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Calm Before the Storm

August 26, 2011

I have often heard this saying, but it was never more apt than today. On this brilliantly sunny summer day, our faculty returned from their summer activities to prepare for the excitement of a new term. Fifteen new faculty members were introduced and their impressive credentials and experiences complemented those of our existing roster of talented scholar-teachers. While the faculty met, student orientation leaders spread checkered tablecloths on outdoor tables in preparation for tonight’s welcome barbeque for first-year students and their families.

While all seems ready for a calm start to the academic year, there is a flurry of behind-the-scenes planning to address potential chaos as Hurricane Irene barrels up the east coast. We are taking heed and watching the storm carefully, preparing for the safety and well-being of students, faculty, and staff, and hoping that our lives and our educational programs will not be unduly affected.

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SJC at Mohegan Sun

August 25, 2011

Everyone in Connecticut enjoys women’s basketball, especially when we have a chance to see Maya Moore go up against Tina Charles and her Connecticut Sun teammates. The Sun trounced the Minnesota Lynx (108-79) on August 16th, and SJC alumnae/i and friends had a great time in our Mohegan Sun skybox. Cheering for the team, meeting old friends, and sampling delicious food — it was a wonderful way to spend a summer’s evening!

I hope that we will get some fans out to see the Saint Joseph College Blue Jays play this academic year, as well. Check out our athletics website for the schedule of games.

 

 

 

The group from Saint Joseph College enjoyed watching the game together.

The Connecticut Sun in action!

Blaze, the Connecticut Sun mascot

Higher Education and the Governor

August 21, 2011

On August 15, I joined fellow college presidents – all members of the Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges – in a meeting with Governor Dannel P. Malloy and Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development Commissioner Catherine Smith to discuss the role of higher education in the state’s economic well-being.

The presidents were pleased to have the opportunity to talk about how independent institutions help students achieve their educational goals; create programs that respond to employers’ workforce needs; and provide jobs, cultural events and community service programs. In turn, we asked that Connecticut follow the cost-saving practices of 39 other states by eliminating the redundancies in educational program approval.  We also expressed our eagerness to work with the administration on its Strategic Plan for Higher Education, our willingness to engage in cooperative agreements with community colleges (Saint Joseph College has two such agreements in place), and our hope that need-based financial aid for Connecticut residents attending independent institutions will be maintained.

Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges presidents gather to speak with Governor Dannel P. Malloy and DECD Commissioner Catherine Smith on August 15. (I'm standing to the left of the Governor and the Commissioner.)

Classes Begin at the SJC School of Pharmacy

August 19, 2011

Downtown Hartford Just Got Healthier! With this bold statement, Saint Joseph College announced the start of classes at our new School of Pharmacy.  Located in a beautiful and technologically-advanced facility on Trumbull Street in Hartford, the School (our first professional doctoral program) is now bustling with activity. We are all very excited to have the students here; this is especially true for the faculty and administrators who have worked for almost two years to build the unique three-year modular curriculum. Hartford Mayor Pedro Segarra even stopped by for a special tour on opening day.

The students actually arrived on August 8 for a week of orientation, which culminated in an impressive and moving White Coat Ceremony on our main campus. Now they are fully engaged in the serious studies that will bring them into the profession of pharmacy.

Happy Birthday, USA!

July 11, 2011

The Paraguayan military band added to the festive spirit and the feeling of international cooperation.

Independence Day in the U.S. is typically celebrated at the beach or in the park with barbecues and picnics. But this year, while visiting my son and his family, I celebrated by visiting the U.S. embassy in Paraguay. It’s winter right now in Paraguay, so the temperature was a brisk 55 degrees, but sunny and cheerful. A crowd of about thirty visiting citizens gathered with personnel from the consulate to sing the National Anthem and salute the colors when the flag was raised. U.S. Ambassador Liliana Ayalde read a letter from Secretary of State Hilary Clinton praising those who serve our country while abroad.

The Marines raise the U.S. flag during the Independence Day event.

Then, one of the soldiers followed tradition by reading from the Declaration of Independence. Hearing the words of this amazing document while standing in a foreign land made the freedoms and rights we enjoy in the U.S. feel more precious than ever. The ceremony was brief, but powerful. When it was done we enjoyed meeting the ambassador, making friends with the other visitors, and partaking of delicious treats: hot chocolate, coffee, and fresh-baked breads and cookies.

Shanghai’s Delights

March 22, 2011

This city scene is representative of much of Shanghai.

Touring Shanghai was amazing in many respects. The variety and ingenuity of the architecture left me in awe; the city’s landscape is comprised of one amazing skyscraper after another. They twist and reach high above the ancient temples with gleaming steel, glass, and marble facades. I also enjoyed the historic sections of town, with charming parks that offered an opportunity to rest and experience a moment or two of serenity in the midst of bustling traffic.

This park is also a sculpture garden - a welcoming and wonderful place.

I once again appreciated the generosity and hospitality of my Chinese hosts. Even strangers with limited English skills graciously tried to help us find our way, and my hosts spent inordinate amounts of time making my colleagues and me feel welcome.  And I love the food!  The cuisine of Shanghai includes braised, stewed, and spicy; vegetables, chicken, pork, and beef are all available. Fresh fruit and bakeries abound. While, like any city, there are the Starbucks and McDonalds, we went from one outstanding meal to the next in restaurants where our hosts piled the table with many fine dishes.

As We Conclude our Visit…

March 19, 2011

Cool temperatures and warm welcomes greeted us at every place we visited in China. Our guides and hosts represented the best of Chinese graciousness and generosity. We were delighted by the amazing contrasts in new and old, the incredible architecture, and the wonderful opportunities to connect with our counterparts in higher education. Whether it was the virtual reality demonstration at Shanghai Normal University’s undergraduate campus by the sea, the serenity of the ancient Yu Gardens in the heart of the city, the vastness of Tongji University’s library or just the variety of new and delicious foods presented to us, we were treated to one spectacle after another.  Throughout our visit, we were met by friendly smiles from students, especially when we spoke to them in English. They welcomed the chance to practice their language skills with us and they were interested in hearing about our university and our programs.