This selection of messages sent by President Daniel R. Porterfield to members of the Franklin & Marshall College community reflects engagement with faculty, professional staff, students, parents and alumni on a wide range of issues of interest to members of the F&M family.
President Porterfield sent this message on April 15, 2014
Dear Members of the F&M Community,
The last few days have brought great sadness and profound expressions of love as many among us have struggled with the news of Elana Stein’s passing.
I would like to thank all of you who have taken the time to reflect upon the needs of Elana’s family and loved ones, or the larger F&M community, during this time of grief.
It was uplifting to witness the presence of more than 100 students, faculty, and professional staff at Elana’s funeral yesterday at Congregation Beth El in Bethesda, Maryland, and to see firsthand the power of our extraordinary student attendance, in particular, to bring some solace to Elana’s family and home community.
The dynamics of grief are complex. No two among us experience loss in the same way. Even as we struggle to make sense of Elana’s untimely death, we also must reflect upon other losses in our lives, or tragedies like the Jewish community center shooting in Kansas City and the terrible bus accident that claimed ten victims last week in California and touched some members of the F&M community personally.
Elana’s close friends are in discussion with Campus Chaplain Susan Minasian about how we might commemorate her life here at F&M -- a gathering in which we hope to include Elana’s loved ones from home.
I encourage each of you to talk with the resources of the campus -- including our counseling staff, college house deans and dons, and chaplain -- if you would like to share feelings about this loss or seek assistance in any way.
In the aftermath of great loss, it is very common to feel the need to do something -- to help others, to heal, to make some kind of meaning.
And, in fact, there is something each of us can do right now, which is to remember that many among us are quietly hurting, and thus to treat each other with kindness and generosity. That simple mindful gesture can be a beautiful way to pay tribute to Elana Stein ’16, a dynamic young woman who enjoyed every blessing except the gift of time.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on April 12, 2014
Dear Members of the F&M Community,
I am deeply saddened to share news of the untimely passing of one of our students, Elana Patrice Stein. A member of the Class of 2016, Elana had been hospitalized at home in Potomac, Maryland, since spring break after developing a severe infection. Doctors had placed her in a medically induced coma, and she died Friday evening of cardiac arrest.
A graduate of Winston Churchill High School in Potomac, Elana was a sociology major at F&M and member of New College House and Alpha Delta Pi sorority. She also performed with the College dance company. I know that she will be greatly missed by her friends, professors, sorority sisters, and classmates.
The College is in close contact with Elana’s parents, Don Stein and Linda Katz, and her close friends on campus, to express our deepest sympathies and extend our support.
Services for Elana will be held this Monday at 10 a.m. at Congregation Beth El, 8215 Old Georgetown Road, in Bethesda, Maryland. The College will be providing buses for those friends who wish to attend and are able. Students should contact their college house dean to secure a space.
A campus commemoration of Elana’s life also is being planned and details of those arrangements will be announced when there is more information. College Chaplain Rev. Susan Minasian will be available to meet with students interested in planning a memorial for Elana tomorrow (Sunday) from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. in New College House.
Students who wish to access the counselor-on-call may do so throughout the weekend via the Department of Public Safety. Rev. Minasian also can be reached via email (firstname.lastname@example.org) or cell 717-380-8284.
In the days to come, I ask that all in the F&M community support one another and keep Elana’s family and loved ones in our thoughts and prayers.
President Porterfield sent this message to faculty and professional staff on March 28, 2014
President Porterfield sent this message on January 20, 2014
This statement was released on December 27, 2013
Franklin & Marshall College rejects the call of the American Studies Association for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. Boycotting colleges and universities based on national affiliation or alleged government transgressions arbitrarily and unfairly penalizes students and faculty. It limits academic freedom, scholarly inquiry and scientific research, cross-cultural discourse, political discussion, the growth of knowledge, and the free exchange of ideas in every field.
Franklin & Marshall will continue to work with Israeli institutions of higher learning, including Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University, where our students have recently studied abroad. Hebrew University and Tel Aviv University stand for academic excellence. Our faculty and students have enjoyed productive collaborations with these distinguished institutions of higher learning and we look forward to continuing these partnerships.
Franklin & Marshall College is not an institutional member of the American Studies Association. We support the rights of members of our community to form and express their own opinions and to participate in professional academic associations.
Daniel R. Porterfield, President
Joseph Karlesky, Provost and Dean of the Faculty
President Porterfield sent this message on December 17, 2013
Dear Members of the Faculty and Professional Staff/Students:
As the semester draws to a close, I am writing to provide a brief update on the process by which the Board of Trustees will evaluate the option of arming F&M’s sworn Public Safety Officers.
The Board will discuss the issue in its February meeting but will not make a final determination at that time. Our Trustees, who have legal and fiduciary responsibility for this decision, feel that the question will require more opportunities for analysis and reflection than any single Board meeting is likely to provide. They also feel, and I agree, that further campus discussion and information-sharing would be beneficial, whatever the ultimate decision.
I will write at the beginning of the semester with a more full report on next steps in the consideration of this important question. However, because we had a number of constructive conversations this fall, I thought you would want to know where the discussion with the Board stands before the campus empties out for the winter break.
Please enjoy the upcoming break, and have a Happy New Year.
President Porterfield sent this message to faculty and professional staff on December 4, 2013
I'm writing to share that the College, recognizing the need to employ an in-house counsel, has appointed an experienced attorney with a strong background in higher education law to serve F&M in this important role.
Pierce Buller, who has served for nine years as Associate General Counsel for the University of Pennsylvania, will join the College March 1, 2014, to provide legal and strategic advice on institutional issues for members of the campus community and the Board of Trustees.
In this day and age, there is extraordinary value to having an in-house legal resource with expertise in higher education law, a deep regard for the culture of a liberal arts college, and the ability to work with all stakeholders of the College on matters big and small. Pierce brings all of these qualities and is an ideal leader to serve as our founding general counsel.
For many years, F&M has received expert legal advice from external law firms, especially the Lancaster firm Barley Snyder. While we will continue this excellent relationship, an increasingly complex legal landscape for colleges requires ongoing coordination and counsel on a wide range of legal issues.
This includes the need for counsel related to issues of labor and employment, employee benefits, student conduct, governance, real estate acquisition, environmental and contract matters, charitable giving, intellectual property, litigation, and compliance with federal laws governing student privacy and Title IX's gender-equity provisions, among other matters.
Pierce will be responsible for ensuring that internal policies and procedures comply with federal and state laws and regulations, and will manage the College's ongoing relationships with external law firms.
This approach undoubtedly will enhance our ability to manage legal risk and will prevent some of the problems that can lead to large legal expenses.
At Penn, Pierce's role included leadership on legal issues related to employment, faculty and staff appointments, governance, admissions, community concerns and institutional policies.
His success at Penn grew from strong roots in higher education. He began his career serving as Assistant Dean of Admission at Hamilton College in Clinton, N.Y., before attaining his law degree at Villanova University School of Law. Prior to arriving as Associate General Counsel at Penn in 2004, he was a partner at the Dilworth Paxson law firm in Philadelphia, where he worked for seven years, often representing institutions of higher education.
Pierce has a unique family connection to F&M; his twin sister graduated in F&M's Class of 1991, while he graduated with honors from Colgate. I hope you'll join me in welcoming Pierce to our community this spring.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message on September 13, 2013, about the campuswide discussion on the question of arming the Department of Public Safety
President Porterfield sent this message to students on August 28, 2013
I hope that the first day of classes has gone well and that you’re excited to make this semester count. I want to extend a special welcome to the newest members of our community and thank the sophomores, juniors, and seniors who have done so much already to make the Class of 2017 and newly arrived transfer students feel welcome.
Yesterday, we held our Convocation which included welcome speeches from Becca Green ’14 and Professor of Sociology Carol Auster, a recent winner of the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation Award for Distinguished Teaching.
It was a distinct honor for us to hear from one of your great forefathers as F&M students, Dr. Henry Wiggins, Jr. ’55 P’91. During this week -- the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington -- it was inspiring to hear from an alum who walked with Dr. King from Selma to Montgomery, and who went on to great eminence in his medical career in Chicago.
Here is a link to a piece Dr. Wiggins wrote in 1965 about the Selma march. I’m sending it to you today, the 50th anniversary of Dr. King’s “I Have a Dream” speech, because the eloquent witness that Dr. Wiggins bore to the Civil Rights movement could provide an inspiring perspective as you create your F&M education and seek to make your impact in the world.
President Porterfield sent this message to faculty and professional staff on August 28, 2013
I’m writing with great personal pleasure to recognize the sustained excellence of two long-serving colleagues, Alan Caniglia and Sam Houser, who have successfully met growing challenges of leadership at F&M over a number of years. I am very pleased to recognize their achievement with enhanced titles and the addition of new responsibilities to their current portfolios.
Alan Caniglia will now serve as Vice President for Planning and Vice Provost, and he will continue to provide invaluable leadership in the Provost’s office during the current transitional year and under our next Provost and Dean of the Faculty. The new title reflects Alan’s successful and growing focus on researching and developing metrics and narratives to support arguments for the great value that F&M provides its students and society. We will restructure some elements of his current work so that he can focus more time on planning and institutional research, which will serve the College well as we enter a campaign and in a time of considerable competitiveness in higher education.
Alan came to F&M in 1982 as a tenure-track hire in Economics, with expertise in the analysis of welfare programs and quantitative methods. His research has spanned issues in benefit-cost analysis, the effects of factors such as educational variation and union membership on earnings inequality, and the depiction and development of economic concepts in literary works. His current research is in the broad area of decision theory. He also is the author of a text, Statistics for Economics: An Intuitive Approach published by HarperCollins in 1992. Alan was appointed the Sigmund M. and Mary B. Hyman Professor of Economics in 1998.
In 1999, Alan joined the administration to reconstitute the Office of Institutional Research and has played important roles in strategic planning, curricular analysis and implementation, the transition to a need-based financial aid program, and enrollment/yield prediction. In 2001, he added the responsibilities of College Registrar to his work, serving in this role until 2006, when he became the Senior Associate Dean of the Faculty and Vice Provost for Planning and Institutional Research. Alan has played a significant role in the financial management of the academic program and facilities, as well as the College's work on the assessment of learning outcomes, alongside our Assessment Fellows. He has also led the group working on issues regarding our U.S. News ranking, served on BPC, and been a member of last year's Strategic Initiatives Steering Committee. I am very pleased that Alan will continue to build on this vital work as Vice President for Planning and Vice Provost.
Sam Houser’s new title will be Vice President for Strategic Initiatives and Chief of Staff. In this role, he will continue to coordinate among senior colleagues, helping to lead senior administrative searches, and ensuring that the perspectives of faculty, students, professional staff, Trustees, and other constituents are brought to bear in appropriate ways on College decisions. His new responsibilities will encompass policy and outreach related to the federal, state and local government and the Lancaster Community more broadly. This is a body of work that has been underdeveloped since the departure from F&M of Keith Orris ’81, and there is considerable opportunity for us to build stronger strategies in these areas.
Sam is a 1989 graduate of F&M, who earned a Ph.D. in Classical Philology from Brown University. He returned to F&M in 1996 to teach in the Classics department, where he remained until becoming Director of Corporate and Foundation Relations in 2004. In that role, he helped F&M win a series of institutional grants, including a Kresge Foundation challenge grant for the life sciences and philosophy campaign and a grant to create our college advising program for rural Pennsylvania high schools through the National College Advising Corps. In 2007, Sam became Executive Assistant to the President and the Secretary of the College. In that role, Sam supported President Fry in his communications, strategic projects, and fundraising work, and work with the Board of Trustees.
When I joined F&M, I asked Sam to serve as my Chief of Staff and continue his work as Secretary of the College. Since then, Sam has overseen the recruitment of a new senior leadership team, supported our strategic positioning initiative, led the work of the strategic planning steering committee, and supported the work of the Board of Trustees. He has also continued to teach Greek and Latin for the classics department, and just this year assumed responsibility for the Rouse Scholars program when Kent Trachte left F&M to become President of Lycoming College. In addition to his work at Franklin & Marshall, Sam has served on the Boards of local organizations, including the Fulton Theater. He currently is Chair of the Board of Directors of the Millport Conservancy and serves on the Board of Trustees of Wilson College, where he chairs the Enrollment and Student Life Committee and sits on the Executive Committee.
I hope that you will all join me in congratulating Alan and Sam on their new responsibilities and in thanking them for their dedicated service to the College over so many years.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message to faculty and professional staff on August 26, 2013
As we start the new academic year, I write to welcome you back from what I hope was a productive and energizing summer. I look forward to seeing you as the Class of 2017 and our transfer students formally enter our learning community tomorrow at the Convocation Ceremony held at 10:00 a.m. on the Manning Alumni Green, in front of Old Main. We are watching the weather forecast closely, and if it is determined that that the Ceremony should be moved indoors, you’ll receive an e-mail notification from Debbie Martin.
I extend my warmest thanks to all those faculty and professional staff who have worked so hard to welcome our new students to our campus community in recent days. This first-year class is among the strongest and most diverse in F&M’s history, with 609 members drawn from 32 states, the District of Columbia and 27 countries.
In the coming days, please join me in welcoming 25 visiting and 10 tenure-track faculty members to our learning community. Our new tenure-track colleagues bring expertise in areas from marine biodiversity to the international reverberations of government spending and tax policies to the status of girls worldwide—we are delighted to add these outstanding educators to our distinguished faculty.
We’ve also welcomed outstanding new professional staff in recent months, including Dean of the College Margaret Hazlett, who joined F&M in July. It has been a pleasure to see her convening her staff, meeting many members of our community and, over the past few days, welcoming our new students and their families to campus. You will receive an e-mail from Margaret soon outlining some of the interim structures for student services that she has put in place during her first weeks on the job. I look forward to hearing her share her vision for the future of student and campus life at a range of faculty and professional staff meetings in the coming months.
I hope that you plan to join Karen and me at our home for a reception honoring these and all new members of the faculty and professional staff on Tuesday, September 3 from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m.
I am grateful to the many faculty colleagues who taught courses or mentored our students in hands-on research projects this summer. Thirty-one faculty taught roughly 200 of our students this summer, including those in eight travel courses and field experiences in Ecuador, England, Italy, Japan, and South Africa. In addition, more than 100 students undertook research with 55 faculty with support from the Hackman program, our Howard Hughes Medical Institute grant and other funding sources. I had a chance to talk with many of the students on campus throughout the summer and know how much they value these opportunities to delve deeply into a field of study with the guidance of experienced scholars.
I am proud that 12 F&M students contributed roughly 3,900 hours of service to organizations in Lancaster, coordinated by the Ware Institute for Civic Engagement. I am also appreciative of the 12 faculty and professional staff colleagues who collaborated with the Dean of the College’s office, 15 current students, and recent graduates in providing a three-week college preparatory program for 71 talented, rising high-school seniors from underserved communities from all across the country. This year’s program participants included students from McCaskey High School, the rural Pennsylvania schools served by the National College Advising Corps, and partner programs in urban areas from Philadelphia to San Francisco and from New York to New Orleans. I am pleased that 12 students who participated in the 2012 F&M College Prep program are members of the Class of 2017.
Looking to the year ahead, the faculty is undertaking collective work in several key areas. This year, recognizing the importance of the Faculty Center to the vibrancy of intellectual life among the faculty, I designated the New President’s Grant F&M received from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch the Center this year under the leadership of Interim Director Mary Ann Levine and Associate Director Carol DeWet. In addition, the Governance Review Task Force will continue its evaluation of our shared governance, we are preparing to implement the new Connections general education curriculum, a group of colleagues is exploring how we might enhance the effectiveness of pre-major advising, and a summer working group on teaching and information technology will distribute its report to faculty during the fall semester.
President Porterfield sent this message on July 18, 2013
Dear Members of the Franklin & Marshall Community:
As of July 1, there have been two important changes to the administration that I would like to share with you.
Some of you have already met our new Dean of the College, Margaret Hazlett. Margaret comes to Franklin & Marshall after serving with distinction in the Student Affairs Office of Bowdoin College since 1997. Most recently, she was Senior Associate Dean of Student Affairs. In that role, she oversaw a variety of offices and functions, including pre-major advising, student orientation, multicultural student programs, the Judicial Board and the Sexual Misconduct Board processes. She also supervised Bowdoin’s Health Center, Counseling Services and Children’s Center, and coordinated the Student Emergency Response Team. Margaret has a strong commitment to liberal arts education and the forging of healthy and respectful communities. She will be an invaluable partner to all of us who teach and mentor our students and strive to help Franklin & Marshall thrive intellectually on their behalf. She shone among a pool of very strong candidates for our Dean of the College position, and we are truly fortunate to welcome her to F&M and her family to Lancaster. Margaret is a graduate of Princeton University, where she majored in Art History, and holds a Master’s degree from Harvard University. Before joining Bowdoin, she had held positions at Princeton-in-Asia and had been Assistant Master of Rockefeller College at Princeton. She has also taught history and directed summer programs at an independent school in northern Virginia.
My second note is a re-introduction of someone already known well at the College. On July 1, Joseph Karlesky, Kunkel Professor of Government, assumed the role of Interim Provost and Dean of the Faculty. Joe will hold this position until we have recruited a new Provost and Dean of the Faculty who we expect to join our community on or around July 1, 2014. Joe graciously agreed to be our interim chief academic officer and one of the College’s strategic leaders after discussing the role with the Interim Provost Advisory Committee and with me last year. His knowledge of Franklin & Marshall’s history, academic values and culture will benefit our community in countless ways. I am confident the institution will be stronger for his leadership and that the Provost and Dean of the College position will be even more attractive to potential candidates because of Joe’s service.
At the beginning of the academic year, we will hold a reception to welcome and thank Margaret and Joe for taking on their respective responsibilities. Please feel free to introduce yourself to Margaret and to thank Joe when you are in Old Main. Margaret occupies the Dean of the College’s Office, and Joe will be using the Provost’s Office this year.
Thank you for your contributions to the F&M community in the 2013-2014 academic year. I hope you are having a good summer.
All the best,
President Porterfield sent this message to faculty and professional staff on July 2, 2013
Dear Members of the Faculty and Professional Staff:
I am writing to let you know that former Trustee and former U.S. Representative, Rev. William H. Gray III, L.L.D. ‘63 died suddenly yesterday while in London to enjoy tennis at Wimbledon with his son. Bill was Chairman Emeritus of Gray Global Advisers, a business and government consulting firm. Prior to founding Gray Global Advisers, he was President and Chief Executive Officer of the United Negro College Fund. Bill was a pillar of the Philadelphia community, a dedicated public servant, a Baptist preacher, and an inspirational mentor and friend to generations of African-American leaders. In his devotion to his fellow men and women and to the good of the country, Bill exemplified the Franklin & Marshall ethos of excellence and human flourishing through service.
At Franklin & Marshall, Bill’s legacy includes the William H. Gray, Jr. Scholarship Program, which Bill established in 1990 in his father’s name to provide financial aid to students from southeastern Pennsylvania. The College also created the Gray Scholars program in Bill’s honor to provide need-based financial aid to Franklin & Marshall students from backgrounds typically underrepresented in higher education. In addition to financial aid, Gray Scholars receive special opportunities for leadership development and support for activities that cultivate their character while nourishing their intellectual gifts.
Franklin & Marshall was fortunate to benefit from Bill’s leadership while he served as Trustee in the years 2004-2012, after an earlier term of service that started in 1986. During his tenure on the Franklin & Marshall Board, Bill served on several committees, including Trusteeship, Communications and Quality of Campus Life. He also participated in the College’s Forums on Presidential Politics in 2008 and 2012 where he was joined by Trustees Ken Duberstein ’65, P’09, P’12, Ken Mehlman ‘88 and Stan Brand ‘70 in a series of vigorous and stimulating discussions that showcased Franklin & Marshall College’s contributions to public life through our alumni.
Bill, like many of our alumni active in public life, was a protégé of the legendary late Government Professor Sid Wise. Their relationship is the source of an anecdote that sheds light on the good humor of both men. On Sid’s advice, Bill took an internship with his local Congressman, whom Bill subsequently unseated in an election. Upon being elected, Bill sought Sid’s counsel about his new responsibilities—to which Sid replied that Bill should never hire interns. Fortunately, Bill found ways to support and mentor new generations of leaders growing up after him, particularly in the African-American community.
You can read about Bill’s distinguished career in public life and his long and steadfast service to Philadelphia and the world at:
When arrangements for a memorial service are made public, the President’s Office will share them.
I know you join me in expressing heartfelt sympathy to Bill’s wife, Andrea, and sons Andrew, Justin and William IV, as well as his many friends. He was a remarkable man, both humble and strong, and the world is a better place for his work in it. We are grateful for his life and will miss him deeply.