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  Albright’s Strategic Plan and 2001-02 Annual Report with Honor Roll of Donors are on the web.
Dr. Henry A. Zimon

Message from the President

A Different Way of Thinking

Sometimes people doing remarkable things take their accomplishments for granted.

In a way, that has happened here at Albright. We’ve been doing something so well and for so long that we needed to be reminded to tell the world about it.

For the past 18 months, Albright has been engaged in focused integrated marketing and branding, which includes better telling the Albright story in an increasingly competitive higher educational arena. In order to do this, we had to put into words what makes Albright different from other small, private liberal arts colleges in the region and the nation.

It was no surprise that what sets Albright apart from other institutions is our willingness to cross boundaries. Our flexible, interdisciplinary curriculum allows our students to create a truly individualized education and to acquire a breadth of experience and perspective that uniquely equips them for life.

While most colleges have some interdisciplinary programs, Albright has led the way for some 40 years in creating interdisciplinary education. We were the first undergraduate psychobiology program in the country, and the first biochemistry program in the region.

In addition, we offer our students the opportunity to combine majors and connect fields of learning in an unparalleled way. Just reading the list of graduates in the Commencement program is an object lesson in flexibility. Last year we counted 143 different combinations of majors — from English/digital media to business/psychology/Spanish.

What was surprising in our marketing work was that our faculty and staff modestly regard this level of overachieving as a way of life, and didn’t think to point it out as something unusual. They are extraordinarily willing to stretch across departments to advise all those students with double and even triple majors!

As we examined these significant aspects of an Albright education, it soon became clear that what we teach at Albright is a different way of thinking; a way that ties together disparate thoughts and ideas into a coherent whole.

The “connecting the disciplines” that typifies an Albright education allows students to think critically about issues, about choices, drawing from, not a single but many disciplines and perspectives. This ability gives our students a substantial, practical edge in the real world. To think critically, in a way uniquely focused and imparted at Albright, provides our students with the capacity they need to positively influence any situation in life. That is powerful!

Powerful in a world where the ability to synthesize multiple perspectives is critical for success. Powerful in a world that grows more and more complex, with global players and higher stakes. Powerful in a world where the ability to discriminate among ideas does not come easily and is often lost in the rush and stress of daily life.

We believe that the very heart of a liberal arts education is an interdisciplinary experience. Even more importantly, we believe that the interdisciplinary approach is the best for our students today and for our graduates of tomorrow. Time and time again our graduates demonstrate or tell us that their ability to think critically, learned through interdisciplinary study, has been a true key to their success after graduation.

We need to sustain and nurture this unique educational experience as we plan for the future. For example, just as science at Albright has always been interdisciplinary, we want our new science facility to become not just a collection of modern science classrooms and laboratories, but an incubator of thought for all the students; a catalytic center that encourages the intersection of the sciences, with places for faculty and students to interact as they share research and instrumentation.

It is an exciting prospect — telling the Albright story in a way that captures the reality of our unique experience for others. But we cannot tell this story alone. We must have your help. We need your help as alumni and friends to help us tell the story; to understand the concept of interdisciplinary study; to embrace and believe in it, perhaps drawing upon your own experience as a student; and, most importantly, to continue to live the idea, the concept of interdisciplinary study as a uniquely Albright attribute.

Henry Zimon
Dr. Henry A. Zimon

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