Potter discusses campus and community initiatives
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
Earl H. Potter III discussed a series of initiatives Tuesday that could transform campus and the community.
In his 2008 Convocation Address to faculty, staff and students, St. Cloud State University's president talked about two massive campus construction projects, a diversity task force, a sustainability task force, a welcome students campaign and a development project that promises to link campus and community along Fifth Avenue.
"I can't overstate how important community partnerships are to the work that we're doing," Potter told a Ritsche Auditorium audience of about 800.
"One year ago, in my first convocation address, I said that we would build on our strengths and become a force for transformation," Potter said. "If we do this well, I said, we will attract more public and private support, as well as students who are seeking a solid foundation for their future. Well, we must be doing something right."
Potter displayed architect's drawings for the proposed 100,000 square-foot Integrated Science and Engineering Laboratory Facility (ISELF). The Legislature last spring appropriated $900,000 in planning dollars for ISELF, which would be located west of the Robert H. Wick Science Building. Potter promised a strong push in the 2010 Legislature to get $42 million in construction funding.
Potter also praised the women, men and children who performed a Holocaust memorial oratorio in Germany and France last spring. View a video that captures the power of this historic teaching and learning experience.
The president described the proposed $28.5 million renovation of the National Hockey Center as "an impressive idea" that could transform that facility into a regional events center. The university is committed to raising $22 million to augment the $6.5 million in state funding approved by the 2008 Legislature.
Noting the absence of a true campus diversity plan to promote tolerance and pluralism, Potter announced a Diversity Task Force that will begin work in September. The task force will start by examining every aspect of campus culture and character, he said.
St. Cloud State will pursue sustainability strategies designed to create a "greening of the campus." Potter said a Sustainability Task Force will focus on environmental sustainability in campus operations and the curriculum.
Potter praised university officials for initiating the Welcome Students campaign that involves four area colleges and the business community. Among the campaign's features are 11 welcome billboards along major highways and at key intersections.
The president embraced the 5th Avenue Live development that proposes to combine downtown, the Southside neighborhood, St. Cloud State into a new economic area with the Civic Center, the former Coborn's grocery store property and National Hockey Center as anchors. He credited local attorney Brian Schoenborn, Class of 1992, with launching the development, which Potter said will "connect us aesthetically and physically with our downtown."