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February 20, 2009

Early in February, I attended the annual meeting of the American Council on Education (ACE) where most of the sessions focused on the political and economic realities we face today.

The clear message that emerged from the ACE sessions centered on the need to safeguard college affordability for as many Americans as possible.

The Executive Staff and I are working daily on financial plans to protect Shepherd's affordability. One key to maintaining affordability is reducing the time to degree. Our retention efforts coupled with solid faculty advising can help students graduate in four years. We also are reviewing the curriculum in an effort to remove blockades to student success.

In this political season, I'm making regular trips to Charleston and Washington, D.C. My admiration grows for public servants who, while struggling with difficult economic decisions, have an intense interest in supporting Shepherd University whenever possible.

West Virginia has not reduced funding to education for the upcoming fiscal year; however, the state budget director is projecting a $244 million funding shortfall in 2011. Careful planning now will lessen the impact of this uncertain future.

It is important that I share the great Shepherd story with lawmakers in Charleston and D.C. even though this means I sometimes miss out on campus events. My thanks to each of you for your contribution to the success of Shepherd. You make it a very easy story to tell.


Shepherd University | Office of the President | P.O. Box 5000 | Shepherdstown, West Virginia | 25443-5000
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