And the Award Goes To…

Communications Team
A collage of photos with text that reads "The Widener 2023 Superlative Awards"

Good evening, and welcome to the Widener 2023 Superlative Awards, where we honor the past year’s achievements, notable events, the people with rizz, and other random things that don’t fit neatly into those categories.

As we near the end of another calendar year, we’re in a giving mood, ready to bestow our superlatives of “best of” and “most.”

(Disclaimer: no formal voting was used to determine winners, and no trophy or monetary award will be given out. We humbly offer bragging rights).

Without further ado, here are our superlatives awards of 2023: 

Biggest Class: Widener 2027

This year we welcomed the largest class of incoming students in Widener history. That’s right. The biggest 👏 class 👏 ever 👏.  

The Class of 2027 brought not only the biggest class to Widener, but the most diverse to date with 50 percent identifying as a person of color and more than one third enrolling as first-generation college students. 

Despite the record-breaking numbers, President Robertson hosted this class – yes, nearly all 900 of them -- for dinner at her home over eight nights during the first weeks of the fall semester to help welcome them and kick off their greatest journey yet.  

Welcome home, Pride! 

Students hold a yellow banner saying 'Class of 2027'

Best Bling: Stacey Robertson  

Bling is in – presidential bling to be exact.  

In April, President Robertson donned some serious drip at her installation ceremony as she was presented with the presidential medallion. While we loved the ceremonial accessory, let’s not forget about the epic inauguration celebrations held on our Chester, Delaware, and Harrisburg campuses.  

We also spotted Robertson rocking a more, shall we say, technologically advanced medallion this fall thanks to Babak Eslami, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and Ryan Mendenhall, a mechanical engineering student. Mendenhall led the project to create an impressive 3D-printed Widener Pride medallion using engineering’s in-house 3D printing technology.

With all that bling, it’s safe to say that Robertson is in her presidential era.  

Two photos side by side show Stacey Robertson wearing the presidential medallion at her inauguration, followed by her wearing a 3D printed medallion.

Most Likely to Succeed: The 2023 Graduates  

This one goes without saying.  

In May, we celebrated our 2023 graduates with a series of ceremonies on Memorial Field. One by one, our graduates had their moment to shine as they accepted their hard-earned diplomas in front of friends, families, and the Widener community.  

From nurses and engineers to health care and business professionals, these grads are top tier. We can’t wait to see the impact they’ll make on their communities and the world.  

Best New Friendship/Partnership: The Philadelphia Union

Widener + the Philadelphia Union = we totally ship it.

This year, the university kicked off (see what we did there) a multi-year partnership agreement with the Philadelphia Union, making us the official university of the MLS soccer team based right here in Chester.  

Besides all the time we get to chill with Phang at Subaru Park, the agreement provides exciting opportunities for our students to get up-close exposure to the inner workings of a top-flight professional sports organization.  

This fall, we hosted Widener night at the Union, with students, alumni, faculty, and staff taking in a match. Our men’s and women’s soccer teams have spent time on Subaru Plaza interacting with fans before matches. And we teamed up with the Union to host field trips for area high school students at the park and Union Power Plant to give them a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to work in sports and the academic paths to get them there. 

Widener President Stacey Robertson and Union President Tim McDermott exchange jerseys

Most Popular Video: Styles that Have to Go  

The mini mic was back out again, roaming campus to Ask Widener all the burning questions. For our most popular entry for 2023, we dove into the world of fashion, asking students what styles they’re just tired of seeing. This year’s big loser: pajama pants to class. 

@wideneruniversity Pajama pants to class? Mullets? Jorts? Spilling the tea on styles that need to go 🚫 #WidenerUniversity #MiniMic #jorts #mullets #PajamaPants ♬ original sound - Widener University

Best College Chef in the Mid-Atlantic: Matthew Clarke

Earlier this year, our own Executive Chef Matthew Clarke earned himself first place in the Aramark Culinary Excellence competition for the Mid-Atlantic region! He went on to represent the region at the national Aramark Collegiate Hospitality Competition where he took home a bronze medal. 

Executive Chef Matthew Clarke chopping peppers in the Widener Dining kitchen.

Most Likely to Support Student Success and Well-Being: Widener's Support Services

When we say “We’re All Widener,” we mean it! 2023 saw new and growing support services for students focused on both academic and personal success. Widener officially became a JED Campus university, helping to cement our commitment to student, faculty, and staff well-being.

We also shined the spotlight on support for our student athletes including The H.U.B. where they can relax, and the Athletic Faculty Advisor Program where faculty not only show their pride on the sidelines, but also help advise in academic matters and balancing busy schedules.  

You already heard that we welcomed our biggest first-year class ever, and with more students came a new, personalized support program just for them. We unveiled our new First-Year-Experience Coaching service to enhance the assistance provided to help first-year students thrive! 

Two students on either side of a JED Campus sign

Best Workplace: Widener University

We all know that there’s no place like Widener, but this year we quantified that claim by being named a Great College to Work For by The Chronicle of Higher Education. Results from anonymous surveys submitted by Widener faculty and staff earned Widener recognition in four categories: Confidence in Senior Leadership; Diversity, Inclusion & Belonging; Faculty Experience; and Shared Governance.

Did we mention the university has been honored through the program six times, including in four of the last six years?  

Just one more reason to love the blue and gold 💙 💛

@wideneruniversity no surprise we were named a 2023 Great College to Work For by The Chronicle of Higher Education 💙💛 #WidenerUniversity #Professors #ProfessorsOfTikTok #HigherEd ♬ original sound - Widener University

Most Listened to Song: Widener Fight Song

Artists like Taylor Swift, Miley Cyrus, and Bad Bunny topped the charts this year (we saw you post your Spotify Wrapped), but the Widener Fight Song is always stuck in our heads! You know it, you love it, you hear it most often performed by the Widener Marching Band at home football games and at Homecoming to hype up the Pride for a W!

Speaking of the Marching Band, they celebrated 5 years in 2023 with a special performance of the Fight Song during halftime at the Homecoming football game with alumni of the Marching Band and previous campus music groups, including the Pennsylvania Military College Band.

Left- modern day Widener drummer Right- PMC band drummer ca. 1965

Cutest Members of the Community: The Dogs of Widener

Behold this overload of cuteness. It’s just too much. 

@wideneruniversity just an overload of cuteness 🐶💙💛 #WidenerUniversity #Dogs #DogsOfTikTok #CutenessOverload ♬ original sound - Widener University

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