I want to thank all the faculty and staff who came out for the Christmas party on Wednesday. It was a great way to end the semester. The planning team from Human Resources did a tremendous job, and we had an evening of delicious food, beautiful music and good conversation.
For those of you who were unable to attend the party, I want to reiterate the thanks I expressed to all of you for another successful semester. We had moments of sorrow with the loss of Kaitlyn Doorhy and, more recently, the passing of two SHU icons—Leland Roberts and Ed Malin. But we also had moments of celebration as we welcomed our largest-ever freshman class, watched the Frank & Marissa Martire Business & Communications Center near completion and broke ground for a new residence hall. For me, the moments of greatest celebration come toward the end of each semester when the students present the work they have been doing in the previous months. Whether it’s an art exhibit, music and theater performances, capstone presentations or demonstrations by the communications and media studies students, this is the reason we are here. We are here for our students—to help them learn and transform. Thank you all for making them the foremost consideration in everything you do.
Those who attended the Wreath Lighting service prior to the party received a special treat as the soloists were Allegra De Vita ’11 and Trevor Kelly ’13. We are so grateful that they continue to come back and bless us with their beautiful voices.
I want to take a moment to thank all of you who participated in the Adopt-a-Family program organized by the Office of Volunteer Programs & Service Learning. You have made a difference in the lives of some of our neighbors who otherwise would not have had gifts and food for their Christmas celebration. This type of program exemplifies the mission of Sacred Heart. Special thanks, too, to Chartwells for providing the delivery truck and to all of you who came out to help the Volunteer Programs folks load and pack the donations. I hear that members of the wrestling team and our guests from Mexico were heroes on that front. Thank you all.
While I’m on the subject of SHU’s mission, I want to mention that not all of our students, faculty and staff will be relaxing during the winter break. Several groups will be going on mission trips. A group of five students and two advisers will be heading to Bangladesh right after Christmas, while another group of 12 students and two advisers will be in the Dominican Republic in January. A group of 20 students and three advisers will spend time in January working with Habitat for Humanity in Mississippi. And, of course, we will have our annual Curtis Week program just before the spring semester starts where 17 students and four advisers will work locally to help those in need right here in Bridgeport. Thanks to all of you for giving up some of your break to do this good work.
While I’m saying thank you, I would be remiss if I did not mention those who were on hand during last Saturday’s water main break to ensure that everyone on campus—especially the students—were safe. The break happened during the Irish Christmas Program at the Edgerton, but I’m told nothing could dampen the enthusiasm of those in attendance.
Last Friday, our 23rd graduation exercises took place at our campus in Luxembourg. Nineteen Welch College of Business students were awarded MBA degrees, and four received graduate professional certificates. WCOB Dean Chalykoff conferred the degrees, and Michael W. Higgins, vice president of Mission and Catholic Identity, delivered the commencement address. Also on hand from Connecticut was Jim Morley, chairman of the Board of Trustees. Congratulations to our newest graduates.
Before I close, I want to once again wish everyone a very merry Christmas. To assist with that sentiment, I am providing a link to the IT Department’s Christmas card for those who haven’t seen it. I wish all of you who are traveling during the holiday or the break safe travels with no delays! Whether you are relaxing with friends and family, vacationing somewhere warm—or cold—or participating in a mission trip, I hope your time off is fun and fulfilling. Let’s all come back refreshed and ready to finish off the year with a successful spring semester. Merry Christmas!