President Olian looks to future with optimism in annual State of the Qunion

February 07, 2020

President Olian speaks on stage

Quinnipiac is a university that continues to rise — that was the message President Judy Olian illustrated through numerous examples yesterday afternoon at the annual State of the Qunion.

She began by highlighting investments being made to enhance student life across the university’s campuses. The York Hill Fitness Center has recently installed more than 30 pieces of new fitness equipment — with engaging features that will inspire students in their workout routine.

In the coming weeks, Quinnipiac will open “On the Rocks,” its new pub in the Rocky Top Student Center. Named through a student-wide vote, the facility will serve beer, wine and offer a variety of food options. And, in just a few short months, major renovations of the Larson, Perlroth and Troup residence halls will be complete after being gutted and rebuilt from the core. New features will include air conditioning, new furniture and new common kitchens for each building.

“They will effectively be brand new dorms that will be ready by the end of May,” she said. “We will be continuing to renovate a lot of facilities as we go forward.”

Throughout the next decade, Quinnipiac will embark on a master plan of major capital improvements throughout the university.

A new health and wellness center, to be connected to the current Athletic and Recreation Center on the Mount Carmel Campus, is one of the earliest aspects of the plan.

Strategic Plan

Student Experience

“You gave a lot of input into what that wellness center needs to be,” Olian told the students. “It will have a fantastic physical fitness space, and areas for counseling, for medical needs and for programming needs. We want people who graduate from Quinnipiac to be not just career-ready, but life-ready, and so the programs there will be around how you prepare for a life of wellness and healthy adjustment to all the challenges that might occur.”

Olian also updated students on the university’s ongoing investments in the strategic plan.

Among notable recent progress that she cited across the plan’s four pillars:

  • Political Science professor Scott McLean is taking a class of 19 students to New Hampshire for a couple of weeks to gain lessons in presidential primaries by canvassing the state for a candidate of their choice.

  • Nearly 50% of new faculty hired last semester in the College of Arts & Sciences come from diverse backgrounds and ethnicities.

  • A sustainability committee has been launched and has already held two town halls this semester to develop and better implement important initiatives.

  • The university is in the midst of rolling out Bobcat Connect to the schools of business, communications, health sciences, nursing and the College of Arts and Sciences to connect students with alumni and mentors in a professional networking platform.

For the first time, a panel of more than a dozen students — representing all facets of student life — also participated in the State of the QUnion alongside the panel of administrators. The students weighed in on many of the issues being discussed and throughout the event and shared their perspectives and experiences in response to questions from both their peers as well as members of the administration.

“This kind of exchange, this kind of transparency, this kind of directness and openness is really what keeps us informed and what makes this community special,” Olian said. “We get better through this kind of exchange. We build trust and build confidence and get ideas of how we can make the Quinnipiac education even better.”

A variety of topics were covered throughout the event — from future academic programs that are in the pipeline and updates on the searches for the provost and chief experience officer, to questions on parking and creating a more diverse and inclusive community.

Olian thanked the Student Government Association for organizing the annual State of the QUnion and ended her remarks with a focus on a trait she’s discussed a lot lately — kindness.

“I am proud of our Quinnipiac family — that you really value and demonstrate kindness day in and day out,” Olian told members of #BobcatNation. “There are many reasons that we should be focusing on kindness — especially in the atmosphere of the broader environment. It’s also part of the core values of our university.”

She encouraged students, faculty and staff to continue share the acts of kindness they witness on social media using the hashtag #QUKindness.

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