Things are beginning to pick up on campus with the arrival of some of the student-athletes, marching band members, student tour guides and others whose extra-curricular activities require an early return. Welcome Weekend begins a week from now, and I am looking forward to welcoming the class of 2018 and greeting the returning upperclassmen.
Before we get to that point, 60 freshmen and 17 upper-class student leaders, along with several faculty and staff members, will participate in our annual Community Connections program next week. These numbers mark a 25 percent increase in participation in this program, which is designed to provide an introduction to various service opportunities in the surrounding community and increase students’ understanding of urban issues. It is also the first time that the University has invested operating funds for the program as it is no longer funded by grants. We strongly believe in this immersion program that introduces students to the rich cultures that can be found in the communities surrounding our campus and also reinforces the importance of community service.
Beau Kjerulf Greer, director of our exercise science and nutrition program, recently had an op-ed article on the safety of GMOs published in the Hartford Courant. You can check it out here.
Congratulations to Professor Marie Hulme who won third prize for her short story, Special Romantics, in the annual national story competition held by the prestigious Hackney Literary Awards. The piece was published in the most recent issue of the Birmingham Arts Journal and can be read online here. This is not the first time Marie has been recognized for her writing. Her non-fiction work, excerpted from a collection of vignettes entitled Love Letters to London, about her life in London as a young journalist for ABC News, was recognized by the PEN Women of San Francisco’s international writing contest in 2011 and 2012.
Bobby Valentine, executive director of Intercollegiate Athletics, and Nick Giaquinto, head baseball coach, recently returned from a 10-day trip to Japan with a group of area 14-year-olds. The excursion provided cultural, baseball experience and community service experiences for the young athletes. The group visited the town of Ofunato, a port city that was wiped out by the tsunami of March 11, 2011. There they had a chance to play baseball in a tournament that included Japanese teams and a visiting team from San Diego. They also experienced the Japanese culture and cuisine, and they did volunteer work that included cleaning debris from area beaches and working with local fishermen and scallop hatcheries. Check out additional photos from the trip here.
Our summer Upward Bound program concluded with a celebratory banquet on August 7. The program takes place on campus for six weeks each summer and includes 12 teachers teaching 17 subjects to 50 students. Classes met from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for the duration of the six weeks. Congratulations to all involved in another successful summer program.
We received good news recently from Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services. Our long-term and unenhanced ratings were upgraded. Among other things, the report noted that the rating action reflects Sacred Heart’s ongoing strong operating performance and good enrollment growth overall, as well as good financial resources for the rating. Not many universities are seeing upgrades of this nature, so we can be proud that we are doing things the right way.
The beautiful summer weather we have been experiencing this year is expected to continue through the weekend, so I hope you have a chance to get outside and enjoy it!