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From the Alumni Office:

Jennifer Hamlin Church, Associate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations
Jennifer Hamlin Church, Associate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations

“So in the deepest gratitude for years that too
swiftly fly…”

As I write, the glow of Homecoming 2015 still surrounds me and my mind is filled with recollections of rain, sun, snowflakes, fun, inspiration and re-connection:

  • the powerful testimony of alumni award winners Lois Hueneman Chazaud ’49, Jacqueline Battalora ’88, Michael Donovan ’75 and Honorary Alumna Deb Carter;
  • the laughter and liveliness of tailgates and tailgate trophies;
  • the energy of athletes—varsity, alumni, and Hall of Famers;
  • the inquiring minds of faculty, students and alumni at the Coffee Curriculum;
  • the creativity of SHU musicians (Acapelicans, Choir, Band), actors (the cast of Urinetown), and artists (Kelly Papcun Burke ’07, Brett Lawrence ’95);
  • and upholding it all, the Dominican foundation of faith; of competence, purpose and ethics; of respect for the dignity of all—and a Homecoming Mass presided over by Fr. Dan Lannen ’05 and SHU chaplain Fr. John Grace.

It was all there at Homecoming. Go, Saints.

Actually, that same mix—learning and laughter, faith and creativity, energy and inquiry—has defined my experience of Siena Heights over the past 20 years. What a couple of decades! In that time, Siena changed from SHC to SHU. Inaugurated Rick Artman and Sister Peg Albert, OP, as the 9th and 10th presidents. Built football and baseball stadiums, a university center, campus apartments, and a small living community. Added football, lacrosse and bowling in athletics. Added sport management, nursing and engineering in academics. Established degree-completion sites in Lansing, Jackson and Dearborn. Built one of the nation’s best online programs.

In the alumni area, in those same years, we expanded old traditions and established new ones: Kente, Alumni Awards, tailgating, Dinner & Theater, the 50th Reunion, Toledo Mud Hens, SW Michigan holiday gathering, Alumni Board engagement…and lots more.

Go, Saints, indeed!

Siena Heights is a special place with a rich history, remarkable alumni, and a uniquely Adrian Dominican heart and soul. If you believe in SHU as I do—not only its past and present but also its future—find a way to support this place. Because it is, and always has been, people who make the difference at this school that still believes “you can change the world.”

It’s been a privilege, and certainly my pleasure, to work with Siena Heights alumni since 1995. Stay in touch (I’m keeping my email address). You made me an honorary alumna so I’ll be back—but more relaxed and without a clipboard—at Homecoming next year; and at the 100th anniversary in 2019. Best wishes to incoming Alumni Director Jenny Engle ’12, ’15/MA. And now, changing the lyrics of the Alma Mater just a bit:

“…I rise and give my thanks to you, as I say goodbye.”

Jennifer A. Hamlin Church
Associate VP for Advancement & Director of Alumni Relations

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