President Olian marks a ‘consequential period’ in Quinnipiac’s history

September 19, 2022

President Judy Olian gives a speech at the state of the university

With a bold investment in emergent academic programs and best-in-class facilities for the whole student, President Judy Olian told visitors Saturday that there has never been a better time to be a Bobcat.

The hopeful, enthusiastic remarks came as part of Olian’s State of the University address. The speech was among three days of events and fanfare that drew about 2,500 friends, family and alumni to Quinnipiac for Bobcat Weekend.

“We’re entering, if not the most consequential period, certainly one of the most consequential periods in our history,” Olian said to those gathered in the Mount Carmel Auditorium. “We are, after all, the University of the Future. We’re aspiring to great things that I know we will achieve together.”

Olian was introduced by Owenea Roberts ’23, president of the Student Government Association and a 3+1 BS/MBA accounting major in the School of Business. A native of Bermuda, Roberts is the first international student as well as the youngest person to be elected as SGA president.

Roberts’ story is emblematic of Olian’s vision of a robust, diverse and inclusive community at Quinnipiac. Olian stressed that the academic success and personal well-being of every student is fundamental to the university’s mission and its DNA.

“We’re working to enhance the living and learning experience of our students and that remains a constant quest that all of us are engaging in,” she said as she directly acknowledged the parents in attendance. “We’re committed to focusing on the total health and well-being of our students — your children.”

To achieve this end, Quinnipiac has engaged in the unprecedented hiring of 34 new faculty and 10 academic support experts. Many of these new members of the Bobcat community will help students prepare for jobs in the emerging fields of talent management, healthcare informatics, gaming, eSports and more.

“We know that in 2030, 50 percent of the jobs that exist then don’t exist today,” Olian said. “We also know our students will have the career readiness to be agile and flexible. They will continue to be curious and adaptable throughout their careers.”

But that doesn’t happen by running in place. It happens by running toward the future with strong leadership and nimble thinking.

Olian said one of the newest professors in the School of Computing and Engineering spent the first part of his career as a professional hacker. Companies hired him to hack into their systems to find weaknesses that needed to be addressed.

Today, he’s in the classroom teaching Quinnipiac students about cybersecurity and how to think about building safe, secure systems.

Olian said the consistent hallmark of QU’s faculty is highly personalized learning. This is driven by a culture of inclusion and excellence-driven engagement, 1-on-1 mentorship and a thoughtful bridge to lifelong connections.

“We want your son, your daughter to flourish here as a whole person — mind, body and spirit — in our new wellness ecosystem,” Olian said. “It's all framed around that total well-being, which will be highlighted in our new Recreation, Wellness and Athletic Center, which will be opening in October with some additional features opening probably in November.”

Olian described the new 60,000-square-foot Recreation, Wellness and Athletic Center as “a catalyst of that vision,” from its multiple exercise studios and a rock-climbing wall to clinical examination rooms and counseling rooms.

Olian also pointed to the establishment of several new and exciting spaces on campus, from the Innovation Hub in the School of Business and the Maker Space in the School of Computing and Engineering to the open-air TV studio in the School of Communications and the eSports Lab in the Rocky Top Student Center on the York Hill Campus.

Within the next few years, Olian said, Quinnipiac will develop a $250 million South Quad that will enrich the student experience with a new School of Business, a new residence hall and a new academic building complete with a 700-seat auditorium for university and community events.

These strategies have paved the way for strategic partnerships with major companies, healthcare organizations and government agencies, from Hartford HealthCare and Yale New Haven Health to Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont and the U.S. Small Business Administration.

“There’s a tremendous focus on immersive learning and interdisciplinary learning opportunities at Quinnipiac,” Olian said, citing the university’s recent partnership with Hartford HealthCare as one example.

She said this transformative, university-wide partnership will help build the healthcare workforce of tomorrow by creating internships and job opportunities for virtually every school. She added that QU students have access to Hartford HealthCare’s renowned Simulation Center that draws healthcare professional from around the world.

Olian enjoyed telling the audience about a remark Hartford HealthCare CEO Jeffrey Flaks made earlier this year: “I want to offer QU students jobs when they’re juniors!”

Quinnipiac has already established a national reputation for preparing its students for good jobs. Case in point: Leading career site has ranked QU as the No. 1 school in the country to get a job after graduation.

“These experiences with our faculty and staff, these spaces that trigger the imagination, together they will transform our students,” Olian said. “I’m incredibly proud of what my colleagues, our faculty and our staff do here. I’m very optimistic about the future, and I hope you’re as inspired as we are about those opportunities. There has never been a better time to be a Bobcat.”

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