Welcome back! I hope everyone had a fun and relaxing break and came back ready to buckle down and finish the semester – while also enjoying everything a Sacred Heart Christmas season has to offer! One critical piece of Christmas at Sacred Heart is reaching out to our neighbors in need. Whether you adopt a family as a department, team or club; donate socks to the drive for the homeless; write a letter to someone in the military; or stock a local food pantry, you will be providing Christmas blessings to those who really need it.
Kudos to our student-athletes on a successful food drive following the Thanksgiving holiday. The Student-Athlete Advisory Council (SAC) asked all student-athletes to bring back a can of food or two from break. As a result, the men’s volleyball team delivered a carload of food to St. Charles in Bridgeport earlier today. Another SAC program led to the student-athletes raising $3,694 for breast cancer research as part of the Making Strides for Breast Cancer program. They made the gift in honor of coaches Bippy Luckie and Nicoleta Mantescu, who are survivors of the disease.
We learned this week that Executive Director of Athletics Don Cook will retire at the end of this academic year. Please take the time between now and then to congratulate him, wish him well and let him know how much he will be missed.
The (now) first- and second-grade students who are part of our Horizons program were back on campus for five Saturdays mornings this fall for some academics and play. The idea is to keep our connection with the kids going in between the summers they spend here. During their final visit, they attended a home football game and were thrilled when the marching band stopped and performed just for them on their way into the stands. They will be back for another five Saturdays during the spring semester.
We also had high school students onsite during the second open house of the semester on the Sunday before Thanksgiving. More than 2,500 students and parents turned out to hear about our academic programs, clubs and organizations, sports, career development programs and much more. Many of them seemed to be very interested in all that we have to offer. It was great meeting them, and I am hoping to welcome most of them to the Sacred Heart community during freshman orientation! My thanks to the admissions team and everyone who participated in making this a truly special day for our prospective students.
Ben Cohen was on campus Tuesday to talk about bullying. He spoke to a crowd of about 400 in the Edgerton Center and then answered questions. Prior to the event, he met with members of the men’s and women’s rugby teams, the Active Minds organization and students from Greek Life. Ben Cohen is a rugby world champion from England and founder of the Ben Cohen Standup Foundation. He is one of the first straight athletes to focus on bullying against the LGBT community. His message is extremely important as bullying is never tolerable at any age or in any forum.
Congratulations to Seamus Carey and Jerry Reid who have been awarded a Davis Educational Foundation grant in the amount of $109,588 over two years. The money will be used to create faculty development workshops geared to more effectively achieving the desired outcomes of the First-Year seminar.
Damon Maulucci and Justin Liberman, faculty from our new master’s in film and television program, will be on NPR’s “Where We Live” program on Monday. You might want to tune in to hear about this exciting new program that will have its inaugural class next fall.
Our Innovation Committee, led by Professor Stephen Brown, has been continuing its work by collecting data from campus leaders, including my direct reports, leaders of the undergraduate and graduate student bodies and the president of the UAA. They are now completing a survey that will be sent to the entire University community. You can expect to receive that survey in January, and I ask that all of you take time to fill it out. The committee also intends to hold public forums on campus next semester. Please participate – every voice is important.
Last night, Sacred Heart’s country music fans were thoroughly entertained in the Edgerton Center by the group Gloriana. This country trio has opened for Taylor Swift and received the Breakthrough Artist award at the 2009 American Music Awards and the Top New Vocal Group award at the 2010 Academy of Country Music Awards. By all accounts it was a lively performance that had fans tapping their feet and singing along.
Those who are on campus this weekend won’t be at a loss to find something to do. From the finale of the Movember campaign to raise awareness of men’s health issues to musical programs by our student choruses and chamber ensembles, there is something for everyone. I particularly want to call your attention to the New England and New York Region Ethics Bowl taking place on Saturday. Among the many teams we will be hosting are Dartmouth, West Point, Colgate, Marist, Manhattan, Stevens Institute of Technology and St. John’s University. And, of course, we will be fielding a team of our own! Come by and listen to the teams square off on ethical theory and moral reasoning.
Have a great weekend!