Jennifer D. Wade Journal

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Blog posts September 2012

Bring Me Some Higher Ed

Earlier this month, I had the privilege of representing my alma mater, JUNIATA COLLEGE, at the installation of WILKES UNIVERSITY's new president, DR. PATRICK LEAHY. I put on a cap and gown for the first time since my own graduation nearly 25 years ago. The ceremony featured much pomp and circumstance, including speeches and original musical compositions which reflected the theme of "Looking back with pride, looking forward with confidence." The official news release is HERE.

THIS page includes links to videos of the entire ceremony, but here's Dr. Leahy's speech if you'd like to see it.

Dr. Leahy's own educational background includes a Bachelor's in English Literature and post-graduate degrees in business and, of course, education. In short, he knows the value of a liberal arts education (his speech contained multiple references to Shakespeare!), but he also has the skills to look at higher education as a business. It's a business which he believes needs a new model.

Dr. Leahy mentioned that the cost of a higher education has risen at a higher rate over the past 25 years or so than the cost of anything else, including gasoline and health care. He says that model of ever-increasing tuition cannot be sustained in today's economic climate. Translation: many colleges and universities are in danger of pricing themselves out of existence.

He's also aware of another challenge that Wilkes faces. The university draws a good portion of its students from northeast Pennsylvania, and the region's population is shrinking. So, he says, the university must expand its recruiting base. That means that Wilkes will likely start competing for students from, for example, the same areas in western and central PA targeted by Juniata. And, don't forget, that Pennsylvania has a lot of liberal arts colleges already competing for students in overlapping areas.

Before coming to Wilkes, Dr. Leahy made a name for himself at the University of Scranton, where he spearheaded a major fundraising campaign that surpassed its goal about two years ahead of schedule. I don't think it was any accident that that achievement was pretty much the first thing the Trustee representative mentioned in her welcoming speech during the installation ceremony.

But, Dr. Leahy also emphasized his plan to promote the unique aspects of Wilkes as a way of attracting students. And, he wants to, as mentioned before, expand the university's reach - not only in terms of recruiting, but in terms of access - i.e. potential branch campuses and online courses. I recall him saying that if Harvard is offering online courses for free (I think he must have meant THIS), what does that mean for the rest of (colleges and universities)?

Overall, my big takeaway from the installation was the impression that similar institutions, including Juniata, better up their game because here comes Pat Leahy and Wilkes.

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Still Sandusky

I'm still here! Longer than usual between posts, but I'm back.

There has been some Sandusky news lately, so let's just get that out of the way, shall we?

Earlier today, September 21, transcripts from Sandusky's trial were posted online, along with the transcript of a motion to withdraw filed by Sandusky's attorneys just before jury selection began. You can read the documents (there are 16 of them) HERE. Just look for the ones dated 9/21/12. I haven't read them, but MEDIA REPORTS indicate that Sandusky's attorneys were counting on Sandusky to testify in his own defense. But, after Sandusky's adopted son, Matt, came forward and said he was prepared to testify that Sandusky had abused him, Sandusky opted not to take the stand and his lawyers were left, basically, defenseless.

Earlier this week, the judge set Sandusky's sentencing for Tuesday, October 9, in Centre County Court. Immediately before sentencing, there will be a hearing to determine whether Sandusky should be classified as a Sexually Violent Predator. I'm guessing the determination will be "yes." Then, after that, he'll be sentenced. Word is that several of the victims will read statements, and that Sandusky will also read a statement. I think he could face a maximum of 400+ years in prison. Don't know if the judge will give him the max, but even a sentence of 20 -30 years will pretty much guarantee that Sandusky spends the rest of his life behind bars.

The most recent issue of THE NEW YORKER features an article about Sandusky by MALCOLM GLADWELL. You can read the article HERE. The gist of it is that Sandusky was a sly and calculating pedophile who fooled a lot of people by cultivating his goofball image. The article cites the Freeh Report, but generally views Paterno, Curley, Schultz and Spanier with more sympathy than they received in the report.

And then there's THIS story which appeared just this week in the NEW YORK DAILY NEWS. The article cites an email from a self-described former child prostitute who links Sandusky to an alleged pedophile ring that operated in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. The (now) man said he met Sandusky at a Second Mile fundraiser in 1979. He says he was supposed to have sex with Sandusky, but the schedule prevented that from happening, Instead, he says, he had sex with another man at the fundraiser, the coach at a NY prep school.

As far as I know, this is the first time Sandusky has been linked to any kind of a pedophile ring. Up until now, it appeared that he had operated on his own.

(Update 9/22/12 at 9:30am)

I neglected to mention a couple of other Sandusky-related updates from the past week. One is that Victim#1, the teenager from Clinton County who went to authorities and got the investigative ball rolling, has written a BOOK. It's due out sometime in October, most likely after Sandusky's sentencing. As part of the publicity for the book, he'll do an interview with ABC News. Details of the interview, including the air date, are still being worked out.

And, finally, (I think), Penn State has lawyered up. According to THIS article from Reuters, the university has hired a top law firm to negotiate settlements with Sandusky's victims - by the end of the year, if possible. The news release from Penn State is HERE.

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