Contributing Writer

Kicking off the first of the 2012-2013 Common Hour series on Thursday in Mayser Gymnasium, Dan Porterfield, president of the College, spoke about the F&M community’s vision to solidify the College’s standing as a national liberal arts college.

“[It] is a shared vision — not my vision, or any one person’s vision — but, really, everyone’s: that Franklin & Marshall College is about aggressively advancing and enhancing ourselves as a national institution, but is always authentic to our values and our tradition and our identity,” Porterfield said.

He dove into specifics about the ways in which F&M is advancing, mentioning the new programs and initiatives that have been improved upon in the past six months, including but not limited to F&M Admission Network (FAN), F&M Works in Lancaster, and F&M College Prep.

These and other new developments seek to support and inspire students and other members of the college community, providing them with opportunities for personal growth.

“Empowering students to compete for great opportunities during and after college — that’s part of what a national institution does, sustaining your restless culture of striving,” Porterfield said. “Restlessly saying, ‘What more? What new? What now? How better? How different?’”

As a small liberal arts institution, F&M has both the desire and the resources to provide its students with individual help both during and after college, something many large universities are unable to offer their students. The Office of Student & Post-Graduate Development, whose role is to prepare students for their lives and careers beyond college and to provide them with the ability to compete at the highest level for the opportunities they seek, has recently installed one of the most notable changes Porterfield spoke about: its new mission to help young alumni through periods of transition, such as the transition from college life to their first jobs, or from their first jobs to their second jobs, and so on.

Porterfield finished his speech by displaying a picture of a female F&M basketball player levitating in the air, eyes wide, arms extended, reaching out towards a basketball about to go out of play.

In order to reap the benefits of seeing one’s knowledge make a positive change in the world, one has to strive for excellence; like the young woman in the photograph, students must simply identify what it is they want and be willing to be proactive by investing in their own individual merit. Then, with the help of F&M’s newest developments, they can pursue their passions and achieve their goals.

After his remarks, Porterfield responded to questions from students, faculty, and professional staff on topics that included his personal experiences teaching, the size of the student body, and strategic planning for F&M’s future. To read his responses, or for more information on “A Conversation with President Daniel Porterfield,” visit the Common Hour website:

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