BETHANY, W.Va. – “What is the state of the college? Well—to keep it simple, it’s improving,” says Bethany College President Dr. Jamie Caridi.
Caridi opened the annual State of the College address with a prayer, followed by dialogue dedicated towards a hopeful and optimistic future— the basis being Bethany’s strategic plan. He says it starts with “us”—the faculty and staff. So, he began by welcoming a slew of fresh faces on campus.
“It has been a fast and furious summertime. We – the faculty, the staff, the coaches— have been hiring a tremendous amount of talent here at the college, and I am proud to say we are starting the year with over 150 employees,” Caridi says.
He highlighted the objectives of the strategic plan, but paid special note to how we can realistically achieve these goals.
“We spend a lot of time thinking about what the future of the college will look like,” says Caridi. “But it doesn’t matter unless we start talking about how we are going to get there.”
Bethany is a school built on tradition. But Caridi is ready to take the college to new heights, while still honoring the 182-year-old traditions, in hopes that we can build a better tomorrow.
“We know we need to chart a new future to the college, but we can’t lose sight of our ‘secret sauce,’ our core values of the college,” says Caridi.
Much of Bethany’s plan is focused on enrollment and academics. He says the hope is to add two to three new academic programs every year— noting that a few are already in the works for this year. Bethany is also in the approval stage of expanding programs, clubs, and social engagement opportunities, some of which include opportunities unique to Bethany College. On the enrollment side, the question is “are we moving in the right direction?” To that, Caridi says “absolutely.”
“We have successfully reduced the college’s deficit over the past year, and the economy of our institution continues to improve,” says Caridi. “There are a number of factors contributing to this success. The largest being our increase in enrollment, which includes a 15 percent increase in overall enrollment and a growth in our new student population by approximately 20 percent. That’s worth a round of applause. That’s a move in the right direction. And while we’re proud of our success for this fall, we have even more ambitious goals for next year.”
Caridi says to do that, we must highlight our academics. We will deploy fresh marketing strategies and develop a robust digital marketing initiative. He is also applauding many new improvements to campus, including the new Joe Kurey Memorial Court, a newly renovated science lab, and the updated student space, “Boomers.”
Caridi rounded out the State of the College address with a nod to Bethany’s diversity, including the over 50 international students on campus.
“This is going to be a place where all voices are welcomed and honored. That’s a celebration of diversity in all richness and forms,” says Caridi.
ABOUT BETHANY COLLEGE
Bethany College, founded in 1840, is the oldest private college in West Virginia. The Bethany experience focuses on academic excellence in the area of liberal arts and prepares students for a lifetime of work and a life of significance.