On Wednesday, we held our annual New Student Convocation, which provided an opportunity for us to welcome the class of 2018 and our incoming transfer students. As has been the case with the beginning of this academic year, it was a bittersweet event as we honored the memory of Kaitlyn Doorhy, but also celebrated everything a new year brings—the chance to set new goals, make new friends, try a new club or sport. We were honored to have Governor Dannel Malloy take time from his busy schedule to welcome the new students and share the obstacles he overcame—and the help he received from teachers and his mom—to succeed in college and law school.
I want to take a moment to also welcome new faculty and staff members and say welcome back to the upperclassmen and the rest of the faculty. I’m looking forward to seeing each of you in person. Let’s make this an exciting and successful year!
Our year is already off to a great start with the news that Marie Hulme and Jaya Kannan have received a 2014 Sloan-C Effective Practice Award for the SHUsquare project. The award will be presented at the National Conference on Online Learning in Orlando this October. Congratulations to Marie, Jaya and all who were involved with the SHUsquare project.
We also learned yesterday that Jaclyn Smith, captain of the rowing team, led her team to a silver medal at the 2014 World Rowing Championships in Amsterdam. Team USA crossed the finish line in 3:25.49, just five seconds behind first place Great Britain. This is Jaclyn’s second straight appearance at the World Rowing Championships. Congratulations, Jaclyn! We are very proud of you!
Sacred Heart was mentioned on the Rough Guides website in a story about medical study-abroad trips. SHU offers a variety of study abroad experiences from service learning trips to educational courses for credit, and I encourage all our students to take advantage of these if you can. In today’s global marketplace, experience abroad is a tremendous advantage when you begin your job search. If you are interested—and even if finances are a concern—I suggest you talk to the folks in the Office of Global Affairs. They have had success with Project Travel, a company we use as a partner for students to fund their study abroad programs. They specialize in crowd funding online for educational travel, and several SHU students have successfully raised money for their travel. Go abroad, and send me a postcard!
We had a successful Community Connections program this year with the largest group of students ever—60 freshmen and 17 upperclassmen—participating. Through their many projects and programs, the students had a chance to get to know our neighbors in Bridgeport, including those nearby in the North End. The students did some clean-up projects there and distributed brochures about our North End partnership that includes discounts to various cultural and sporting events here on campus. Thanks to Tom McCarthy, Amy Marie Vizzo-Paniccia and Michelle Lyons of the Bridgeport City Council who helped us develop the North End partnership.
Yesterday, Gary Rose, Dom Pinto, Roberta Staples and Matthew Kaye took the ice bucket challenge for ALS. Thanks to Chartwells for providing the biggest ice buckets I have seen in any of the numerous online videos of this chilly challenge. The four have challenged the rest of the SHU community to dunk themselves in ice water next Wednesday at 2 p.m. on 63’s patio. I believe the idea is that you take the challenge and donate at least $10, or you refuse the challenge and donate at least $100. As of this morning, the ALS Association announced it had received more than $100 million in donations as opposed to $2.8 million during the same time period last year (July 29 to August 29). These gifts are providing hope to those afflicted with this devastating degenerative disease. To see additional photos, click here.
I know that parking is not a popular topic these days, but I would be remiss if I did not thank Mike Trimble and Paul Healy for the yeoman’s job they did to quickly find solutions once we learned we would not be able to use the North lot for the next few years. They arranged for alternative places to park, put a plan together, communicated the plan and delivered the hangtags and decals in an extremely short period of time. Thanks again to all of you for your patience and cooperation during this challenging time.
We announced earlier this week that the administration building had been renamed Melady Hall. It is a fitting tribute to a former president who made a huge difference during his 10-year tenure here. So, keep in mind that when you come to see me in my office, you now will be coming to Melady Hall!
We lowered the SHU flag to half-staff today to honor the memory of Kaitlyn Doorhy on the day of her funeral. We also rang the Chapel bells at the time her services began. I am hoping this will become a SHU tradition whenever we are mourning the loss of a member of our community.
Speaking of traditions, I want to encourage those of you who plan to attend tomorrow’s football game against Marist to join the marching band in one of their traditions. They gather at the Chapel 45 minutes before kickoff to offer a musical blessing by playing Eternal Father and Amazing Grace before marching up the hill to Campus Field. All are welcome to join them tomorrow at 5:15. We would like to see a large crowd coming up the hill with the band before each home game.
In addition to the football game, the field hockey team is taking on Villanova tonight at 7 p.m., and the women’s soccer team plays St. Peter’s on Sunday at 1 p.m. Get outside in this beautiful weather and cheer on your fellow Pioneers!
Enjoy the long holiday weekend!