As we enjoy the last couple of weeks of summer before school starts, I am in the midst of moving my household from New Jersey to the rental house in Fairfield where we will live until the new Sacred Heart University President’s Residence is completed in Bridgeport. With Hurricane Irene bearing down on the East Coast, it seems that many weekend plans will become complicated at best, and I hope that everyone stays safe and is well-prepared. More importantly, I pray that no lives are lost and damage from the storm is kept to a minimum. For information about Hurricane preparations at SHU, click here.
I am looking forward to next weekend when the students arrive on campus and the new school year starts. September has always been “a time for new beginnings” for me, but never more so than this year. We have made some important changes ranging from new and updated buildings to enhanced courses and programs. There has been a lot of excitement surrounding the beautiful new Student Commons – and justifiably so. But I am equally impressed with the renovations to the Ryan-Matura Library. The updates make it more spacious and user-friendly. There is even a new café where students can get a cup of coffee or a snack during lengthy study sessions.
I wish all the best for the 48 freshmen who will kick-off our annual Community Connections immersion week on Saturday. They will be working on a variety of projects in Bridgeport next week – from working on the Sacred Heart-sponsored Habitat for Humanity house on Jane Street and serving as teacher assistants at Marin and Columbus schools to cooking and serving at Golden Hill’s community supper. My thanks to the 14 upperclassmen who will be student leaders and mentors to the freshmen and to the staff from Campus Ministry and Volunteer Programs who will accompany the students into the community.
The Community Connections volunteer week is just the beginning of another academic year of giving back by the Sacred Heart community. This year, we have set an aggressive goal to donate 50,000 volunteer hours. I have no doubt we will achieve that and more.
The Sacred Heart community lost two of its own this week with the passing of former President Robert Preston and Trustee Peter Terpeluk Jr. Dr. Preston served as president here from 1986 to 1988, and Mr. Terpeluk had been a trustee since the beginning of 2007. Our thoughts and prayers are with both their families.
Take a minute to check out SHU Athletics’ new video feature, the “Big Red Report.” You’ll see interviews with volleyball head coach Rob Machan and field hockey coach Chris Blais as they look ahead to the 2011 season. We welcome Coach Blais back after a year off for maternity leave. The Report also takes a look at the NEC preseason polls that have been released. Those show the Pioneer volleyball team ranked number one, the field hockey team ranked sixth, and both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are ranked third. Best of luck to all our teams! The “Big Red Report” is available on the Athletics website or on YouTube.