If you’re like me, an avid consumer of news, you may have noticed the name of your favorite university is appearing rather frequently. I realize that, as loyal Bucknellians, you may be surprised that the University has not been front and center in the national psyche. But it hasn’t begun to receive the attention it warrants until recently.
We’re making steady progress toward gaining a higher institutional profile and elevating our reputation. In just the past year, Bucknell has appeared in nearly 3,300 print and online stories in all 50 states and in 88 international publications representing three countries. That includes the nation’s most noteworthy media outlets, such as The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, NPR, Time and Newsweek. News outlets have featured our faculty members nearly 300 times and students almost 400 times.
Some of our newsmakers are featured in this issue of Bucknell Magazine. Chris Ellis ’00, the political scientist who leads the Bucknell Institute for Public Policy’s Survey Research Laboratory, authored or was quoted in stories that appeared in 55 news outlets. The majority of these stories were generated by the release of national survey results gathered by the survey lab. Among the survey topics that have gained attention from the likes of The Washington Post, Chicago Tribune and Newsweek are Americans’ perceptions on immigrants, the #MeToo movement, tariffs and free speech on campus. (See Pages 18-20 for more on the survey lab.)
A penetrating piece by Professor Judy Grisel, psychology, was a page-front feature in the Sunday Washington Post this summer. A neuroscientist who has firsthand experience with the perils of drug abuse, Grisel weighed in on the debate surrounding legalization of marijuana. While noting she isn’t opposed to legalization, her commentary supported the need to “pause to consider how well the political movement matches up with the science, which is producing inconveniently alarming studies about what pot does to the adolescent brain.” (You can read more about Grisel and her work on Pages 32-36.)
Beyond the media placements, Bucknell, in partnership with Dick Jones Communications, recently established and hosted The Presidents Dinner. The inaugural event took place in Washington, D.C., on Sept. 6, and featured a candid conversation between 13 leaders of prestigious colleges and universities and nearly 30 members of the national news media. I had the privilege of moderating the discussion, which afforded Bucknell the opportunity to inform the narrative around higher education in America. All of the participating higher-ed leaders are intent on heightening public awareness of the innumerable — and in some ways, immeasurable — benefits of an undergraduate education. (Learn more about the forum on Page 21.)
Outreach of this kind — as well as our recent media placements — is helping us tell the Bucknell story in a new, more compelling way. Bucknell is distinctive; it’s different from most residential, undergraduate institutions in its focus on academic excellence in the arts and sciences, engineering and management. These building blocks have been in place for more than a century, but we are now telling this powerful and authentic story to the world as never before.