Annual Report 2009-2010

Annual Report 2009-2010 CoverThe President’s Message

Benjamin Franklin once said, “The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance.” At the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College, we focus on investing in our most important asset, our students. By investing in people, the future is changed forever. As alumni, friends and valued stakeholders, you are making a difference today which will become a ripple effect for tomorrow, one student at a time.

During the 2009-2010 fiscal year, great strides were made on creating a measurable return on our
investment in people. While this annual report includes some examples of the outstanding work of our learners, faculty and staff, there are many, many others. It is very safe to say that the Rio graduates permeate all aspects of the employment landscape of southeastern Ohio and beyond. You will find them in schools, hospitals, power plants, art galleries, businesses, and many other industries. Everyone responsible for these graduates takes the education of these individuals very seriously. We owe it to you and our region to provide the very best possible experience which leads to productive employment and satisfying lives.

I began my journey as president in October 2009. Following are my observations about the great
institution we proudly call Rio Grande.

The Appalachian culture is the basis for the value system of our university and college. Family values are omnipresent in all the work done at Rio; in fact, the institution operates as a closely-knit community of those who watch out for each other. While there are close to 1300 community colleges in the country, there are few where everyone knows their classmates, professors and administrators. There are even fewer with a full residential campus and a university’s full range of services. There are none with a public community college partnering on one campus with a private university, except Rio.

I often walked across the campus during this year and realized that this institution is a major economic driver for the region. If not for Rio, there would be thousands of individuals
in Gallia, Jackson, Meigs, Vinton and surrounding counties without access to higher education within driving distance. In the difficult economy faced during this fiscal year, national
and state leaders reminded us frequently that the way out of a bad economy is an educated workforce. Rio stands ready to serve.

Our identity is a continuous demonstration of Rio’s investment in people. As an open access institution, we provide the gateway to higher education that may otherwise be unavailable to our
students. For those programs with more stringent entry requirements, we do everything possible to assure student success upon acceptance. At the same time, we value the inherent value-added of a liberal arts education. We want to prepare our students for the professions they serve, or those they enter upon graduation. For some, workforce development and liberal arts are
seen as competing forces. The research proves just the opposite.

Albert Einstein wrote, “The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks.” Just as there are intricate details within our arts or fine woodworking projects, the mind too is very complex. It is our job as educators to stretch each mind to its limits, and then open the door to the myriad of new ideas and creativity that emerge.

I recall seeing an email this year from a graduate of the Holzer School of Nursing. She was thanking the director and faculty for preparing her so well for real world experiences. Apparently she was on an airplane when someone experienced pain, the result of a heart attack. If it were not for our graduate, that passenger may not be alive today; the “nurse” credits our program for saving someone’s life through her own training. We clearly invested well in that student, and the dividends are remarkable.

A popular Broadway play, Rent, includes a song which often goes through my
mind when looking at this year in review. The lyrics read:
525,600 minutes, 525,000 moments so dear.
525,600 minutes - how do you measure, measure a year?
In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cups of coffee.
In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife.
In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?
How about love? How about love?
How about love? Measure in love.
Seasons of love.

There is no doubt in mind that our trustees, faculty, staff and administrators give “a lot of love”  to the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College. So too, do our alumni, community members and other stakeholders. I want to thank each of you for investing in all the people aligned with Rio; your time, wisdom and gifts help us measure this year. There is so much more to come in the future; thank you for your continued support and guidance. We look forward to our next year—one we plan to look boldly into the future, creating a transformational strategic plan entitled Decade of Dreams. We hope you will be a part of that dream.

Very best regards,
Barbara Gellman-Danley, Ph.D.