is more affordable than the
survey suggests—and the growing number and
diversity of high school graduates pursuing a bachelor’s
degree supports this. At Albright, about 25
percent of our students are the first in their families
to attend college, and many of our students come
from families of modest means. The average family
income of our students who receive need-based aid
is just over $75,000.
Thanks in large part to the media’s fascination
with the biggest tuitions it can cite, many families
don’t realize that the published tuition (or “sticker”
price) is not what most students pay. Private colleges
and universities provide generous amounts of financial
aid, making college much more accessible than
families may think. At Albright, fully 95 percent of
students receive some kind of aid from the College.
Some of this is in the form of loans and work-study,
to be sure, but we are providing nearly $20 million in institutional grant aid to our students this year. Our
average institutional grant is $12,317, reducing the
posted tuition by more than 40 percent.
Although it’s true that our tuition has increased
over the years, our financial aid budget has also
increased and more than kept pace. In fact, over
the past five years, the rate of increase in aid has
exceeded the rate of increase in tuition by four full
In these challenging times, Albright continues to
work hard to keep our costs down. For 2009-2010,
Albright’s price increase will be 2.9 percent, well
below the rate of inflation. This means that faculty
and staff will forgo any salary increases next year,
and will be working to cut expenses and keep our
budget balanced. In spite of this, I am delighted
by the response to our employee campaign for The
Fund for Albright. The campaign is still in progress
as I write, but we have already set a new record for
participation, with many departments already at
100 percent! Like growing numbers of alumni and
other friends, our employees understand that The
Fund for Albright is a direct investment in making
Albright more affordable for our students.
We are also delighted that growing numbers
of students, parents and employers recognize that
a college degree is essential to success. Now we
want them to know that colleges and universities
are working hard to make it possible.
Lex O. McMillan III, Ph.D.
Two New Trustees Appointed to Board
Nanette F. Cutrona ’74 and The Reverend Lorina Marshall-Blake were recently
appointed to the Albright College Board of Trustees. They will both serve
Nanette Cutrona and husband Salvatore M. Cutrona Sr., former
chair of the board, have been generous donors to Albright College
as well as to other nonprofits in Berks County. In May 2008 the
College dedicated the Cutrona Gateway, which pays tribute to
the volunteers who have served as trustees of the College and recognizes the
international members of Albright’s community.
Cutrona received a bachelor’s degree in French from Albright in 1974. She
was also instrumental in launching Boscov’s corporate travel program and spent
22 years in the travel industry.
As an Albright volunteer, she served on the National Advisory Council for
Education and was a member of the Annual Fund Executive Committee.
Nanette and Sal Cutrona have two children: Dante, 27, and Salvatore Jr., 22.
The Reverend Lorina Marshall-Blake is vice president of
government relations for Independence Blue Cross and has 35
years of experience in corporate management, public relations
and communications. She serves as an associate minister and is a member of the board of trustees at Vine Memorial Baptist Church
in Philadelphia. She is also a registered lobbyist in Pennsylvania, New
Jersey, Delaware and Washington, D.C.
Marshall-Blake is affiliated with more than 30 professional and
civic organizations, including the United Negro College Fund, Greater
Philadelphia Chamber of Commerce, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association
Federal Affairs Committee and the Governor’s Advisory Committee on
She has been named The Philadelphia Tribune’s Most Influential African
-American every year since 2005, and Talk Magazine named her the Most
Influential African-American in the State of Pennsylvania in 2008. She received
an honorary doctor of humanities degree from Albright in May 2007.
Marshall-Blake is a graduate of Antioch College, where she received
a bachelor’s degree in human services. She received a master’s degree
in government policy from the University of Pennsylvania, and is
presently studying at the Palmer Theological Seminary in the master of
She and her husband, Joseph Patrick Blake, have three children,
Julian, Chawnda and Jamila; and one grandchild, Jamile.
New Arts Administration Program
Beginning in fall 2009, Albright College will offer a program in arts administration
through the departments of art, music and theatre, and economics
and business. The program is one of the first undergraduate programs of its
kind in the region.
In this program, the student will learn about the inner workings of different
types of arts organizations, including theatre, dance, music and visual
arts, and how to engage both artists and audiences. Students will explore
the unique opportunities and challenges that come with managing an arts
Program courses will address making art, the history of art, and how
business principles can be used in the arts. An internship is also a requirement.
Opportunities with local organizations such as The Goggleworks, Reading
Public Museum, and Berks County Arts Council, as well as with summer
theatres, music venues, galleries and museums outside of Berks County, are
Arts administrators are a primary link between the arts and the community.
They must be able to communicate the importance of the arts to a
community and share that information with their audiences.
The first course to be offered as part of the program, “Introduction to Arts
Administration,” is being taught for the first time this spring. Matt Kopans, director
of the Center for the Arts, is the course instructor. Kopans said, “In keeping
with Albright’s mission to foster a lifetime of service in its students, the arts
administration program will give students the tools to help bring the arts to their
Provost Andrea Chapdelaine added, “Albright’s art, theatre, music, and
economics and business programs are of the highest quality. Providing students
the opportunity to learn the administrative aspects of the arts will be an excellent
complement to these programs. The internship program helps achieve our
strategic goals of experiential learning and enhanced outreach to the greater
Reading community, while the strong collaboration of academic departments
within this program reflects Albright’s commitment to interdisciplinarity and
integrative learning. ”
Tenure and Promotions Awarded to Faculty
At the February meeting of the Board of Trustees, five faculty members
were promoted and/or awarded tenure. Congratulations to the following:
Guill aume de Syon, Ph.D., history, and Kristen Woodward, M.F.A.,
art, were promoted to professor. Fouad Kalouche, Ph.D., philosophy;
Kennon Rice, Ph.D., sociology; and Gerald Ronning , Ph.D., history,
were promoted to associate professor and granted tenure.