Question and Answer with President Kaplan

On Nov. 7, President Kaplan sat down for an in-studio interview with the Charger Bulletin News, conducted by editor-in-chief Anna Downs. The interview covered subjects such as the new Bergami Center for Innovation and Technology as well as housing, and retirement rumors.

Q: What can you tell us about the new Bergami Innovation Space building? When will it open?

A: So, it’s going to be a state of the art academic building, like nothing else certainly in the region or in the state and possibly in the country in terms of being highly flexible and a very fluid space. And, with the exception of the communications program, which has its own particular space in studios and control rooms, it’s going to be for every department on campus. It’s going to open in the spring, will probably get a certificate of occupancy in February. We’ll start programming in there in March, and we might even start classes in there as early as April, but certainly for the fall.

Q: How do you feel the university handled the housing issue from last semester? Will the university continue to offer housing to all students?

A: I think we did the best we could. We always do the best we can. I think in the end everyone learned a little bit about how we can improve the process. We continue to work with the developer, David Beckerman, on the programming down in Allentown. [We] will be opening the Parkview in the fall, and adding 100 beds. This summer, as every other summer, [we] will be spending roughly $1 millions on ongoing renovations in the current residence halls. So I think the program we have is one of the best in the area, and even though there are issues with housing, everyone has issues with housing. It’s like food services, you’re never going to make everyone happy; we’re serving too many people.

Q: Tell us a bit about our new athletic director, Sheahon Zenger, as well as the university’s prospects to become a Division 1 school.

A: Sheahon Zenger is an incredible hire. He is a national figure. He…is very excited about being here. He’s connecting with students, he’s connected with the coaches. He’s showing us how we can improve our athletic program. And if anyone’s going to get us into Division 1, it’ll be him. And we’ll get there, the prospects, I think, are very good. We’ve talked to several conferences… we’re on our way.

Q: Where do we stand with the College of Arts and Sciences Dean search?

A: We stand right at the edge of completing it. Next week, we have two candidates coming in. And then the week after that, two more, and the week after that, we’ll hope that we’ll have hired someone. It’s a great pool, very good candidates.

Q: There have been rumors on campus that you will be retiring. Would you like to give a statement on that?

A: I was just asked this by Ralph DellaCamera, whose name is on the stadium, last night over dinner. I’m 66, and I love my family greatly and want more time with them. But I also love what I’m doing and find it exhilarating. So I’m very torn as to retirement. What our board has allowed me to do is take longer vacations in the summer, and have more time with my family. And as long as I can do that, I frankly don’t know when I’ll stop doing this because it’s an incredible student body, faculty and staff.

Check out the full interview on the Charger Bulletin News YouTube page.