One year ago in this column I wrote about “seeing the future while being waist deep in the present.” We had been almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, dealing with the daily challenges, yet very much focused on our long-term plan, our vision for Albright’s future and our 2030 goal:
In 2030, we envision that Albright will have a national reputation for closing the gap on education for all students of academic promise — for students who earn an affordable and high quality degree with a strong liberal arts foundation, who are prepared to enter the workforce, who experience significant socioeconomic mobility, and who are prepared to hold fulfilling jobs, across all student demographics.
Today, while continuing to deal with the challenges of the ongoing pandemic and ensuring the health of our community, we are making good progress toward our ambitious goal. This progress is toward a future where Albright College stands as a shining example of an institution that educates students of academic promise — students from the middle and working classes — and in which the education and life success of all our students remain the first and most important things we do.
This issue of the Reporter shares with you some of the highlights of the progress we have made and the resulting national recognition of our outstanding academic programs, which you can also read about on our news hub, news.albright.edu, and which include:
• Excellent and distinctive fashion program: Nine fashion alumni and students made their debut on the runway at New York Fashion Week in September in front of a large audience, including more than 80 media outlets. This is a prime example of an excellent and distinctive academic program providing real-world experience — and Albright College was the only undergraduate college with designs on the NYFW runway.
• Responding to student needs for expanded food options: A renovated Jake’s Place, funded by Aramark as part of our partnership, reopened this fall with broadened, popular and healthy food options that are available until midnight.
• Focusing on student success, by putting our student-centered offices in one place: Fundraising and construction continue on the transformation of Gingrich Library into our new Student Success Commons and Library. The Advancement team has raised over $10M toward our $16.5M goal!
Student success is our mission.
• Changing education, as well as expanding and diversifying Albright’s revenue sources: We cut the ribbon on Albright’s Science Research Institute’s temporary space at 11th and Rockland streets, a program that enhances opportunity and full participation in the STEM fields and beyond for middle and high school students across Berks County.
• Opportunity for all students, with increased transfer pathways: An enhanced transfer agreement with Reading Area Community College (RACC) provides direct pathways between the two schools, including scholarship opportunities and one full tuition scholarship, diversifying the pathways to college for students from all backgrounds.
• Supporting student leaders: The Eugene Shirk Scholarship has returned! Shirk Scholarships honor the late Albright math professor and coach Eugene Shirk. First-year Berks County students entering in fall 2022 now have the opportunity to compete for these scholarships.
External organizations are recognizing our excellent programs and good work — Albright ranked #32 in a list of national colleges named Top Performers for Social Mobility by U.S. News and World Report. The Princeton Review, U.S. News and World Report, Washington Monthly, and the Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education have all ranked Albright as a top college this fall.
In addition, our affordability efforts, which include tuition rightsizing, renovation of our financial aid program, Advancing Lives Scholarship program and Lifting Up Lions fund, among others, have not gone unnoticed. LendEDU has named Albright one of the Best Colleges for Financial Aid (#105 in the country and #11 in Pa.), Washington Monthly has named it a Best Bang for the Buck, and College Factual calls Albright one of the Top 3 Best Colleges for the Money in Pennsylvania.
These rankings represent national recognition for what we know we do so very well — provide outstanding academics, along with a commitment to affordability, for students of academic promise, preparing our students for success in life and career. This is what we have long done and what we will continue to do as we make progress toward our 2030 strategic vision.
Thank you for your ongoing support of Albright College. I look forward to seeing each of you on campus or perhaps in your area during this next year.
Jacquelyn S. Fetrow, Ph.D. ’82
President and Professor of
Chemistry and Biochemistry