Welcome back, Pioneers. I hope your break was fun and rewarding. I am just getting back from time away myself. I have been in Italy and Ireland where I had a chance to spend time with SHU students from home as well as those who are studying in Rome and Dingle. Sacred Heart’s choir performed in Rome over the break, and I was fortunate enough to hear them. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the group to sing in St. Peter’s Basilica. They sang a love song to my wife Sabina and me to commemorate our 25th anniversary. We were very moved.
Many of you were busy serving others over spring break and for that I thank you. Three groups participated in Habitat for Humanity efforts in Virginia, South Carolina and Georgia where students helped build and remodel homes. Four groups traveled abroad. A small group of students went to Costa Rica to work with the Costa Rica Institute of Technology on its Limon Campus (TEC-Limon). They worked at the local school, cleaned the nearby beach and patrolled the beach at night for sea turtles laying eggs. A group of students went to Guatemala to work with the non-profit CERNE Nutrition Center and Clinic. SHU students helped install five eco-friendly stoves. Another group of students went to Nicaragua to work with school children as part of an after-school program and stay with the families. Lastly a group went to Colombia to work with the nonprofit Rise and Walk Foundation, which operates a community center. Thank you for all your hard work, Pioneers.
While the choir was abroad, our pep band was very busy playing at home and away games for our athletic teams. They traveled to play at the men’s hockey games and came home to support the women’s basketball team. They never missed a game. Team spirit is important, and our band, along with Big Red, does a great job of keeping the energy high and delighting our fans.
On that note, I would like to congratulate our women’s basketball team for a fantastic season. You put up a good fight and made us proud. I would also like to congratulate our women’s swimming and diving team for their recent conference success and for being named to the College Swimming Coaches Association of America’s Scholar All-America honor roll. Congrats to everyone!
Our Veterans’ Resource Center (VRC) has opened at Roncalli Hall. The primary purpose of the room is to provide a comfortable environment for student veterans. They can study, meet with one another and relax. The VRC is also filled with information on resources available to vets on and off campus.
Last week, students from 14 local high schools came to Sacred Heart to participate in the annual Junior Achievement Business Challenge. The competition took place at Martire where business-minded students heard from professors about networking and negotiating. They also competed in a business challenge and were awarded scholarship money. We love hosting these events and hope we had some future Pioneers with us.
Our very own Jim Barquinero, senior vice president for Student Affairs and Athletics, was honored at Notre Dame High School this weekend. The high school held its fifth annual Lancer Legacy Gala and awarded Jim with the Sister Marion Rielly Leadership Award. SHU alum Diane Auger was also honored. Congratulations to Jim, Diane and all the honorees.
This week was Pioneers Give Back! The Forever Pioneers, SAA (Students Alumni Association) and the Office of Alumni Engagement sponsored the event, which included initiatives throughout the week to educate current students on the importance of giving back to SHU and the way their gifts are used. Thanks for your donations, big or small. They make a difference.
Tuesday was a busy night on campus. The Joe Carter and Brazilian Jazz All Stars performed the music of Antonio Carlos Jobim, and students, faculty and staff gathered in the Schine for a colloquium entitled “Religion, Psychology and Spirituality: Friends and Foes?” Professors spoke about the gap between organized religion and spirituality. I hope you enjoyed these events.
On Wednesday, the School of Communications and Media Arts hosted former CBS Morning News and Today show anchor Faith Daniels and her husband, Dean, the former news director of WCBS in New York as well as two members of the Parents Circle Families Forum (PCFF). The PCFF is an organization of more than 600 Israeli and Palestinian families who have each lost a family member in the longstanding and ongoing conflict between the two and are now united to encourage peace. The School of Communications helped produce a video featuring PCFF members, which was a great opportunity for our students.
I hope you had a great St. Patrick’s Day. I had to leave Dingle just before the parade, but as you can see in this video, SHU was well represented. While there, I did have a chance to dine with students and visit the aquarium. Here on the Fairfield campus, the Irish Step Dance Ensemble celebrated with a performance at the Edgerton. It was a combination of traditional and non-traditional Irish Step dancing, accompanied by authentic Irish musicians.
Walk a Mile in Her Shoes, a charity event that brings awareness to violence against women, is taking place April 30. The event asks men to walk a mile in women’s shoes. The fourth annual walk will take place at 8:30 a.m. in downtown Fairfield. I really want to see SHU well represented at this important event. I ask all of our clubs, sports teams and organizations—both men and women— to consider participating. We will share more details with you soon.
I am pleased to share that Amish Naik and Priyanka Prabhu qualified for the CT Skills Challenge Final event on April 2 at the Yale School of Management. The CT Skills Challenge involves coding contests.
I would like to congratulate Cadet Anthony Iandoli who was recently awarded the Commander’s Scholarship. Anthony participates in our ROTC program at Yale. Keep up the good work, Anthony!
Congratulations also go out to Tyler Beauchesne who has had an illustration accepted into the Society of Illustrators of New York, a nationally juried annual student scholarship competition. Tyler was one of 254 acceptances from more than 9,000 entries from 2,289 students from universities and art colleges throughout the country.
Be sure to check out the choir’s “All Things Bright and Beautiful” concert, which celebrates the earth and all living things. The concert will take place Saturday at 7:30 p.m. in the Chapel of the Holy Spirit.
On Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., stop by and see some incredible artwork at the Art and Design Student in the gallery at the Edgerton Center. The awards presentation is at 2 p.m. If you can’t get there Sunday, the exhibit runs through April 8.
Most of our athletic teams are playing away this weekend, but our women’s lacrosse team will face LaSalle University today at 3! Go Pioneers!
As we embark on Holy Week with Palm Sunday services this weekend, I hope you take the time to reflect on the blessed mysteries of our faith and find renewal and peace. Have a great weekend!