As I write this, the students are clearing out for spring break. We will miss them, but wish them all the best during their time off. Earlier this week I sent them an email expressing those sentiments. In that email, I spoke about the 35 students who are spending the break on an international service trip and the 90 who are working with Habitat for Humanity at various locations. Since then, I have learned that another group of 10 students will be traveling to Haiti to help build a road. I have nothing but admiration and appreciation for all the students who are giving up their break in service to others.
We said goodbye this week to our good friend Rabbi Joseph Ehrenkranz, or Rabbi Joe as he was affectionately called around here. He was a co-founder in 1992 of our Center for Christian-Jewish Understanding (CCJU) and served as executive director of the Center until his retirement in July 2007. He will be missed for his wisdom, compassion and friendship.
I hope you have had a chance to take note of the new SHU flags that are flying in front of the main academic building and the Pitt Center. They were commissioned for our 50th anniversary and were designed by Jennifer MacLeman, director of graphic design here at SHU.
My wife and I thoroughly enjoyed the Elements Concert last weekend. It was a fantastic showcase of the depth of talent that resides in all the disciplines within in our performing arts programs.
Once again, we had events and programs to suit a variety of interests this week. These included a forum titled “An Uneasy Peace: Northern Ireland’s Search for Resolution,” where SHU professors and guest Kevin Cassidy from Fairfield University addressed the situation in Northern Ireland; our annual Henri Nouwen Lecture on Contemporary Spirituality, which featured our own Father Anthony Ciorra discussing the discoveries he made about beauty and spirituality while writing his most recent book, Beauty: A Path to God; and colloquia on St. Francis and Bernard Malamud and on moving on from post traumatic stress disorder (PSTD).
This week also saw more than 90 potential employers gather in the Pitt Center to meet with current students and alumni. Sponsored by the Office of Career Development, the fair capped off a month-long series of events designed to prepare students to successfully land jobs following graduation. The fair was a perfect opportunity to make contacts, share resumes and practice those two-minute elevator speeches.
This week was our second annual Student Philanthropy Week. This year, the students were challenged by Gary and Mary Anne Levin ’78 to raise $5,000, which the Levins would match dollar for dollar. The students blew through that goal, raising a total of $6,700 to date—and the campaign continues through the end of March. Donors from the class of 2014 will be recognized in the commencement program. Like last year, the students also tagged various items around campus as a visual to help all of us understand how much we rely on our generous donors. They also signed more than 1,500 thank-you postcards to be sent to donors. It’s great to see the students appreciating the gifts we have received from faculty, staff, alumni and other friends of the University and, especially, to see their desire to give back themselves.
Earlier this week, members of Kappa Sigma fraternity sponsored an event called America 4 Boston where they invited members of the SHU community to design a canvas square with thoughts, wishes or prayers for victims of the Boston Marathon bombing and their families. The squares will be connected together and presented before an upcoming Boston Red Sox game. Yesterday, members of the Iota Tau Chapter of Delta Tau Delta hosted a White Ribbon Campaign event, with a goal of increasing awareness of and ending abuse against women. I had the opportunity to join Fairfield’s first selectman Mike Tetreau in speaking at this worthwhile event. The fraternity partnered with Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport on the initiative and joined with Fairfield to make it a town-wide event.
Our Horizons program is registered for the Fairfield Community Foundation Day of Giving on March 7. Whichever registered organization garners the most online donations of $10 or more that day will win $25,000. Whether we win or lose that competition, your gift will support this great program for the Bridgeport children you see around campus during the summer.
If you are as ready for spring as I am, you might want to celebrate with the latest T-shirt offering from our student-run business, Heartfelt Designs. Not only will you be stylishly dressed, but you will be supporting our students who participate in the international mission service trips.
Enjoy the weekend!