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President charts goals in inaugural speech

Hilbert College wants to grow, reach out more to the local community and do a better job at distinguishing itself from other colleges, its president said Friday.

Cynthia A. Zane -- who took over at the small, liberal arts college in Hamburg in July -- outlined some of Hilbert's goals Friday, when she was officially sworn in on campus.

"I pledge that I will do my best for Hilbert College and I know that I cannot do it alone," Zane said. "It will require great courage and significant collaborative leadership from all of us to achieve our goals."

Hilbert, with about 1,100 students on its South Park Avenue campus, projects modest growth the next five years, but wants to increase fundraising for scholarships to keep Hilbert affordable, Zane said.

The school also wants to continue improvements to the campus by enhancing the campus center, addressing the need for a larger chapel and resolving the demand for campus housing, Zane said.

It's part of a five-year strategic plan Zane and Hilbert stakeholders spent several months crafting.

Hilbert would develop more distinctive academic programming and refine its arts and science curricula to help distinguish itself in a market flooded with public and private colleges.

Hilbert also wants to be more engaged in the Western New York community.

The college will look to intergrate more "service learning" into its academic programs, and strengthen ties with the business community.

"Hilbert College cannot plan its curriculum without partnerships and consultation from those who will hire our graduates," Zane said. "We want our education to be relevant and focused on preparing the leadership and work force needed for Western New York's economic revitalization."

Zane, the former chief academic officer and dean of the faculty at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, is only the third president in Hilbert's history. She succeeds Sister Edmunette Paczesny, whose 32 years at Hilbert made her one of the longest tenured college presidents in the nation.

e-mail: citydesk@buffnews.com

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