I want to start this week by welcoming everyone back from Easter break. We are in our final run of the semester with commencement right around the corner. It doesn’t seem that long ago that we were gathered in the Pitt Center welcoming the class of 2017 to campus.
Despite the short week of classes, we had a lot going on here this week. Tuesday was the Faculty Institute that takes place each semester. This time, it included a special academic convocation where an honorary degree was awarded to noted author, scholar and human rights activist Conor Gearty. Conor was also the keynote speaker for the Institute on the subject of “Global Awareness and Terrorism.” During his talk, he pointed out the way in which broader global understanding changed the way that people thought about that idea. This broadening of thinking is what we mean at Sacred Heart when we talk about global awareness as a necessary learning outcome for students in the 21st century.
On Wednesday, we kicked off a series on women in leadership titled “Women Can Have it All.” The series is hosted by University Trustee Linda McMahon, and the first guest was her daughter, Stephanie, who serves as chief brand officer for World Wrestling Entertainment—the family’s company. She had plenty of great advice for the young women—many from the Welch College of Business—who packed the Schine Auditorium for this event. Among her many suggestions were to line up as many internships as possible, find a mentor and avoid the pitfalls that come with social media. If you missed it, you can see a video of the event here.
Other events on campus this week included a talk by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, author of Planned Obsolescence: Publishing, Technology, and the Future of the Academy; a French film discussion; a program with Fairfield native Dylan Connor featuring his protest songs; an Interfaith Conference on the beauty of nature in the Jewish, Christian and Muslim traditions; and a Veterans Night of the Arts, presented by Hearts United, with poetry, music and drama from a group of talented veterans.
We are in the midst of our mid-term review of the University’s strategic plan. We have already made the decision to extend the five-year plan into 2017. Senior leaders have also made recommendations for updating the five goals to reflect internal and external changes since it was finalized 2 ½ years ago, and these have been shared with the original subcommittees for each goal. We are now looking for feedback from the entire University community. The changes were outlined in an email from Rupendra Paliwal earlier this week. You can provide your feedback to him via email, or you can attend an open meeting in the Pitt Center Board Room either Monday from 2-4 p.m. or Thursday from 1-3 p.m. These goals are critical to our success, and we need everyone to be invested in them.
This week, the Athletics Department announced that our student-athletes have donated 12,919 hours of community service during the 2013-14 academic year. Not only did this surpass their goal of 10,000 hours, but it is almost double the amount of hours served during the 2012-13 academic year. We will announce the total number of hours contributed by students, faculty and staff soon, but our athletes have gotten us off to a great start!
I hope you had a chance to stop by the Academic Festival in University Commons today. It’s a great opportunity to see the research and projects that students have been working on all year. The range of subjects is fascinating, and the students are eager to show off their expertise by explaining their process and answering your questions.
Today is the final event for admitted students, and more than 200 students and their families are on campus to find out about the opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities such as Greek Life, clubs, student government, club sports and more.
Tonight is our annual Relay For Life event, which is organized by a student group to raise money for cancer research. The event starts at 6 p.m. in the Pitt Center and continues for 12 hours. I encourage you all to stop by at some point to support the students and the cause. In honor of SHU’s 50th anniversary, the team has set an aggressive fundraising goal of $50,000. So far, they have raised over $35,000, but they still have a way to go. If you are unable to attend the event, but would still like to support the cause, you can do so here.
I’m sure you all are aware that Popes John XXIII and John Paul II will be canonized as saints this weekend. Our local expert, Dr. Michael Higgins, can be heard on this subject in a one-hour documentary on CBC IDEAS this evening. In addition, an article he wrote on the subject appeared in The Globe and Mail today and can be found here.
In addition to the Relay For Life event this evening, there is something for all musical tastes on campus this weekend. This evening the Faculty Brass Quintet presents “Music for Brass and Organ” in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit. Tomorrow SHU L.O.V.E. will present a pops concert, and the instrumental chamber ensembles will perform Sunday afternoon.
Whatever you decide to do, enjoy the weekend!