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Thiel College President’s Newsletter Looking Back, Moving Forward We’re back! It is fall again at Thiel College and our students have returned to campus, bringing with them a sense of excitement, anticipation and energy about the coming year. This is my favorite time of the year, and this fall is a special one. The new students who walked up Brother Martin’s Walk in August will be our graduating class in 2016, the year that Thiel College turns 150 years old. This class, which I think of as our sesquicentennial class, will be on campus during a very important four years in Thiel’s history. Not only have we begun planning a celebration of Thiel’s anniversary, we are implementing the four pillars of our new strategic plan, known as Thiel 2016. Those pillars—a Commitment to Academic Excellence and Relevance that combines the best of the liberal arts tradition with career and life skills; a Commitment to a Culture of Caring and Confidence that fosters intellectual rigor, creativity, health, wellness and athletic competition, leadership, diversity and social, ethical and spiritual development; a Commitment to Enhanced Facilities and Infrastructure that support academic and co-curricular programs, residence life and administrative services; and a Commitment to Superior Delivery of Programs and Services in all areas of College life—will shape and guide the next 150 years at Thiel College. The strategic plan is already making a difference on campus. We undertook an ambitious slate of campus revitalization projects as part of the commitment to facilities and infrastructure—from HVAC work to paving parking lots to renovating classrooms and living spaces—that have and will make a big difference in the lives of our students. Comfortable places to live and study will help them to succeed in and out of the classroom in the coming days and months. This fall, the Dietrich Honors Institute welcomed its co-directors, Dr. Curt Thompson and Lisa Walton, and its first students—18 members of the incoming class entered as Dietrich Scholars. The DHI is a key program to the commitment to academic relevance and we look for great things from this program and its students. Our eyes are firmly on 2016 and we have ambitious goals for that important milestone, raising total enrollment to 1,250, improving the academic profile of the student body, undertaking an ambitious comprehensive campaign, just to name a few! We are also hard at work on making the Dr. James Pedas Communication Center a reality as well, which you can read more about inside. Please contact me at or 724-589-2100 to learn more about these plans and how you can help. We’re already on our way to another great academic year at Thiel College. Thank you for all that you do to make Thiel a great place to live, work and learn.

Sept. 24, 2012 Vol. 3, No. 1

Greeting the incoming class on their way to the Opening Convocation ceremony.

Troy D. VanAken, Ph.D. President w w w. t h i e l . e d u

R.W. Larson Associates presented a charette, a collaborative consulting session, in June to key stakeholders in the Pedas Communication Center, including Jim ’50 (pictured below) and Ted Pedas.

Update on Pedas Communication Center I’d like to update you on a project that has gained steam during the spring and summer. The Dr. James Pedas Communication Center has been a dream of Dr. James Pedas ’50 and his brother, Ted, for many years. Recently, the philosophy of the project has grown from a single-use building aimed at the communication studies program at Thiel to a dynamic, integrated and technologically-sophisticated building that inspires individual and collaborative learning in a creative and open space. While still home to the Communication Department, the Pedas Center also will help all Thiel students by serving as a place where their presentational and communication skills can be honed and developed in an atmosphere of

critical and creative thinking. We see this building as having the potential to physically transform the center of campus and become the heart of learning at Thiel College. We are hard at work finalizing what this philosophy will look like in reality with architects and project managers as well as the Pedas brothers. We also are wrapping up fundraising for this project and are on our way to reaching our final match of $1 million to the generous gifts already given by Jim and Ted. We anticipate breaking ground for this very important project in late 2013. If you’d like to be part of shaping the future of Thiel College through this very important project, please contact Sam Siple, vice president for college advancement, at 724589-2160 or

The Thiel College Class of 2016

New Faces at Thiel College Our weekly President’s Cabinet meetings have some new faces present, so I’d like to introduce you to two men that you will come to know very well in the future. Sam Siple, our new vice president for college advancement, arrived on campus on July 1. Sam has substantial advancement and executive leadership experience in education. His most recent positions include senior principal with Jerold Panas, Linzy & Partners, a campaign services and charitable resource development firm, and president of Eden Christian Academy in Pittsburgh, where he developed and managed a comprehensive fundraising program that yielded higher contribution and participation rates. Previously, he served for nearly 10 years at Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pa., as executive director of public relations & marketing and later as vice president for institutional advancement.

Bob Schmoll joined Thiel in late September as our vice president for finance and management. He has nearly 30 years experience in higher education administration. He comes to Thiel from Bethany College in Lindsborg, Kan., where he was vice president for finance and operations and oversaw accounting/business office, bookstore, computer services, facilities, financial aid, food service and human resources for the college. Previously, he served in several positions of increasing responsibility at Dana College in Blair, Neb., including executive vice president and chief financial officer. I am happy that at a critical moment in Thiel’s growth, we have found two professionals who have a proven track record of success in higher education and a dedication to the ideals of service, integrity and excellence on which Thiel was founded. Join me in welcoming Sam and Bob to the Thiel community!

Upcoming Events — Fall/Winter 2012 Check for more exciting events happening throughout the semester and year. Con Spirito Chamber Music Concert Series featuring the Jasper String Quartet Oct. 4, 7:30 p.m. Preview Days at Thiel College Oct. 20, Nov. 12 and Jan. 21, 2013 Fall Network Nights Locations & times to be announced.

Honors Convocation Nov. 2, 7 p.m. Family Weekend Nov. 2-4 60th Annual Thiel College Christmas Festival Dec. 2, 4 p.m. Dome Opening Celebration Dec. 7, 6 p.m. Winter Weekend Feb. 8-9, 2013 w w w. t h i e l . e d u

75 College Avenue Greenville, PA 16125-2181

Tomcats Around the World Senior Audrey Rattay is spending her final year of college in Hyderabad, India—a very different place from Greenville, Pa.! Here she shares a bit about her experiences halfway across the world: “Namaste! To wrap up my undergraduate studies at Thiel, I decided to spend my final semester at the University of Hyderabad (UOH). UOH is one of the major institutions in India devoted to postgraduate studies and research. It is comprised of 10 schools of study, 46 departments and has more than 5,000 enrolled students. I have been in the country since July 13 and will remain here until the semester ends on Dec. 1. To fulfill the required credits for my Thiel degree in business administration, I am taking an international marketing course at the School of Management. My fellow classmates are Indian students who are working on their master’s degrees in marketing and human resource management. Additionally, I am emerging myself in the culture by taking basic Hindi, Yoga Jyoti and Kuchipudi Dance as elective courses. During weekends, I am traveling to Mumbai, New Delhi, Agra, Pondicherry, Goa, Jaipur and many other cities around the country. As I take advantage of this new world, a few items on my ‘bucket list’ are to ride an elephant, attend an Indian wedding and dance in the Monsoon rains.”

Follow Audrey’s adventures at

Thiel College President's Newsletter  

A newsletter from the President of Thiel College

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