As I walk around the campus, I am excited to see that some of the students are already back, and I am looking forward to next week at this time when the freshmen will be starting to move in. Thanks in advance to all of you who will be out in force next weekend to welcome them and help them get their belongings into the residence halls. We will also be holding our international orientation on Tuesday and our transfer orientation on Thursday, which provides more opportunity for all of us to welcome new incoming students.
Students will be arriving this weekend for our annual Community Connections program. This is a service immersion program for incoming freshman—a total of 49 have signed on this year—who join with volunteers from the upper classes, faculty and staff to perform service projects in Bridgeport, while also learning about the culture of this neighboring city. This year’s agenda includes volunteer work at Northbridge Health Care Center, Hall Neighborhood House, the Connecticut Food Bank and others. The students will also do beach clean-up, paint barrels and assemble backpacks for Bridgeport students. However, it will not be all work. They will attend various religious services around Bridgeport, have a variety of ethnic meals, learn to salsa dance, visit Captain’s Cove and more. I hope it is a meaningful experience for all involved, and I will plan to share some photos in next week’s blog.
I want to take a moment to thank everyone who has been working so hard to put the finishing touches on the campus to get it ready for the incoming students. Everything from new banners along Jefferson and Park and the beautiful flowers and plants everywhere to the fresh paint wherever it is needed is making a difference. I also expect our returning students, especially, to be impressed with the progress we have made on our construction projects. The Student Success Center, new residence hall and the football field and track all look a lot different than they did last spring. We have also replaced the Pitt Board Room with the Academic Services and Student-Athlete Development Center where student-athletes can study between practices and workouts.
The College of Nursing has been named among the top 25 schools for nursing specialties by Nursing School Hub. We were honored for our home care nurse program. We are in good company on the list with such schools as Duke, Johns Hopkins and Georgetown. Congratulations to all involved.
Congratulations also to Art Gerckens and his colleagues for being among 24 postal councils that were recently recognized by the U.S. Postal Service for their achievements and creativity in communication, leadership, membership growth, innovation and educational program offerings. Fairfield County was recognized for Innovation of the Year and Education Excellence.
Sacred Heart continues to get recognition in the press. Jim Castonguay, chair of the communication & media studies program, and David Taylor, assistant professor of marketing & sport management, were quoted in an article in the Fairfield County Business Journal about preparing students for media jobs in Connecticut. In addition, several news outlets, including the Hearst papers, ran a story about Katie Burke joining our faculty.
Finally, I want to share an article that was written by one of our students, Kim D’Adamo, about her experiences as a SHU student in Dingle and published in West and Mid Kerry Live magazine on page 31. It’s beautifully done. It is our hope that more and more of our students will be able to take advantage of these international opportunities in Dingle, Rome, Luxembourg and many other locations abroad.
Last night was the annual family night for our Horizons at SHU program. As always, it was an exciting and emotional evening as the students, who now range from kindergarten through fourth grade, show off the things they have learned during their six weeks here at SHU. The Edgerton was packed with family members and friends of the students as well as friends of the SHU Horizons program, including board members and SHU staff. Whether they were singing, dancing or demonstrating their martial arts skills, the pride these young people took in their new skills was clearly evident. It was wonderful to watch their joyful faces and be reminded of how great a difference this important program is making in their lives.
Sacred Heart has been getting a lot of great press lately, and I want to thank the faculty members who have made themselves available to speak with reporters. Some examples include a story in U.S. News & World Report on online programs with a quote from Professor Linda Strong, director of our RN to BSN and RN to MSN programs; a story in the Hartford Courant and other outlets about the great work our business students did for the Town of Fairfield; two fantastic stories in the Waterbury Republican-American about the Biology Department’s work on horseshoe crabs and the use of reef balls for cleanup in Long Island Sound that feature commentary from Professor Jennifer Mattei; a story in the Stamford Advocate about Katie Burke, a top media consultant to politicians and government officials, who is joining SHU as an executive in residence; and a pickup by the Connecticut Post on Director of Bands Keith Johnston’s recent expedition to Haiti to teach music to talented musicians. Thanks again to everyone for making SHU look so good.
The summer often provides a chance for me to catch up on books I have been meaning to read. This year, I have been reading The Road to Character by David Brooks where he challenges his readers to focus on the deeper values that inform our souls, such as kindness, honesty, faithfulness and bravery. I also read The Quartet: Orchestrating the Second American Revolution by Joseph Ellis, which is a fascinating look at the beginnings of this country. If either of these topics interest you, I recommend these books.