Giving President-elect Dr. Bobby Fong a chance to meet and talk directly with Ursinus students, the Ursinus Student Government Association hosted a Town Meeting in Bomberger Auditorium this week. Following an introduction by USGA President: Jervis Hudson, the two students who served on the Presidential Search Committee, Bridget Resetco and Ty Wetzel, explained that one of the many reason Dr. Fong was selected is that he is interested in the lives of students.
Dr. Fong, who is currently President at Butler University in Indiana, told the students that colleges exist to foster opportunities for individuals to find themselves, and to service the world. Ursinus, he said, is a place where “we can be truly ourselves.”
The issue of diversity was on students’ minds, following a special campus meeting on the topic. Dr. Fong said he appreciates the determination of Ursinus students, and sees the current conversations as a time for “reflection and self searching.”
Lauren DiCairano. Vice President, Class of 2013 and Secretary of the USGA, said she was extremely impressed with Dr. Fong. “I was thrilled that he made time to talk to the students,” she said, “it shows that he really does care about us. Even after the meeting ended Dr. Fong stood around for almost another hour just talking to students. That really meant a lot to me personally.“
One goal Dr. Fong sees for Ursinus is to enrich the Ursinus liberal arts curriculum, especially adding more opportunities for employment and other post-undergraduate options. It is possible, he said, to “teach professions liberally, to prepare us for life, while preparing us for a living.”
He also said he is pleased to be coming back to Division III athletics, despite having been through an NCAA championship at Butler. Division III offers a balance between athletics and academics, he noted.
Other topics addressed were Greek Life, tenure, admissions recruiting and the college’s relationship with the community. Greek life should strengthen students personally and academically, he explained. He will support students taking an active role in the community.
In response to a question, Dr. Fong indicated that he is an ally to the campus gay community. At a previous college, he resigned when the top candidate was not hired because the candidate was gay.
Dr. Fong is proud that at Butler, he told students, he restored confidence in leadership and that college gained a reputation as an academically serious place. — W.G.
His presidency at Ursinus starts July 1, and he will be visiting on a regular basis until that time. During his presidency, students will have more opportunities to engage in dialogue with Dr. Fong, as he hopes to hold open hours every week over coffee, to speak with students.