Geneva College

 

 

A city, a campus, a connection

Photo from The Times/LUCY SCHALY. The Geneva College campus is framed by houses along Eighth Avenue in Beaver Falls. The recent growth of the college has made it even more important to its home city.  
The Times/LUCY SCHALY
The Geneva College campus is framed by houses along Eighth Avenue in Beaver Falls. The recent growth of the college has made it even more important to its home city. 

Undergraduate  enrollment
2006-07, 1,340.
2007-08, 1,360.
2008-09, 1,400 (projected).

Off-campus residency
Students who live off campus, including commuters who live with their parents:
2006-07, 353.
2007-08, 354.
2008-09, 374 (projected).

College employees
Full-time, 294.
Part-time, 136.
Students, 500 (during the school year).

Source: Geneva College
 
By Cory Nealon, Times Staff
Published: Monday, July 28, 2008 11:39 PM EDT
Reprinted with permission by the Beaver County Times

BEAVER FALLS — It was rumored last winter that Geneva College planned to conduct classes at College Hill Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Beaver Falls Code Enforcement Officer Michael Behrens dashed off a notice stating that, if true, the college would be in violation of codes and subject to fines.

The rumor wasn’t true. And Behrens’ brash treatment of Geneva, the city’s largest employer, upset city leaders.

“That really got us going mad,” Beaver Falls Councilman Leonard Chiappetta said.

Council assured Geneva administrators that the actions of Behrens, who would soon resign to work for his previous employer, weren’t indicative of city government.

“We appreciate and support the college in every way we possibly can,” Mayor Karl Boak said.

His comments suggest that city leaders, after years of indifference, recognize Geneva’s importance to the local economy.

With 430 full- and part-time employees, Geneva dwarfs the city’s second-largest employer, Armstrong World Industries, a ceiling tile manufacturer with 163 workers.

In years past, the college often took a back seat to manufacturers and steel mills, which, until two decades ago, far exceeded Geneva’s payroll.

But as the mills, particularly Babcock & Wilcox Steel Co., closed, Geneva’s role in the local economy grew. Sure, it doesn’t pay property taxes, Councilman George Quay said, but neither does Beaver County’s largest employer, The Medical Center, Beaver, in Brighton Township.

Two years ago, Geneva began a more aggressive undergraduate recruitment program, said Dave Layton, dean of undergraduate enrollment. Because of southwestern Pennsylvania’s declining population, Geneva is increasingly targeting students from neighboring states such as Ohio, New York and West Virginia.

“We have begun to cast our net a bit wider,” Layton said.

Enrollment in 2007-08 jumped by 20 students, or 1.5 percent, from the previous school year. This year Layton predicts it will spike by 40 students, a 2.9 percent increase.

He expects undergraduate enrollment to hit 1,600 within the next five to 10 years. He didn’t say how many jobs such an increase would create.

But the influx of students has already exposed the college’s need for more student housing.

Geneva broke tradition five years ago by allowing noncommuting seniors to live off campus, Layton said. At the time, around 30 seniors took the college’s offer. This fall, the number will be closer to 100, Layton said.

The change has freed more dormitory space for the higher number of freshmen and transfer students enrolling at the college. Geneva officials are considering allowing juniors to live off campus to keep up with further dormitory space demands, Layton said.

That’s good news for potential landlords who, to attract students, might improve the houses and apartments they rent, Quay said.

Geneva might someday build new dormitories, Layton said, which would reduce the need for off-campus student housing.

Even so, the construction work and ability to retain more students would benefit the city, Quay said.

“What’s good for Geneva College is good for the city,” he said. “And what’s good for the city is good for the college.”


 

Point of Excellence

Geneva was named a Christian College of Distinction, affirming the school’s dedication to high quality academics founded on the inerrant truth of God’s word.

 
Upcoming Events
SERVICE
Service opportunities in Beaver Falls
Students can work with Tiger Pause and the Dare2XL programs.
CURRENT STUDENTS
Branches on campus
The Christian indie/folk band is kicking off the Three Past Three program on October 23.
COMMUNITY
Living in Color: Steppin’ Up—Moving from Theory to Action
The conference, which focuses on getting involved in multicultural issues, will be held Nov. 7-8.
GRADUATE PROGRAMS
MBA program to host Open House
An information session that includes a complementary dinner will be held at the Cranberry Regional Learning Alliance on Tue., Oct. 28.
VISIT EVENTS
Business Day is November 8
Activities for those interested in business majors include simulations and networking with current students, faculty and local business leaders.