At Commencement we rush to bestow the last bits of wisdom we can upon graduates before they venture
into the world. “Be proud,” we tell them. “Make an impact. Follow your dreams.”
At this time of year I can’t help but adding another: Acknowledge your accomplishments.
As our graduates leave the stage to rush headlong into the world, toward newly minted careers or perhaps another round of higher education, it’s easy to quickly forget the steps they took to get onto the stage in the first place. Who can blame them? So many of us hurry to tackle the next big thing. And while this drive is admirable—critical, even, to success –we too often neglect to give proper consideration to what’s already been mastered.
The University’s recent accomplishments deserve a moment of consideration, too, before we continue to work toward new levels of excellence. In the past year at the School of Engineering (SOE), for instance, our students won all of the awards for graduate research at the last regional American Society of Engineering Education’s annual conference—an unprecedented milestone, never reached before by any other institution. Our students’ success testifies to their innovative talents, the quality of their work, and their dedication – and to the ability of their supervisors as well. Teams of SOE students and faculty are working every day on cutting-edge ventures, such as the effort to develop a miniature model capable of flying 250 miles per hour while communicating with operators on the ground. They’re also building small robotic devices designed to can accomplish a variety of tasks when combined. New funding from the Connecticut Space Grant Consortium is fueling various ventures, too. In fact, the Space Grant Consortium just awarded its annual Campus Director of the Year award to mechanical engineering professor Jani Pallis for increasing UB’s participation in these important ventures with our national space agency. (See “Faculty Lines”)
Others are noticing these accomplishments—and they continue to approach UB to forge new partnerships. At the Shintaro Akatsu School of Design, students and their supervising adviser, Professor John Kandalaft, were recently tapped by a local developer to create a new generation of urban apartments for downtown Bridgeport (see “Sliding Doors” on page 22). SASD seniors Kevin Corrado, Kazuha Canak, and Jacob Cummings recently won top awards from Connecticut Art Directors Club.
Our Health Sciences programs continue to reap success. In May, after completing a grueling two-year program that prepares them to serve on the frontlines of health care, the first class graduated from UB’s Physician Assistant Institute. Meanwhile, patients in Connecticut named our Acupuncture Clinic the best in Fairfield County—the first time ever that a university-based clinic has won the award. (For more, see “And the winner is . . . “).
These successes inspire us to accomplish more, and additional changes are on the horizon. As I write, the School of Business is upgrading more classrooms with advanced technology and is hiring additional faculty. This fall, the Business School will begin offering online courses and weekend courses on the Bridgeport campus to increase our flexibility in serving working professionals. Business School Dean Lloyd Gibson is leading the faculty in updating its graduate business curriculum, too. I look forward to these changes, but in the interim, I hope you will join me in applauding what we’ve mastered to date.