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MONSIGNOR KERR DELIVERS ANNUAL STATE OF THE COLLEGE ADDRESS


8/28/2002

Pittsburgh, August 28--Calling his outlook for the coming year optimistic but realistic, Monsignor William A. Kerr said that he is “bullish on the future of La Roche.” Kerr outlined three key factors for La Roche in the coming year at his annual State of the College address on Thursday, August 22. He told the assembled audience of faculty and staff members that the College needs to focus on enhancing its unique mission, strengthening it academic excellence, and building a solid endowment in the months ahead.

Kerr emphasized that the approach to international education at La Roche is unique and sets the College apart from the hundreds of other private, liberal arts colleges throughout the country. “The College has taken into account the fact that the world is now one neighborhood. And we are realizing that what happens in Bosnia and Rwanda and Afghanistan has meaning for Americans living in Bloomfield, Aliquippa and, of course, Somerset, Pennsylvania,” said Kerr. “The premise of this focus is that if people of different ethnic, religious, cultural, economic, social and national backgrounds cannot learn to live together with each other, they will likely destroy each other. Education can lead to multi-cultural understanding and multi-cultural understanding can lead to peace.”

Noting that this intercultural outreach is “a unique dimension of our life here and a unique dimension of our educational enterprise,” Kerr said that it is a privilege for the La Roche community to bring Americans and others into a collegiate learning experience that will enhance respect each for the other and will promote the kind of understanding among peoples that lessens tensions and diminishes the probabilities of wars and acts of terrorism.

In light of that, he urged the entire College community to “once again embrace the Pacem In Terris program,” and he called on all of the faculty, staff and students to rededicate themselves to the College’s mission of promoting peace and global understanding.

In discussing academic excellence, he pointed to the high quality of the faculty as an example of the progress that the College has made in that area. “Our faculty is as good as any faculty anywhere in the region,” he said, “and one measure of that quality can be found in the satisfaction that our students express.” He noted that La Roche was recently involved in a national survey of freshmen and seniors at colleges and universities throughout the United States. Of the La Roche students who participated, 81percent of freshmen and 75 percent of seniors answered that they would definitely attend La Roche College if they could start over again, with their rate of satisfaction being directly related to their academic experiences.

He added that another measure of the College’s growing academic excellence could be found in the quality of the students who are enrolling, as evidenced by the fact that more than 10 percent of the entering freshmen have combined SAT scores above 1100.

On the final element – endowment – he outlined the efforts that are under way to increase the College’s financial resources. “This College is blessed with its Board of Trustees and the trustees are very, very committed to raising the funds that are needed for this institution.” He added that these efforts will focus on building an endowment that will support the mission and the excellence that are the hallmarks of the College.


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