Sesquicentennial plan outlines Oswego’s future

As Oswego State prepares for its 150th year as an establishment of higher education, plans on how to maintain the college for the foreseeable future continues to be carried out.

In the spring of 2011, Oswego State will celebrate its 150th, or sesquicentennial year as a college institution. Since 2007 there has been a plan in progress called the Sesquicentennial Plan with a purpose to improve the university as a whole. The published plan states that, "the mission is to contribute to the common good lighting the path to wisdom and empowering women and men to pursue meaningful lives as productive, responsible citizens."

According to Nancy Bellow, executive director of business and community relations and planning, many of the goals have already been reached and still more are in the process of becoming achieved.

"President Stanley has the vision and we chose to express our plan with the acronym views identifying the core of our existence in terms of vitality, intellectual rigor, engagement, world awareness, and solutions," Bellow said.

This past week, Lorrie Clemo, assistant to the president for special projects and campus communication, made a trip to Washington D.C. and presented the Sesquicentennial Plan to the National Science Foundation. Clemo spoke to the foundation about what Oswego State has done in the past four years and what the university is planning to do in the future, in order to seek funding for it.

"I would not have been prepared to go and do a presentation and seek funding from the National Science Foundation if it had not been for the fact that everything we have laid out in the Strategic plan has actually been put in place," Clemo said.

This funding is for a scholarship program that will allow students to come to Oswego State with a full ride. It will give the students the option to have close faculty- student research experiences. Students will also be offered an opportunity to study abroad free of charge and further their education.

Amid a state-wide budget crisis, financial concerns has caused some constraints, but it’s part of the challenge. According to Nicholas Lyons, the vice president of administration and finance, the plan has been more of an investment of people’s time. "Everyone here volunteers for this type of thing, it’s an honor to do so," Lyons said.

Bellow said the process for the sesquicentennial plan began in 2006, when Oswego State President Deborah Stanley first convened the Sesquicentennial Planning Advisory Board. As a group, they looked at what the existing mission of Oswego State and revised it into a more concise mission that represented the university. The advisory board then began to engage the rest of the community, forming around 30 focus groups that helped provide a framework for what the plan would be.

"People were very serious and thoughtful about where the college could be and what goals we should have that would take us through to 2011," Bellow said.

After receiving feedback from the community, the advisory board reviewed the information and constructed the core overarching goals of Oswego State. Clemo participated in many of the focus groups. Her role in the process was to bring all of the information together that had been collected throughout the campus and put it into a single document.

"The biggest challenge was collecting ideas from stakeholders across campus and to bring all those varied ideas into a plan that made sense for everybody involved," Clemo said. "People have different backgrounds and different views on the direction the college should take."

After a year of preparation, the Sesquicentennial Plan was published in 2007. Since then, at the end of every spring semester, each division of the college submits its report to President Stanley in terms of what that division has accomplished according to the plan.
"It’s all about making our students be able to have a transformational experience here." Bellow said.