President welcome

Welcome! Returning to campus is a reunion of sorts, as you rekindle friendships, but it is also a wonderful time to make new friends with first-year and transfer students or someone new in class.  This fall, we expect to have nearly 2,500 undergraduate students enrolled at Wilkes, the most in our history. We will also be home to the largest number of resident students. I’m so proud of this growing Colonel community.

This summer, the University welcomed a new academic leader on campus with the addition of Dr. Abel Adekola as the dean of the Jay S. Sidhu School of Business and Leadership.  Dr. Adekola comes to Wilkes from the University of Wisconsin-Stout where he spent more than 20 years of his distinguished career. He brings a vast wealth of knowledge, including expertise in international business; we are delighted to have him as part of the Wilkes family.

Wilkes continued our successful MEDUCA-Bilingual Panama initiative, hosting our second cohort of Panamanian educators this summer. It was a wonderful cultural exchange as the teachers shared traditional food, music and dance of their country with us on Panama Cultural Day and their schedules allowed them to celebrate a traditional 4th of July in Wilkes-Barre. The third cohort of educators will arrive at Wilkes in September. I encourage you to join in any campus activities and share the welcoming Colonel spirit with our Panamanian guests.

We are glad to bring a new major to our exceptionally broad program mix with the addition of a geology major. The curriculum combines traditional and modern elements of geology to meet graduate school and professional licensing requirements while giving our students the hands-on experience to stand out in a competitive job market.

Our facilities team has been quite busy this summer, so you’ll notice some exciting physical changes on campus. Sports fans can enjoy the comfort of new home bleachers at the Ralston Athletic Complex. Take some time to cheer on your fellow Colonels and check them out. The University renovated Waller North and South, remodeling kitchens and bathrooms, as well as painting and carpeting.

A new campus-wide signage project was started this summer. Not only will these signs help point visitors and prospective students in the right direction, but they’ll also greatly improve the look of our campus.

We will continue the positive momentum as work begins on the Clayton and Theresa Karambelas Media Center. Formerly known as 141 South Main Street, the building will serve as a home for the communication studies department, featuring space for co-curricular activities, faculty offices, and classrooms.

Plans for the media center, named to honor the Karambelases for giving one of the largest gifts in Wilkes history, were unveiled at the third annual Founders Gala. At the black-tie event, Mr. and Mrs. Karambelas were presented with the President’s Medal, recognizing them for their years of friendship and generosity to Wilkes.

The Founders Gala, established in 2014, also supports the First Generation Scholarship Fund, which provides additional financial resources to first-generation students who may not otherwise have the opportunity to pursue a Wilkes education. I’m proud to say that, over the last three years, this event has raised nearly $1 million.

As much as I’ve enjoyed this summer, I’m ready for fall. I’m ready to see the Fenner Quad bustling with students, residence halls turning into homes, and classrooms buzzing with ideas. Nelson Mandela once said, “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” Wilkes continues to change and grow to provide you with the best possible environment for your education. We’re ready to start another great year on campus. I hope you are, too.

I look forward to seeing you on campus and on Twitter, @PatrickFLeahy.


Dr. Patrick F. Leahy