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President Mitchell speaking in Trout Auditorium April 15.

LEWISBURG, Pa. -- Bucknell University President Brian C. Mitchell on Tuesday, April 15, hosted an all-campus open forum, addressing questions from the audience about a broad range of topics, including downtown development, the comprehensive campaign, and the campus master plan.

Speaking in Trout Auditorium at the final in a series of campus open forums with senior administrators this semester, Mitchell said the University has been taking a more active and visible role on the national stage.

"It is clear, I hope, that we have put Bucknell back on the national lecture and speakers series map," he said, citing the "rousing success" of the Bucknell Forum speakers series, the recent campus visit by former President Bill Clinton, and distinguished speakers scheduled this coming fall, including Doris Kearns Goodwin and David McCullough.

'Big ticket moments'
Mitchell said the upcoming Board of Trustees meeting will deal with a number of significant issues, what he characterized as "big ticket moments. Each of these represents a significant moment in the life and development of the University … that will have an impact on the University, I think, for generations to come."

They include:

  • The case statement for the University's $400 million comprehensive campaign, which, he said, "makes the first case for Bucknell's ambitions. We have something finally to take to donors and say this is why you need to join with us."
  • The campus master plan, which "will define the physical structure of this University probably for the next half to three-quarters of a century."
  • The Lewisburg Core Community Initiative, which provides the "first steps to ensure some anchor development downtown that will enhance the downtown area and cement Bucknell's inter-connectedness to that community."

He spoke about the intersection of those three efforts.

"Taken together, they're going to transform this University, while, at the same time, clearly link Bucknell to its place in history," Mitchell said. "We're establishing a new legacy, which is firmly grounded in the legacy we inherited from earlier generations of Bucknellians."

Downtown goals include an expanded University bookstore, a regional performing and visual arts center tied to the Campus Theatre, the relocation of some administrative jobs downtown to create more pedestrian traffic, and the revitalization of some downtown housing near campus.

Purpose and character
Other campus projects will affect both the purpose and character of the University, he said.

These include adding flexible new academic spaces, high-quality student housing, and an expansion of Bertrand Library.

The second group of initiatives being discussed will include "new places of distinction on campus," such as an inn and conference center, a reinvigorated academic quadrangle, and greenways that connect campus neighborhoods and the campus to the Susquehanna River "and the world beyond."

Taking shape
He said some of those ideas will begin to take shape in the next year or two.

Previous forums hosted this semester by members of the president's senior staff included discussions on arming Bucknell's Public Safety officers, the comprehensive campaign, the communications strategy, and the campus master plan.

Contact: Division of Communications

Posted April 15, 2008