Acting President's Newsletter

March 2024

Dear Juniata Community, 

We are now fully immersed in the spring semester and the energy and promise that it holds. We will soon celebrate the many and varied accomplishments of our students, culminating in our annual commencement exercises.

Several of these noteworthy student accomplishments are featured in this newsletter.

Recently, I had the privilege of watching our two Mock Trial teams as they competed in the opening round of the National Championships in Cincinnati, Ohio. While they did not advance to the next round of competition, the students impressed me with their poise, professionalism, and skill.

We are proud of the recent expansion of our academic program offerings, including environmental engineering, exercise science and kinesiology, and civil engineering, as well as our recently announced exploration of nursing.

These additions reflect our commitment to meeting the evolving needs of our region and beyond. We are dedicated to preparing students for successful careers while instilling in them a sense of responsibility and service to their communities. Through these offerings, we aim to empower Juniatians to contribute meaningfully to societal needs.

Our annual Career Day, organized by the Office of Career Development, encouraged students to network with more than 100 employers, which included many Juniata alumni, and learn about internships, research, and career opportunities.

Just before February ended, I was honored to congratulate Dan Cummins ’24 on winning the 114th Bailey Oratorical. This tradition, which has been continuous since its establishment in 1910, challenges students to deliver persuasive speeches on specific topics. Dan’s first-place presentation on the dangers of phone addiction was based on this year’s prompt inspired by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ launch of “Healthy People 2030.”

Soon after, Juniata celebrated the public debut of the second floor of the Statton Learning Commons, inviting our community to explore the spaces and services offered within. Residents of Westminster Woods also visited the facility and received personalized tours provided by the Learning Commons staff.

The Black History and Culture Dinner was a joyous, Mardi Gras-themed event that filled Baker Refectory with the sounds of jazz and a vibrant community in fellowship with one another. This occasion highlighted the talent and leadership of Juniata’s EDI Student Advisory Committee.

I am deeply grateful to all who made our fourth annual Day of Giving a tremendous success, and I hope you enjoy the photos of the moments that make Juniata the thriving community it is. Thank you for all you do for Juniata.

Across the nation, hospitals, health systems, and medical offices are experiencing a shortage of nurses, and the numbers in Pennsylvania are among the highest. According to a November 2022 study by The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, the vacancy rate for nursing positions increased to 30%. There are simply not enough nurses to fill the jobs that exist in Pennsylvania.  

Dan Sunderland ’88 and his wife Kerry (far right in photo with their family) have generously pledged $1 million toward strengthening Juniata College’s commitment to educating and preparing students for careers in the health professions. Their philanthropy will support a feasibility study to determine the viability of a future nursing program at Juniata College. Preliminary analysis by Juniata suggests that a nursing program could help address regional health care shortages and recruit new students to the college. 

 Juniata College already offers a pre-nursing path that prepares students for nursing school. In addition, the college’s health professions director provides students with one-on-one advising to assist students with course selection and the application process. The exploration of nursing is an extension of an existing academic focus on preparing future health care professionals.  

Over the coming months, Juniata College will finalize the curriculum, and then pursue approvals from the Pennsylvania Board of Nursing and Middles States Commission on Higher Education.  

Faculty Member Honored for Civic Work

Henry Thurston-Griswold, professor of Spanish, was recently recognized by the Huntingdon Rotary Club as a Paul Harris Fellow.

Named in honor of Rotary International founder Paul Harris in 1957, the Paul Harris Fellow is the highest award in Rotary. It is given to a Rotarian or a member of the community that has made an outstanding contribution to the club and the community.

Henry was honored for his extensive work in Guatemala and his support of the Miguel Angel Asturias Academy in Quetzaltenango, Guatemala. The Miguel Angel Asturias Academy was founded in 1994 to address Guatemala's educational crisis, with 20 percent of Guatemalans not entering school at all and less than 10 percent graduating high school.

Since 1999, Henry, along with the Stone Church of the Brethren, have been instrumental in providing medical and educational support and guidance.

In the News

Juniata College’s 146th Commencement Ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 11, 2024. The commencement speaker will be Angela (Montag) Jones ’01, who is the director of business and legal affairs (original series) at Netflix, based in Los Angeles, Calif.  Jones and Dr. D. Holmes Morton, a Pennsylvania physician specializing in genetic disorders affecting Old Order Amish and Mennonite children, will also receive honorary degrees at the ceremony.   

Day of Giving Makes Huge Impact

We are still counting, but did not want to wait to say THANK YOU. More than 2,800 gifts totaling over $830,000 were made by alumni, parents, and friends from all around the world, making it our most impactful Day of Giving ever. Visit HERE to see where many of our challenges finished or to make a gift—it's not too late!.

Nominations Open for Sports Hall of Fame

The Athletic Department has announced that it will once again honor standout athletes and supporters through induction into the Juniata College Sports Hall of Fame in the spring. We welcome nominations for the Class of 2024, with a deadline of October 1. Nominations can be made HERE.

Men's Basketball Tops Golden Wolves, Crowned ECAC Champions

The Juniata men's basketball team won the ECAC (Eastern College Athletics Conference) Men's Basketball Championship 83-77. Juniata defeated #2 Alvernia 83-77. Juniata received a first round bye before knocking off Penn State-Behrend in last weekend’s semifinals. The team finished the year 17-11 and are ECAC Champions for the third time in program history. 

Black History and Culture Dinner

Black History Month at Juniata College culminated in a joy-filled celebration at the Black History and Culture Dinner sponsored by the Office of Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion Saturday night. The spirit of Mardi Gras infused every aspect of the event from the student performances and live jazz by Urban Fusion to the food and fellowship!

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114th Bailey Oratorical

The winner of the 114th Bailey Oratorical was Dan Cummins ’24, who delivered his first-place winning speech on phone addiction. This celebration of articulate minds and the art of oratory also saw in Lillian Case ’25 take second place, Gillian Cunningham ’25 win third place, and Isabel Kruse ’24 awarded the People’s Choice Award. Their speeches, and those of finalists, Nicole Montes Pérez ’26, Yoselin Kearney ’24, and Molly Sheets ’26, highlighted thought-provoking topics that connected emotionally and intellectually with their audience.