President's Newsletter

December 2023

Dear Juniata Community, 

What a tremendous month we’ve had! Our campus has been ablaze with community pride—from cheering our Women’s Volleyball team’s back-to-back National Championship win, joining in the collective effort to recreate the 1963 Book Move in preparation for the January 16, 2024, opening of Statton Learning Commons, and gathering to celebrate cherished traditions like Madrigal.

As we approach the conclusion of this fall semester, I also want to share with you that I will be on sabbatical next semester. While it is a welcome opportunity for some personal renewal after 10.5 years as your president, I will also be visiting and studying some of the best liberal arts colleges in the country to better learn how Juniata might continue to evolve and meet the demands of a rapidly changing higher education environment. Furthermore, with a new strategic plan now in place, an emerging campus master planning process being launched, our next campaign in motion, and the celebration of our sesquicentennial in 2026, the Board also extended my contract through 2029 to support the success of these important institutional priorities. Jennifer and I are grateful to the Board of Trustees for their continued confidence and we look forward to staying committed to the mission of this extraordinary place.

I am also grateful to Provost Lauren Bowen who will serve as acting president while I am on sabbatical. She has skillfully led the faculty and all of academic affairs for nearly 10 years; I am confident in her ability to lead the college. She will work in close partnership with the Senior Leadership Team which will include Associate Provost Dom Peruso who will step up as acting provost for the spring semester. He brings 25 years of experience at Juniata preparing him well for this role.  You can look forward to hearing from Provost Bowen directly via these newsletters to keep you updated on all the good work happening in the college throughout the spring semester.

Finally, I'm proud to announce that Juniata College will have its first director of sustainability starting in the new year. Celina (Isenberg) Seftas '07 studied environmental science at Juniata and most recently served as district manager at the Huntingdon County Conservation District. This inaugural role is made possible by the generosity of President Emeritus Thomas R. Kepple, Jr. and Pat G. Kepple, Fred C. Mason, Jr. '73 and Karen K. Mason, and Randy L. Kochel '79 and Pamela Green Kochel '80.

May your holidays be filled with warmth and joy.

Warm regards,
President James A. Troha

Book Move 2023

A historic moment brought Juniata College students, faculty, staff, and alumni together in 1963, and its recreation December 5, 2023, was a cause for celebration and community as well!

Following the completion of Beeghly Library in 1963, students, faculty, and staff worked together to move the books across campus from the former Carnegie Library (now the Juniata College Museum of Art) to fill the shelves at Beeghly. The opening of the Statton Learning Commons is set for Tuesday, January 16, 2024, so it was the perfect time to host a second, equally historic book move event.

Some faculty and alumni who were present at the event 60 years ago returned to campus to revisit their alma mater and celebrate the imminent addition of the new facility.

Enjoy watching the media coverage at the links below:


The Daily News

Altoona MIrror

Global Involvement

For the third consecutive year, a delegation of Juniata College faculty and students attended the United Nations Climate Change Conference as an observer organization. This year's conference, COP 28, was held from November 30 through December 12, 2023, in Expo City, Dubai, UAE.

Juniata's delegation is comprised of Matt Powell, professor of geology; Kushal Adhikari, assistant professor of environmental engineering; Elisha Stenger '24; Bailey Saunders '25; Isabel Kruse '24; and Kei Takahashi '24.

"Our hope is to provide a one-of-a-kind experience for our students that bridges the gap between learning and action, and that specifically explores the interplay between scientific results and policy decisions," said Powell. "Last year, only 13 U.S. liberal arts colleges were admitted observers. We believe the experience helps us fulfill our mission to build ethical leaders in a global community, and advance our demonstrated commitment to climate action and international engagement."

This year, Juniata was one of about 15 liberal arts colleges participating as observers.

Kei Takahashi '24 and Bailey Saunders '25

Kei Takahashi '24 and Bailey Saunders '25

Madrigal 2023

Madrigal Dinner is one of our most popular traditions. Taking place on the last Saturday of fall semester, this holiday tradition starts with a first-class meal served to the students by the faculty and staff. After dinner, the guests are entertained with performances by members of the campus community and the entire group participates in holiday caroling. This sing-along culminates with the singing of "The Twelve Days of Christmas" with various sections of the dining hall acting out the different parts of the song.

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December Graduate Recognition

A total of 43 graduates were celebrated in Baker Refectory December 9, 2023, with 11 students completing master’s degrees and 32 earning bachelor’s degrees. The graduates gathered to mark this milestone and were congratulated by President James Troha, Provost Lauren Bowen, and faculty members. This event continues to grow by the year!

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Celebrating the Arts

The fall semester ended on a high note, with a number of student performances. The entire community enjoyed concerts presented by the College's orchestra, jazz ensemble, wind symphony, and choir, as well as theatrical offerings like Oedipus in the Suzanne von Liebig Theatre.

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Give This Holiday Season

Give the gift of a Juniata College education this holiday season!

Whether you make a year-end gift to the Juniata Scholarship Fund, which supports need-based scholarships, or another program that brings educational experiences to life, your commitment transforms lives and fuels momentum on our campus.

Make your gift by December 31, 2023, to receive 2023 tax credit.