Participated last night in a ZOOM session with Dr. Chris Gibson, the soon-to-be next president of Siena. He’s extremely impressive.
Some things he said:
• this year’s incoming class is oversubscribed (my word). Last year’s freshman class was the largest in the school’s history; this year’s class is even bigger. • he says that Siena will not only survive in coming years, but will flourish. Wouldn’t expect him to say anything else, but he has reasons for what he says. • he will be actively seeking sources of revenue other than tuition and room and board, such as grants and contributions from Catholics who want to support Catholic education, and will use his contacts in Washington toward that end. • he wants the school to develop a national reputation much the same as Villanova and Gonzaga. • he will build on Br. Ed’s efforts over the past few years to add more programs and study areas to the curriculum. • he understands completely the benefits of having a successful basketball program at the school (men’s and women’s). He sees no reason why both programs can’t be competitive in the NCAA Tournament…..talking Sweet 16 competitive. He referred to the increase in enrollment and national publicity that the school experienced when the Saints won first-round games a decade ago, and said that’s what he wants to see at the school on an ongoing basis. • Siena is making all preparations to bring the full student body to campus, possibly even by mid-August to spread out the school year. Lots of changes are in process, both academically and residentially, with the focus to make everything as safe as possible for everyone concerned.
He touched on some other things, as well, but those are some highlights of the session.
I've always been so impressed with that man. The guy just has that special quality. The "it" factor? What ever it is, he has it. I think he could be the difference in Siena's future over the next several years, he's that much of a leader.