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Q&A with President John Ottosson

Featured in the Winter 2020 Bulletin.

In his sixth year as President of William Penn University, John Ottosson continues to focus on gratitude. While always keeping the University’s mission of education for all at the forefront, this year has had its fair share of obstacles. However, it has also brought the William Penn family together in unifying behind this common goal.

President Ottosson speaks about the challenges faced in 2020, and his thoughts on resilience as we welcome a new year.

This has been a challenging year for everyone. What are you most grateful for as we wrap up 2020?

I’m grateful for our students coming back this fall and for some semblance of a college experience. I am especially grateful to see how happy and appreciative students are to be on campus and experiencing William Penn University.

My gratitude also goes to our faculty and staff. They have risen to the challenge. Their outreach to students and ability to adjust to remote instruction has been remarkable. It has made all the difference having everyone completely committed as we’ve faced this challenge together.

Penn has a rich history of resilience; share your thoughts on resilience as we move into a new year.

We will learn from this experience and it will make us stronger. We will be beyond this some day and not only be stronger for having faced this, but also more appreciative of the little things. I miss seeing the students’ smiles on campus and around Penn Hall, I know they are there, but it is difficult to see them under the masks.

This is another example in our history of a challenge faced that we have over-come together. We believe in the importance of our mission, the vital role we play in the lives of our students. That has kept us going. It has helped us continue through the difficult times so that we can come back healthier and stronger. 

Please share your thoughts on the extended William Penn family and their significance in this chapter of our history.

We are extremely fortunate to have such a supportive William Penn family. Without their generosity, we could not have had the face-to-face experience we have had this year. We were blessed to have some alumni step forward in a big way to support our purchase of Abbott ID Now rapid testing machines. This gives us a unique testing capability right here on campus.

Anything else you would like to share with the WP Family?

I am grateful for our heritage of inclusion, especially at this divisive time in our nation. It is one of our key beliefs, that of “value in everyone.” This common respect for each other is at the heart of the Penn experience and it is why we have come together during this challenging time. In my weekly meetings with local health officials they have had nothing but positive comments to share about our students and staff. We truly are a family here at William Penn and that has been evident especially now.

In closing.

I am grateful to work with caring, dedicated people in a place I dearly love. I know that when I come to work each day, I am a part of something bigger. All of us in the William Penn family are making a difference in the lives of our students.