dr f javier cevallos

Students Meet Dr. F. Javier Cevallos, the First Presidential Candidate

Dr. F. Javier Cevallos, one of the four candidates vying for the position as the University’s next president, talked to students last Friday, January 25 at 5:00 pm.

Cevallos, who was born in Ecuador, has been the first Hispanic president of Kutztown University in Kutztown, Pennsylvania since 2002. Cevallos has expressed interest in becoming the University’s next president because of his belief that it was time to move to a new place and allow new ideas to travel.

“After a certain time,” Cevallos said when asked why he wished to become the next president, “it is time to move on and let someone else come in. It’s important to the University.” He admitted that this was what he was doing with his own university and alleged that this was also what President Paul G. Gaffney II was doing as well. “Monmouth is moving in the right direction and has many good programs. It is also a beautiful place and a beautiful campus.”

For students interested in what plans Cevallos may have for the University, Cevallos confessed that he does not know enough about the school and has not had the time to learn about whatever issues may be present.

“The University seems to be in good shape,” Cevallos said. “One of the challenges [my school] has had is the cost of education. I will have to work with the institution to learn about what challenges we face.”

One student asked what Cevallos could do to help with school spirit. Cevallos agreed that school spirit is an important aspect of a college experience and said that some of the things that help spirit are school sports and traditional events such as spring festivals, as it brings people to the campus. Homecoming, Cevallos recognized, is a big tradition among students and can also bring spirit, but students do have to be creative.

“A tradition [at Kutztown] is a festival where there is a chocolate mud slide,” Cevallos said. “Talk about bringing in hundreds of students.”

When asked what Cevallos believed to be the most important aspect of a college experience, Cevallos responded, “Being a member of society and then to be a working member of society. A democracy is a very important thing. If you are not engaged in the democracy, you are giving up a right that you have. You are given an opportunity to think. An institution gives you the opportunity to think and the role of an institution is to make you open minded.”

Another student asked Cevallos about his most rewarding event. “The day I was married. The day of my son’s birth. The day of my daughter’s birth. Corny, yes, I know,” Cevallos said with a smile. “But professionally, when I became President of Kutztown and the first Hispanic President in Pennsylvania.” He has also received rewards for his involvement in many communities.

Cevallos was also asked what he could bring to the University. As a current president of a University, Cevallos explained, all he could bring for now was experience, however he admitted that it would be hard to say. “An institution has to be student centered. We’re here to teach and we must pay attention to the needs of our students. There is always room for improvement. We must make sure to emphasize your success.”

The concept of new technology and whether it helps further education was brought up.

“Technology is a fabulous tool, but it is never going to replace a university,” Cevallos said. “A university can help you develop leadership and organization skills. Online, you can complete course work or use Skype for languages by talking to people in different countries. There are lots of things technology can do. The content of a course is available and free in a library, but it’s hard for people to be self-taught. You need guidance.”

Throughout the discussion, Cevallos mentioned that he kept close contact with his students, claiming that many of them emailed him personally and that he responded to them whenever he could. This prompted a question from a student asking whether many students emailed Cevallos.

“Yes. Usually about small things like housing but sometimes about things more personal. For example, a student had a fire at his house and was living in his car and showering at the gym. He eventually did email me about his situation and we took care of it. I was upset though that it took him three days to let me know. We could have helped him right away.”

Cevallos expressed his determination that the University has the potential to be one of the top universities. He also believes athletics to be a very important marketing tool, calling it the front porch of the University.

Cevallos presented a question to the students asking what they liked about their school. Responses were called out about small class sizes, events and opportunities the University provides, career options, newsletters, internship information, the ability to keep students in the loop as to what is going on within their major, and the strong sense of community within the campus.

Before time was up, Cevallos was asked what his favorite part of being a president was. “Interaction with you and doing what is best for you,” he said. “I mean it. I’m not just saying it because you’re all here.”

The next presidential visit will be on January 29 with Dr. Donald H. Sebastian in Club 107, 108, and 109 at 5:00 pm.

IMAGE TAKEN from bctv.com