These are the reflections on the presidency of Tom Kepple that we did not have room to include in the magazine. Please read through and see what others think about Tom.
"I had the good fortune to work under the direction of Tom Kepple for about three semesters conducting research in on a project focused on the viability and sustainability of the county and Huntingdon as a potential retirement destination. I came to know Tom not only as our president, but a mentor and friend. He was a supporter of mine in the classroom, as well as, the football field. In retrospect, he along with the Juniata community have done so much to transform not only Juniata, but national academics as evidenced by the school’s academic reputation. One word that comes to mind when thinking about Tom is LEADERSHIP defined as 'a process of social influence in which one person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task.' This is a perfect descriptor of Dr. Kepple's life."
–Frederick Taber '03, account manager for FM Global, Malvern, Pa.
"When Tom Kepple arrived, Juniata needed someone who could bring to fruition the great foundation his predecessors built. Juniata's history of high-impact education runs deep and is rather profound. It was clear from his initial interview Community Forum, where he quoted from memory the square footage of several buildings in response to a question about campus infrastructure needs, that he was a force to be reckoned with when it came to buildings. Someone once told me that he and Pat enjoy visiting college campuses for the purpose of just walking around and getting a 'feel' for what works and what doesn’t on those particular campuses. Before Tom came, our “outside” didn’t match our 'inside.' Now, when parents, potential students, colleagues from other schools, guest speakers, family members, random college presidents walking around to get a 'feel' for what works and doesn’t on our campus, our 'outside' definitely matches our 'inside'."
–Russell Shelley, Elma Stine Heckler Professor of Music
"Tom Kepple's demeanor of gentleness and a gift that allowed him to play with his image resulted in a tenure of artistic flair and symbolic vision that married both Juniata's past and the future—with a bit of seriousness and with some fun. Tom Kepple made it comfortable for me to come to campus in 2000 when he welcomed me to the community in an administrative training called Leadership Principles, which had a huge impact. Our contribution under his leadership has given Juniata the unique advantage of being a stable environment, but with an eye for the future of liberal arts education and the students we must serve."
–Athena Frederick, registrar
"Student-athletes are always made to feel special because Tom is able to address them by name. That speaks volumes to the kids that he isn't just there, but that he’s there for them."
–Caroline Gillich, head coach, field hockey
"We all watched Tom's administration unfold—wondering how Juniata would change under his leadership. We soon learned when Tom's discussions on 'Juniata's momentum' began that his vision was clear and well-planned, and most importantly that we would all play our own integral part of Juniata's success. It has been truly wonderful to be a part of 'standing room only' open campus forums in Neff Lecture Hall – to be with co-workers who share a sense of pride as our students learn and grow, building friendships with each other and us. Juniata truly has become a 'Great College to Work For' under Tom and Pat's administration and I'm proud to be a part of what Tom Kepple's vision meant for Juniata's momentum."
–JoAnn Isenberg, executive assistant to Tom Kepple since 2000
"Tom Kepple has worked tirelessly to spread the name of Juniata College and to enhance its reputation. He connected with alumni and friends across the country and throughout the world, and he raised many millions of dollars for Juniata. His comments at our faculty meetings are always positive and upbeat. He was – and still is – always optimistic about Juniata's future, even in the most difficult economic times. He has been Juniata's biggest cheerleader for 15 years."
–John Bukowski, professor of mathematics
"When I graduated in 2001, there were only two ALANA students in my graduating class. I spent much of my time as a student here educating my peers about diversity and I wanted to know why more wasn't being done on campus to address diversity. In 2000 Tom Kepple commissioned the Diversity Task Force to ask those very same questions and for the first time I felt like someone was taking these issues seriously. In 2002, Dr. Kepple asked me to head that initiative here on campus. In 10 short years, Juniata has become a leader in diversity initiatives among our peers and I feel that Tom’s example played an essential role in that conversion. My colleagues are doing many of the same things I have been doing here, but without that leadership from the top to drive the initiative their success has been marginal at best. He is often found listening intently at a Beyond Tolerance lecture or singing spirituals at a Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation. It has a lasting impact on student's sense of worth when the president shows up at Kwanzaa, eager to make sure he gets a nice piece of the homemade catfish and sweet potato pie."
–Rosalie Rodriguez '01, special assistant to the president for diversity and inclusion
"As I think about Tom's tenure as president, there are three main themes:
— His awareness of the role Huntingdon plays in the success of Juniata. He spoke of it in his inaugural address—that Huntingdon and Juniata will succeed and improve together. And he worked hard to improve that relationship and to support important initiatives to strengthen the community.
— His sense of fairness. One of his early actions was to move the retirement benefit contribution to the same level for all employees.
— His sense of humor. He appreciates a 'fun' work environment with little bureaucracy and a 'can-do' attitude. Whenever you would pitch an idea to him, often the response was 'make it so'."
–Gail Lieby Ulrich, director of human resources
"Juniata has always been a friendly campus but when Tom arrived we became more relaxed. Check out his nametag and you’ll see an example – it’s not President Kepple but 'Tom'. Tom is relaxed and approachable. More than simply offering an open-door policy, Tom leaves the office to be an active participant in campus life as an avid sports fan, supporter of student organizations, communicator at forums and faculty meetings, and greeting visitors as they cross the campus. Tom’s passion to increase the diversity of the campus, consistently and creatively pursued, also has changed Juniata dramatically. Before, you rarely met a person from another country or of a different race. Now, we enjoy an exciting diversity of cultures, racial identity, ethnicity, religion, and geographic origin."
–John Hille, executive vice president for enrollment and retention
"One aspect of President Kepple that really stands out to me was his masterful approach in organizing and leading meetings and groups of people toward a collective vision. His ability to execute a collective vision, take criticism in stride, and cooperate with students, faculty, and trustees was key to the rapid expansion of facilities, academic departments, and infrastructure of Juniata during his time as college president."
–Demetri Patitsas ’07, Excela Ventures
"The most important thing that Tom Kepple did for Juniata was to create visibility by revealing the real Juniata to those beyond central Pennsylvania. Tom Kepple allowed the world to peek at a culture we've all been a part of, but probably didn’t truly appreciate. Or at least we didn't understand the rarity of this kind of atmosphere among higher education institutions. Not only did Tom reveal what we already were, but he elevated us to a higher level. He instilled a desire to do more, be better, and work harder for the good of our students. He encouraged a sense of pride and accomplishment among our students, alumni, and workforce that will last well beyond his tenure. And he empowered us, as a team, to continue this good work well after his departure."
–Linda Carpenter, executive director of constituent relations
No Comments on "Kepple’s Presidency Remembered" »