By Samantha Cantrell
Although life for Wilson College students has taken a completely unexpected direction over the course of the past few weeks, before the closure of campus President Fugate spent time with members of the Wilson community by hosting an all-college forum on Monday, March 9, in the Brooks Auditorium. Students, staff, and faculty were invited to hear from Wilson’s new president regarding his plans for the future of the college, long term goals, potential COVID-19 response plans (which, as all students are aware, have changed drastically since then) and more. First and foremost, Pres. Fugate addressed his ‘5-4-3-2-1 Plan,’ which was represented by a pyramid consisting of 5 layers, each of which corresponded to a specific goal. First, he discussed the bottom layer: alumni relations. He hopes to encourage alumni to visit Wilson’s campus on a regular basis to see changes as the college grows, share their stories with current and potential students, assist in student career development, and contribute financially to Wilson’s growth. Next, he discussed his hope that all students will be able to graduate with their degree within four years, prepared for a life of meaningful work and experiences. He hopes for each student to maintain a GPA of at least 3.0, and that every student would be engaged with at least two organizations on campus to continue to grow outside of academics. Finally, his dream is that all people involved would be united as one Wilson, with an increase in school spirit and pride in the college itself from everyone who has been impacted by Wilson College.
President Fugate also addressed financial concerns. On a positive note, enrollment is at a record-breaking high of over 1,700 students. This total includes students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs, and in the other styles of education that Wilson offers. However, this is not quite where the board had hoped to be, and they are hoping to continue to grow enrollment, especially since not all students bring in the same profit as others. As a result, there is plenty of work that will need to be done to improve the use of the budget, especially to avoid continual use of endowment funds. President Fugate hopes to continue to show future college students that Wilson is a wise choice for their secondary education, especially as the number of college-bound students will decrease after 2026. He also hopes to improve diversity on campus and to be more inclusive to students from all backgrounds.
Beyond big-picture plans, President Fugate also has aspirations to improve campus life and activities. He hopes to expand athletics, which will in turn allow them to recruit more students to increase enrollment. He also has a passion for performing arts, so he aspires to be able to encourage the creation of programs for students with similar interests. As aforementioned, he also hopes to increase diversity on campus, including students of different racial backgrounds, economic status and more. His goal is to take suggestions from students on what would make their Wilson experience better, and to work to the best of his ability on improving both Chambersburg and Wilson College.