President Olian shares how the University of the Future is rising at Quinnipiac

As the steel beams of the South Quad stretch toward the sky, it’s evident the University of the Future is rising at Quinnipiac.

But beyond this exciting new construction project, with a state-of-the-art School of Business, a generously equipped academic building and a 417-bed residence hall, it’s evident Quinnipiac students are rising, too.

“We’re very much investing in immersive and experiential learning opportunities for students,” President Judy Olian said of the bold, $300 million South Quad project, which will be completed during the 2024-2025 academic year.

“It's a very short distance between school and work, where our students are unusually well prepared for what they will encounter in the workplace,” she added. “But we also want to position them to be whole people having fulfilling and significant lives after they leave us.”

Olian made these remarks and more Saturday during her State of the University address at the Mount Carmel Auditorium before alumni, students and their families. In all, about 4,500 people registered for this and other Bobcat Weekend events.

Olian assured parents that educating their children, ensuring their safety and wellness, and preparing them for 21st-century careers and citizenship is critical to the university’s mission.

“Our No. 1 unequivocal commitment is to the intellectual, the emotional and the professional growth of our students,” she said. “It’s what we care about — every facet of the experience — and it’s why we’re here. It’s why we love what we do. It’s what matters to us every single day.”

To support this commitment, Olian said Quinnipiac hired 165 new faculty and staff this year, including 47 talented and accomplished faculty members and 118 committed and smart staff.

“As we invest in the future, our people, and technologies and facilities, our goals are to ensure our students are well prepared for the careers of the future,” she said. “But mind you, many of us don’t know what those careers will be — 20 percent, 30 percent, maybe half of the jobs that will exist then do not exist yet today.”

In anticipation of that, Olian said, the university has hired faculty who are experts in their fields and can help prepare students for these jobs, including artificial intelligence, game design and development, blockchain technologies, cybersecurity applications and digital storytelling.

To illuminate her message, Olian projected a quote from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the auditorium’s screen: “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.”

This fall, Quinnipiac enrolled a strong class of first-year students who are well qualified to apply these tenets to their education. The average high school GPA of the Class of 2027 was 3.57, and 62 percent of these students said Quinnipiac was their first-choice school. They are ready to change the world and change the status quo.

“Innovation is part of everything that we do at Quinnipiac. It’s part of our DNA, long after our students graduate,” Olian said. “We’re not just responsive to market needs. We anticipate them, and we prepare our students for ambitious, meaningful and exciting career journeys.”

Case in point: For the last three years, leading career website has ranked Quinnipiac as the No. 1 school in the country to get a job after graduation.

Olian also showed the 10-second clip of the men’s ice hockey overtime victory in last year’s national championship game at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Florida. Afterward, she rubbed her shoulders several times.

The chills keep on coming, you see.

“I want to give credit where credit is due. Obviously our coach, Rand Pecknold, has been here for 30 years. He built his teams one block at a time,” Olian said. “He didn’t necessarily recruit the biggest or fastest players. He built teams with character. Tenacity. Resilience. Overcoming failure. Coming back every single time.”

For a university poised to celebrate its centennial in 2029, the national champions represent everything that Quinnipiac is about, Olian said.

“Really, this story is a metaphor for us. We, too, have built our excellence one block at a time,” she added. “We are raising the trajectory of our growth around quality. We don’t do anything for quick wins. We build on quality and excellence and resilience because that’s how you build excellence from the ground up, with effort and vision.”

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