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President Fiorentino’s inaugural speech hints at future changes

By Katelyn Hibbard in News

May 3, 2012

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Katelyn Hibbard/Eagle Eye

The inauguration for Lock Haven University’s fourteenth president went off without a hitch last Friday. Several masses of LHU graduates, grouped by their class year, led the march into Thomas Fieldhouse, followed by university officials and affiliates, with Dr. Mike Fiorentino, Jr. bringing up the rear.

Though Fiorentino started working for the university at the beginning of the 2011-’12 fiscal year, hundreds of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members gathered in the large gymnasium to watch as now-President Fiorentino be officially sworn in.

Several officials spoke to the large crowd in welcoming of President Fiorentino. Student representative from the Council of Trustees, Brent Barge, was one of the many who extended warm greetings.

“Fiorentino’s leadership and guidance will enable us as students to perform and succeed at the highest levels possible,” Barge said.

LHU’s Association of Pennsylvania State Colleges and University Faculties (APSCUF) chapter president Stanley Berard also congratulated President Fiorentino.

“We look forward…to collaborating with you and to following your leadership,” Berard said.

Many of the students, faculty and staff who have gotten to know President Fiorentino believe that he is a ‘good man’ for the position. American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) representative Sharon Heverly condoned him for his interactivity on campus.

“He’s very visible; he’s with the students and he’s always out and about,” she told the audience. “Imagine my surprise when I went out the other night for a free spghetti dinner and he was there taking care of garbage,” she added. “What a wonderful man!”

Rick Vilello, Jr., mayor of the City of Lock Haven, also spoke highly of President Fiorentino. He told the crowd how he and the soon-to-be president spoke before the ceremony; Fiorentino had told him “It’s important, amongst all the pomp and circumstance, to not forget the students…”

In his address to the audience, Mayor Vilello referred to a classic country song by Lee Ann Womack called “I Hope You Dance.” He said that each and every person has several opportunities throughout any given day to ‘sit it out’ or ‘dance’.

“Dr. Fiorentino didn’t get here today by ‘sitting it out’; he made a career by choosing to dance,” Vilello said. “May your dance be long and successful.”

Friends and former colleagues of President Fiorentino attended the ceremony; the president of Pittsburg State University said he had many stories to tell the crowd about his days with Fiorentino, but he’d save them for later. In their place, PSU’s president gave a simple statement:

“Work with [President Fiorentino]…and this university will be better than it is today.”

After the heartwarming speeches given by the aforementioned officials and several others, President Fiorentino’s commencement began.

Guido Pichini, APSCUF chairman of the board of governors, administered the oath of office in which President Fiorentino swore to uphold the academic and ethical standards set in place for so many years by the university. The traditional medallion was bestowed upon him and he received the university masons, as symbols of his official inauguration.

President Fiorentino ended the ceremony with a gratified speech about his goals for the university. He became emotional while thanking his family members, particularly his parents who were not able to attend the event.

President Fiorentino also confirmed rumors about the demolision of certain dorm halls to create a new science center, as well as the fact that, due to impending budget cuts, the university will seek to “do more with less” in the upcoming academic year.

“The difficulties are real,” he said.

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