Campus Connection, Sept. 15, 2010

The Merciad has partnered with student newspapers at Gannon University (The Gannon Knight) and Penn State Behrend (The Beacon) during the 2010-11 school year.

Our goal is to bring you the most important news happening on local college campuses each week.


Behrend pooch brings Animal Planet to Erie

By Connor Sattely, editor-in-chief

Contributed photo: Ernie, the Counseling Office dog at Penn State Behrend.Contributed photo: Ernie, the Counseling Office dog at Penn State Behrend.Students walking between classes Sept. 8 at Penn State Behrend may have been hit with a different type of quiz than normal: an interview by the Animal Planet.

Animal Planet came to campus on Wednesday to film a feature for 101 Dogs. The show, in its third season, is a “fun crash course about all things dog,” and its producers decided to make a feature about the Affenpinscher breed.

Fortunately for them, Sue Daley, the Director of Personal Counseling, had recently brought in her own Affenpinscher as her office’s new counselor.

“We have a great story here, because of what Ernie’s doing for this campus,” she said. “Everyone knows and loves Ernie.”

Ernie has been working in Personal Counseling for the past year. Students who come in to speak to Daley often get the bonus of Ernie, who particularly enjoys curling up in the lap of a troubled student.

Animal Planet brought a three-person crew all day Wednesday and followed Daley from her home in the morning, to her work several hours later, and around campus in the afternoon.

“It’s been a whirlwind week,” says Daley, who was first contacted about the feature only about a week and a half ago. “My initial reaction was dread. Just, ‘oh, no.’ I hate cameras, all of that stuff.

“It was very unusual for me, but I went into it with a leap of faith, and it ended up being great.”

Perhaps even more impressive than the fact that the channel came to Behrend was the way in which they were received, Daley said.

“The Behrend community really rallied for this event in a beautiful way,” she said. “We lined up students to come in and help, even with busy schedules. Police and Safety saved them four spots – imagine coming in at 11:30 and having four parking spots empty for you.”

Daley’s sister, who lives in New Hampshire, raises Affenpinschers and was the one who gave her Ernie. Sue believes that it was her sister, who is the president of the Affenpinscher Club of America, that directed the channel to Behrend.

“I don’t know how they decided to feature that breed,” said Daley, “but they wanted one that was out there doing something more interesting than sitting at home being a pet.”



By Brenna Peters, Managing Editor, News

Gannon University is preparing for a partnership with the currently under construction University of Madaba.

University of Madaba President Dr. Victor Billeh visited Gannon on Sept. 7 to talk to students and faculty about creating a relationship between the two schools.

The University of Madaba is located four miles outside of Madaba, Jordan. Billeh said the school should be ready for classes by October 2011.

Billeh said that Pope John Paul II talked with the church about setting up the school with King Hussein bin Talal of Jordan. Actual construction on the school began when Pope Benedict XVI visited Jordan in May 2009 and laid the foundation stone.

The University of Madaba will be the first Catholic college in Jordan, as well as the first nonprofit institution.

The classes at the university will be taught only in English, making the university the first school of higher education to have all English classes in Jordan.Contributed photo: President Dr. Victor Billeh of the University of Madaba in Jordan visits Gannon University on Tuesday, Sept. 7. The two institutions plan to partner beginning in October 2011.Contributed photo: President Dr. Victor Billeh of the University of Madaba in Jordan visits Gannon University on Tuesday, Sept. 7. The two institutions plan to partner beginning in October 2011.

The university plans to have seven departments: business and finance; science; engineering; information technology; language and communications; art and design; and health sciences.

The university will be small in size, but the campus is planned to accommodate 6,000 to 7,000 students.

According to Billeh, the university will be the only institution in the Middle East to be run on renewable energy. A geothermal system, which uses heat from the ground, will be used to power the school.

There is one more way in which the University of Madaba will stand apart from other Middle Eastern universities. Billeh said he wants to promote diversity among students – he doesn’t want the school to be made up of just Jordanians.

International students will “enrich the institution’s experience and make it viable, not a local niche,” Billeh said.

Jeff Bloodworth, Ph.D., director the history department, said that University of Madaba has a close, familial relationship with Gannon, one that will aid in a student exchange.

Bloodworth acts as the liaison between Gannon and the University of Madaba. He spent two months in Madaba, where is he is the public face of Gannon.

He said Gannon hopes to have students going to Madaba for a full semester or even a year, as well as having their staff come here to continue their studies.

Keith Taylor, Ph.D., Gannon’s provost and vice president of academic affairs, said that because the University of Madaba will have similar programs to Gannon, there will be the ability for an exchange of faculty and students.

Billeh said he would like to develop joint programs and the two schools could agree on a set of courses where students can move between both universities.

Students aren’t the only ones who can get involved.

“Our relationship is at a faculty and staff development level,” Taylor said. “The goal is to have not only students go over to Jordan, but faculty and staff as well.”