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From the Editor:

Doug Goodnough, Reflections Editor
Doug Goodnough, Reflections Editor

The Other Side of “The Ask”

Although I work out of the fundraising (Advancement) office here at Siena Heights, but I’ve never considered myself a fundraiser. However, I’ve grown to appreciate the role our area plays.

I like the term Advancement. It rings true. It’s not just “fundraising” or “development,” as some other institutions or organizations prefer. Our department literally “advances” the University on many fronts, including raising money to support the institution.

During my time at Siena, I’ve come to appreciate my colleagues who travel the area, the state, the country—and sometimes the world—in search of crucial resources. Although they often share how rewarding the experience is “friendraising,” I know it is not an easy job.

As a graduate of another institution, my tendency is to recoil when I get a letter in the mail or a phone call from my alma mater asking for donations for a cause or campaign. I’m sure as a graduate of Siena Heights that is not the case with you (!), however, after seeing the need on the other end first-hand, let me tell you that their efforts are worthwhile.

Our high-profile events such as the Siena Summer Spectacular for Scholarships do a great job communicating the need for student scholarship dollars. But there’s so many other “below-the-radar” projects and initiatives that often don’t get that much attention. Let me point out a few:

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From the President:

Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD, President
Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD, President

Siena Heights: This is Holy Ground

The University’s theme for this academic year is Contemplation and Action. This year’s Common Dialogue Day is entitled, “Get Some Perspective,” which grew out of the Contemplation and Action theme.

I have a little picture in my office with a line from Psalm 46 which says, “Be still and know that I am God.” Be still, and know, experience, that I am God. This is what I have come to know as contemplation
in my life as a Dominican.

St. Catherine of Siena called it creating your inner cell. Be still, and go to that place within you where God is and speaks Truth to your heart. That truth that flows from contemplation must be shared with our world, and, I believe, that’s when we are compelled to act. Thus, we can see the relationship between contemplation and action.

But what does all of this mean to us as a Dominican higher education institution? We live in a very busy world where we are bombarded with things that distract us. How do we overcome these distractions and spend quiet time to contemplate and reflect on all that goes on around us?

Contemplation can truly influence our perspectives on things. Let me give you an example. The University recently made a statement about those coming across our borders, offering to assist to educate those who may be college-ready, but also challenging our government leaders to act in a responsible, compassionate way.

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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

Curtain Up! Light the Lights!

Great Theater at (and Beyond) the Heights

If you’ve been to Siena recently, you know the arts are alive and well. At this year’s Homecoming, you heard lots of music (marching band at halftime, Acapelicans at Alumni Awards, choir at Mass) and saw lots of art (John Wittersheim and Lois DeMots retrospectives in Studio Angelico, alumni art in McLaughlin, six alumni sculptures in the new Wittersheim Memorial Sculpture Park). And there’s a good chance you were humming “Day by Day” from the Theater Siena production of Godspell directed by theater program chair Doug Miller ’74. All of the arts are vital to the life and legacy of Siena Heights—enough so that Joni Warner ’83 now works officially connecting our campus with the Lenawee community through the arts.

Today, I’d like to spotlight Siena’s theater program.

For the past decade, one of our most popular alumni events (outside of Homecoming) has been the annual spring Dinner & Theater gathering. About 100 people come to campus—from as far as Detroit, Lansing, Battle Creek and many parts of Ohio—for dinner and the final production of the Theater Siena season. Some people come every year and it’s not uncommon to hear things like “Wow, I saw this once in Boston/New York/Toledo—but this was better!”

That sentiment was definitely buzzing around the Croswell Opera House in Adrian this past summer, when Siena’s Mark DiPietro ’83 directed a full-scale production of Les Miserables with a cast and crew almost half made up of Siena Heights alumni, students and faculty. “We had 300+ people audition,” said DiPietro, chair of SHU’s Fine and Performing Arts division. “They came out of the woodwork for the chance to be in the full, adult version of the show.”

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