Together, We’ve Soared

If you attended Michael Hood’s retirement celebration at the end of May, you heard the testimony and know how fortunate we’ve been to have a dean of Fine Arts who has provided 20 years’ of innovative leadership. But, don’t take my word for it. Ask the scores of donors who invested or reinvested in IUP’s arts programs by endowing a scholarship for students and naming the College of Fine Arts dean’s suite in Michael’s honor. They know how important the arts are to our region and that IUP makes a resounding impact on ensuring we benefit from all they offer.

Worthy of our support, the arts create prosperity—of the heart as well as within the economy. People want to live and work and raise their children in communities that are rich in arts and culture; and so businesses want to be in those places, too. Art, in its many forms, brings us together regardless of our ethnic, religious, or political backgrounds. It enables us to express our values and build understanding. Fundamental to our humanity, the arts inspire goodness and beauty, even in the darkest of times.

Now, let me switch gears.

Perhaps you saw in the news that we received another transformative gift in support of our Imagine Unlimited campaign—this one a $2.8 million gift of software from LMKR, an international petroleum technology company. The Geoscience Department’s need for software came to LMKR’s attention through IUP alumnus Patrick Imbrogno ’78, a Pittsburgh area geologist and owner of GEO-COM, LLC.

LMKR’s Geographix and GVERSETM platform will give our students experience with a tool they can expect to see when they enter the workforce. IUP is now the only university in the Northeast where they can gain that edge. Plus, the gift itself is a great illustration on how universities and industry can partner to keep curricula up to date and ensure that the work place has access to the best prepared young minds.

Situated here, in the heart of western Pennsylvania, atop one of the world’s largest natural gas deposits, IUP must be a leader in ensuring safety as industry responsibly leverages this resource. The software will enable students and faculty members from across disciplines to understand the risks as they master this exploration and production tool.

Seemingly different topics, geological exploration and the arts do, indeed, share an attribute. Both profoundly affect people and communities.

Back in September, my first message of the academic year to you was titled The Year We Soar. Then, I expressed gratitude for your support, which signifies your confidence that our work to empower students for life ripples well beyond Indiana and western Pennsylvania. I thanked you then. I thank you now.

If you have a comment or question, please leave one for me below. We’re always glad to hear from you.

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