Alvernia University

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400 Saint Bernardine St
Reading, PA 19607

Alvernia University is a private Franciscan institution rooted in the Catholic and liberal arts traditions, offering more than 50 undergraduate programs of study, seven masters degrees, five graduate certifications, four graduate dual programs, and one doctoral degree. More than 2,850 traditional day, evening undergraduate, and graduate students are enrolled across three Pennsylvania locations and at numerous off sites. Alvernia, which acquired university status in September of 2008, was founded as a liberal arts college in 1958 by a Catholic order of women, the Bernardine Franciscan sisters, who emigrated from Eastern Europe to Eastern Pennsylvania to teach the families of immigrant miners more than 100 years ago. Their values of social justice and peacemaking are at the core of their academic program. In this tradition, education is not about knowledge merely for its own sake, but about applying ideas in service to others. They foster moral leadership and service in the interest of peace and justice, locally and globally, challenging students to grow personally and to achieve their calling in life as teachers, nurses, business executives, psychologists, parents, athletes, lawyers, historians, and more, preparing graduates for life and work in a world calling for civic engagement and moral leadership. In 2008 they received the prestigious Community Engagement Designation from the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching. In 2009 they were named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for exemplary service efforts and service to America’s communities by the Corporation for National and Community Service. Their flagship undergraduate programs include criminal justice, business, education, and nursing, and, on the graduate level, the master in business administration and the master in education. Alvernia’s First-Year experience for incoming freshmen and their intervention efforts to keep students on track academically was twice recognized by the National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience: as a semi-finalist in 2005 and as a full awardee in 2006, with the First Year Student Advocate Award, given to Alvernia’s Dean of Academic Advancement, only one of 10 such awardees nationally. New programs and community initiatives are being launched by the Holleran Center for Community Engagement and the Center for Ethics and Leadership, building on existing efforts in civic engagement, ethics, and leadership; serving as incubators for innovation; and fostering expanded faculty and student collaboration. The Holleran Center for Community Engagement (HCCE) is an emerging catalyst for creating strategic community partnerships and for establishing Alvernia as a regional leader in community-based learning. The HCCE strengthens student learning by making the community an essential part of the curriculum and, at the same time, helps improve the quality of life in its local and regional communities. The Center for Ethics and Leadership (CEL) promotes inquiry and reflection concerning the ethical dimension of leadership and the leadership implications of important ethical issues. The CEL seeks to strengthen campus intellectual life and help foster community growth and awareness concerning issues of ethics and leadership. The strength of Alvernia’s faculty regarding ethics and leadership education has resulted in programs to develop leaders in the for-profit and non-profit sectors and new public events and programs addressing ethical issues. In March of 2007, Alvernia completed a new strategic plan and launched its first ever comprehensive master plan which will mean $25-30 million of capital improvements to the Reading campus over the next 10 years. In 2008, Alvernia celebrated its golden anniversary—50 years of preparing graduates to achieve their personal dreams and professional success, to be engaged citizens and lifelong learners.

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