President Walter Harrison started the new semester with an update on the “State of the University” during the Spring 2017 Faculty/Staff Kickoff on Thursday, Jan 26. Harrison began by reaffirming his belief in the University Values Statement, of which “committed to community” is the central theme.
“The University of Hartford community, in my view, is a righteous community,” Harrison told the crowd in Wilde Auditorium. “That does not mean we are a perfect community. We have, I am sure many faults. But I know that our merits outweigh our faults, primarily I believe because we are a community based on values.”
Harrison talked about the letter he wrote to the campus community after the U.S. presidential election in November. That letter read, in part, “we will continue to recruit a diverse student body, faculty, and staff and provide a community in which they feel safe, supported, and valued.” In that letter, Harrison promised to hold a series of discussions with international students, American students of color, members of the LGBTQ community, and women. He told the faculty and staff that he began holding these discussions and will continue to do so. He hopes to use the discussions to develop concrete actions and policies and to be prepared to react to any changes in national policies that could impact campus.
Harrison also announced that Public Safety will introduce the LiveSafe mobile app in the next few weeks. This app will allow students, faculty, staff, and guests to send anonymous tips, request help, report a maintenance issue, or virtually monitor a friend who is walking on campus to ensure they get home safely.
In addition, Harrison delivered updates on four campus construction projects, the largest of which is the addition to and renovation of the Harrison University Libraries. A ribbon-cutting ceremony is planned for early May, followed by moving Allen Library into its new space. After that, the Allen Library’s current space will be renovated to make room for the Greenberg Center’s new home.
Within a few weeks, a renovation and addition to Gengras Student Union will begin. And the University is very close to completing the fundraising for a renovation of Millard Auditorium in The Hartt School. If approved, that project could begin after Commencement.
Harrison, who is retiring at the end of June, acknowledged that this was his final Faculty/Staff Kickoff.
“These have been the most joyful and most satisfying 19 years of my life,” he said. “In many ways I regret ‘the fullness of time.’ But I know I am leaving this wonderful community in good hands. I look forward to watching the many advances that all of you and [President-Designate] Greg [Woodward] will make here.”