Wow! It’s been another exciting week here on campus. You all
took me seriously when I said let’s have a great conclusion to the semester.
Among the many and varied events that took place was a lecture to WCOB students
from alumnus Brian Hamilton, chairman and co-founder of Sageworks—a company
that provides risk-management solutions to financial institutions and also financial
analysis and benchmarking applications to accounting firms and private
companies. Perhaps the most important part of his message was that family is
his top priority. He shared that his wife had passed away just a few weeks ago,
and nothing is more critical than the needs of his two children.
Students in Lucjan Orlowski’s Wednesday night class heard from prominent Czech economist Professor Evžen Kočenda of Charles University’s Center for Economic Research and Graduate Education in Prague. He was here to present findings of a new markets study on the correlation—or lack thereof—between gold, oil and stocks. We are very pleased that Professor Kočenda will be joining the Department of Economics and Finance during the upcoming 2013-14 academic year as our very first Fulbright Visiting Scholar in the Welch College of Business. He will be collaborating with us to examine the stability of the European financial markets.
On Thursday, we heard from a panel about the life and struggles of Alexander Pierre Tureaud, a Louisiana attorney who passed away in 1972 and was influential in the battle to end segregation.
Yesterday we had a film crew from PBS on campus talking to students, faculty and staff about our Irish Studies program. The show, entitled “Out of Ireland,” will air in the fall.
Perhaps even more importantly, we welcomed more of our accepted students and their families to campus this week. On Wednesday, 150 students accepted into the nursing program were here, and today we hosted 250 students who have been accepted into other health professions programs. Kudos to the staff in Admissions for putting on a great agenda to encourage students in their commitment to Sacred Heart.
Students from the nursing program’s class of 2014 were in Hartford Wednesday for the Connecticut Nurses’ Association’s annual Legislative Day. The goal of the event is to teach nurses how they can directly influence health policy and make a difference in the political arena.
I hope you saw my email earlier today about the student initiative called the Last Straw Campaign. I recently wrote a blog for the Huffington Post where I suggested that rather than a call to arms, we needed a call to voices. In particular, I suggested that we listen to students and thinkers at institutions of higher learning. That is what is happening here. I am extremely impressed with the creativity and passion of these students and their desire to take their campaign beyond the classroom. Once again, I encourage all of you to support their efforts to collect 100,000 drinking straws for delivery to Congress.
I am also impressed with the students and faculty who spend spring break on mission trips. While many of us were relaxing with family and friends or off getting a suntan somewhere, the goodness and generosity of the SHU community was in evidence around the United States and the world. For example, 100 students and advisers from our Habitat for Humanity Chapter participated in the Collegiate Challenge by sending delegations to Louisiana, Indiana, Alabama, Georgia and Delaware. In addition, the Office of Volunteer Programs & Service Learning’s Mission Matters program sent delegations to El Salvador, Costa Rica and Guatemala. The occupational therapy program also headed to Guatemala with the hundreds of pairs of shoes and socks that you all donated, while the nursing program sent a team to Jamaica. I know these efforts were greatly appreciated, and I thank all involved for representing the spirit and mission of this University so well.
Earlier today, I sent out the last of our NEASC student trivia contest questions. Students have until Tuesday afternoon to send in an answer. One of the things the NEASC accreditation team will consider is all the ways we communicate to our many constituents within and outside of the University. Our goal is to provide frank, clear and consistent communications. Some of the ways we do that is through our website, our advertising in various mediums, our programs, our magazine and more. It even includes the things we say to our family and friends about the University. I am convinced that the more frequently we communicate and the clearer we are, the better our reputation will be. One small part of this process was providing an opportunity for the public to communicate their thoughts on Sacred Heart to the NEASC team. I am pleased to say that our request for feedback elicited several very positive comments.
Faculty members should mark their calendars for the Spring Faculty Institute on April 2. Provost Laura Niesen de Abruna has put together another exciting program that includes remarks from Dr. Scott E. Evenback, the founding president of the New Community College in NYC. He has a national reputation for scholarship in the areas of general education, first-year experiences, assessment and learning outcomes.
If you are looking for something to do this weekend, both the choirs and the University band will be performing. Both concerts will feature a special piece commemorating the Newtown tragedy. Our students never fail to provide the highest quality entertainment, and these presentations will be a wonderful lead-in to Holy Week. I wish everyone a good weekend and a blessed celebration of Palm Sunday.