Patrick Henry College President Jack Haye sat down with PHC's student newspaper The Herald to discuss the promising path he sees the College taking in future years.
TH: This marks the beginning of your third academic year as president of PHC. What goals have you accomplished in that time?
JH: Reunifying the staff and faculty around a shared vision of where we’re trying to go. Over the three-year period, we have been able to raise $8 million; God gets all the credit for that; it’s way outside what we can do.
And we're continuing to focus on enrollment growth; not just turning on the spigot to have members for the sake of members, but trying to get the right students here. I think we’re encouraged by the size of the freshman class; that’s a good sign for the future. I’m also proud of seeing many of our alums re-engage with the college.
TH: What’s been the best part of leading PHC?
JH: Students. Period. It is, seriously! That’s where the energy is, that’s where the hope is, that’s where the joy is, and that’s where the messiness is as well. And to live in community with you guys is just an incredible privilege, with all of its craziness.
TH: What are some concrete ways you want to help PHC continue to grow?
JH: We have to raise money for our endowment. We need to continue to grow and continue to set goals. We’re looking at long-range planning right now to see at what point we need to build a dorm. We’re looking at potentially starting a new campaign helping to raise money for our endowment and scholarships, leading up to the college’s twentieth anniversary in 2020.
There were already so many good things already going on when I came. There were some structural things that we needed to work on, and just trying to pull people together around a common vision. As long as we continue to stay unified around the things that matter most, then I think God will continue to bless us and give us all the growth we can handle.
TH: Are there any big changes we should be on the lookout for?
JH: Not any structural changes. We currently have the capacity to increase the student body by fifteen to twenty percent without running out of dorm space or overcrowding classrooms.
As we grow and become more financially stable, there are new opportunities we can add, like starting a pre-med advisory program or adding some deeper math programs that help us spread out to that science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) area. We’re hoping to be able to attract bright students that are interested in STEM.
TH: What changes would PHC need to make to help students who are interested in going to medical school?
JH: We hired Dr. Tracey McGrath to develop the program for a pre-med advisory track. Part of what we had to do is to try to figure how PHC would be excellent in a different way; we’re not looking at offering a pre-med major like we don’t offer a pre-law major.
But since we believe that the core has great value in how to think, write, and sort through problems, you can start with the core’s foundation and add to that the courses needed to take the MCAT (Medical College Admission Test). You could buckle that on the core, and since we know our students interview and write well, we know it could be a unique and successful approach.
Dr. McGrath is helping us figure out exactly how to do that: adding upper-level biology, chemistry, math, and physics classes. All of that would still need to be approved, but she’s developing what that playbook would look like.
TH: If you could say anything to the PHC student body, what would you say?
JH: Keep trusting God. Let him direct your path. Know that you’re a part of a community that loves and wants to see the best of you, and believes in you.
Reporting courtesy of The Herald.
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