Daemen President Gary Olson, Trustee Thomas Reynolds Provide Insights during WGRZ TV coverage of President Obama WNY speech

Comments Highlight the Importance of the issue, need for National Dialogue on Value of Higher Education


August 23, 2013



Contact:  Mike Andrei

                Director-College Relations

                (716) 839-8472


Daemen President Gary A. Olson 

           Daemen College President Gary A. Olson and Daemen Board of Trustee member and former congressman Thomas Reynolds provided commentary and analysis during WGRZ TV’s live coverage of President Barack Obama’s speech on higher education, delivered August 22 at the University at Buffalo.


           “Today I am proposing major new reforms that will create better incentives for colleges and universities to do more with less, and deliver better value for students and their families,” Obama said.


           “We’re going to have to do things differently. We can’t go about business as usual.”


           The President also announced a directive to Education Secretary Arne Duncan to set up a system, by the 2015 academic year, to enable students and their parents to compare colleges in terms of their cost and quality. Schools deemed deficient could lose federal aid.


           In post-speech analysis on WGRZ TV, Daemen President Gary A. Olson noted that colleges and universities can be part of the solution.


           “There were many good things in the President’s speech. Falling levels of public support for higher education are a concern,” he said. 


           “I was glad to hear that he said that this should be one of our highest priorities. Because I really think that higher education has not been the kind of priority that it needs to be for the good of the nation.


           “There is almost an assumption that colleges aren’t already doing everything we can to keep costs down. We are always looking for ways to be more efficient, to make higher education more affordable.”


           Former Western New York Congressman and Daemen College Trustee Tom Reynolds was also invited to part of WGRZ’s coverage of the Obama speech.


           “Politics is part of this process. I travel to D.C. pretty regularly and the political environment is a difficult one for the President,” Reynolds noted.


           “He’s had a tough summer. Not many wins. Now coming up in the fall he has major confrontations with Congress on the budget, health care, and immigration. The NSA, Egypt, and Syria are also important issues. This (college affordability) fits into the hopper of everything else he and the Congress have going.”


           Olson also said, “My greatest hope is that this begins a national dialogue about the value of higher education. If any issue should be bi-partisan, it should be this one, because this is the future of the country.”


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