As we continue to grieve for the lives lost in Sandy Hook a week ago, I want to thank all of you who came out for our memorial service on Monday. I know it helped me to gather as a community to express our grief, faith and even hope. I hope it did the same for you. I thank you also for joining with the rest of the state in the moment of silence this morning that Governor Malloy requested.
As we go through the break and reconvene here for the start of the second semester, I am hoping that we can begin to move from grief and mourning to action. My hope is that we as a community can work to ensure that these lives were not lost in vain. Whether it is through colloquia and other programs, fundraising or a call for legislative reform, let’s see what we can do to make a difference.
Along those lines, Sacred Heart is involved with two upcoming concerts to raise money in honor of the victims. SHU is co-sponsoring a concert in Newtown on December 28 at Trinity Episcopal Church in Newtown. The concert will feature The New Baroque Soloists, with special guest artist Christine Buras, and all proceeds will go to need-based scholarships for Newtown high school graduates who attended Sandy Hook Elementary School. The scholarship has been established by the Newtown Scholarship Association. Our own Julie Savino, executive director of University Financial Assistance, is president of the Association and a Newtown resident.
In addition, Scott Aliberti of the Career Development and Placement Center is working on a special event to take place on January 19 in the Edgerton Center. Entitled “Dancing for the Angels of Sandy Hook,” it will be a night of music and dance. Scott is working with Aaron Tolson of the Broadway Dance Center in New York City to organize the event and is hoping to incorporate our own bands, choral groups and dancers into the show. As the show comes together and the talent is finalized, we will tell you more.
Congratulations are in order for Madeleine Monaghan and her team on the recent accreditation of the English Language Institute at Sacred Heart by the Commission on English Language Program Accreditation (CEA). CEA, an international accrediting body, is charged with promoting excellence in the field of English language instruction for second language learners. This is an internationally recognized accreditation that has been diligently pursued for 18 months by the faculty and staff of the English Language Institute. In addition, there were many others throughout SHU who were instrumental in the success of this accreditation application. My thanks and congratulations to all for their hard work and their success on this project.
More than 30 transfer students and their parents were on campus on Tuesday for our new student orientation. They heard from staff on a variety of topics ranging from residential life, financial aid and career development to student activities, club sports and Greek life. Parents received a special tour and had a chance to chat with Dean of Students Larry Wielk. We look forward to having these students with us next semester.
Our Horizons students were back on campus this week for a pizza party and basketball game at the Pitt Center. Thanks to Mark Adzigian for the tickets and to Jim Carl of the College of Education for joining the students and their families for dinner and the game. The kids even got out onto the court during halftime – something I’m sure they will always remember. I appreciate how invested in these students the entire faculty and staff has become. The more we can introduce them to all that a college experience has to offer, the greater the impact we make on their future educational choices.
Let me close with my best wishes to all of you for a peaceful and blessed Christmas and a happy and restful break with your friends and families. We have been through a roller coaster of extreme highs and lows this fall, but I know we will all be back in January energized and ready for another successful semester. To our faculty and staff, thank you for all you do every day for our students. And to our students, thank you for being such a vibrant part of our community. We are blessed to have you at SHU. Have a very merry Christmas.