This week we finalized our search for the new dean of the John F. Welch College of Business. We welcome John Chalykoff, Ph.D., who will officially join us July 1. Dr. Chalykoff most recently served as associate dean at Boston University where he was responsible for all academic programs for 2,200 undergraduate and 900 graduate students. He is particularly passionate about new frontiers in business education, and I am looking forward to the impact he will have on our mission, vision and strategic plan.
Dr. Chalykoff was selected after a lengthy search that included consideration of a number of highly qualified candidates. I am extremely grateful to Dr. Bridget Lyons, chair of the search committee, and the other members of her team for the effort they put forth to find the right candidate for this position. I also want to thank those of you who shared your thoughts and provided feedback to the committee. It was an important part of the process. Please make a point of introducing yourself to Dr. Chalykoff and welcoming him to the Sacred Heart community.
Julie Savino, executive director, University Financial Assistance, was in Hartford Tuesday evening to speak before a panel of legislators on proposed cuts to the Connecticut Independent College Student Grant program (CICS). After making major cuts to the program last year – cuts that will continue to impact student aid in the next academic year – Governor Malloy has proposed eliminating the package for private schools in the state that have an endowment of $200 million or more. While Sacred Heart does not fall into that category, we are extremely concerned about the effect the cut would have – not only on our sister institutions, but especially on students from low- and middle-income families who rely on this aid to help them attend the school of their choice. Julie believes her remarks and those of the others in attendance had an impact. Hopefully that will prove to be the case.
We had some special guests on campus on Wednesday when high school sophomores from the Yale-Bridgeport GEAR UP Partnership visited with Dr. Jennifer Mattei for a tour of her labs and a presentation on Project Limulus – a research program investigating the population dynamics of horseshoe crabs in Long Island Sound. The students had a chance to see and touch a horseshoe crab, and Dr. Mattei invited them to join her in the field this summer to tag crabs. Following the presentation, the students had a more extensive tour of the campus and joined us for lunch. The GEAR UP Partnership follows the same group of students from the time they are in seventh grade until they graduate from high school. The goal of the program is to prepare them to enter and graduate from college. Special thanks to Dr. Mattei and her team for making this a memorable experience for these young students.
While the Republican candidates for President were having a contentious debate Wednesday evening, Eugene Robinson from the Washington Post and Tucker Carlson of Fox News Channel were on campus having a debate of their own as part of the 2011-2012 Student Affairs Lecture Series. In an event moderated by our own Dr. Gary Rose, the two discussed everything from the upcoming election and who is responsible for the gridlock in Congress to the stimulus package, foreign policy and the current debate over coverage of contraceptives under the administration’s health plan. My own views on that last topic were recently published in an op-ed in the Connecticut Post.
Wednesday was also Ash Wednesday, which begins the season of Lent. Lent is traditionally a special time of prayer, penance, sacrifice and good works in preparation for the celebration of Easter. The word “Lent” comes from the Anglo-Saxon words “lencten” meaning spring and “lenctentid,” which not only means springtide, but also was the word for March, the month in which the majority of Lent always falls.
Carla Lapelle, associate dean of Student Affairs at Marshall University in West Virginia, was on campus yesterday to meet with Sacred Heart’s Student Affairs staff and with the members of the University’s Alcohol and Other Drug Coalition. Ms. Lapelle, a national expert on collegiate alcohol and drug issues, provided staff and the coalition with a number of tools that can be used to combat high-risk drinking, including activities and strategies to advance campus and community readiness. Her visit was funded from a $25,000 grant that the University received from Diageo, the world’s leading premium drinks producer, and the First Mate Program, which is aimed at educating students about responsible drinking.
The Sacred Heart University baseball team recently took time away from its preparations for the upcoming season to participate in the Read-A-Loud program at the Black Rock School in Bridgeport. The team divided up to read to students from 17 classes, grades K-6. Our students and staff give of their time to the local community and the world to the tune of more than 45,000 volunteer hours a year, and all such efforts are greatly appreciated.
Congratulations to Sacred Heart members of the women’s swim team for breaking two school records on the first day of the Northeast Conference Swimming and Diving Championship. The Pioneers swam the 200 Medley Relay in 1:50.93, and the 800 Free Relay in 7:57.38. Haley McGill, Malvina Reinhold, Liz Bennett and Rachel McGrath teamed up in the 200 Medley Relay to break the previous record of 1:51.97 set at last year’s NEC Championship. Ms. Reinhold, Ms. McGill and Ms. Bennett, along with Meghan Bailey, also swam the 800 Free Relay in 7:57.38, topping the previous record of 8:00.12 set in 2009 at the NEC Championship.
There’s music for all tastes on campus this weekend with Gospelfest on Saturday evening and the Elements concert on Sunday afternoon. Gospelfest promises to be a wonderful evening of uplifting and joyful music with performances by 4 Heart Harmony, SHU L.O.V.E., the UnFOURgettable Women’s Quartet, as well as the Chamber Singers from the University of Bridgeport, the Fairfield County Children’s Choir, bass player Rodger Bryan and percussionist Chuck Saber. The Elements concert will feature performances from the University’s choral, theater and band programs in a non-traditional setting and a variety of musical styles.
This is also Siblings Weekend. Whether or not you are entertaining guests from home, enjoy the weekend!