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From the Alumni Office:

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

Why We Do What We Do. And Why It Matters.

At Fall Convocation, Religious Studies Professor Ian Bell spoke to a standing-room only crowd in St. Dominic Chapel. Convocation is the official kick-off of each new academic year and the speech by each year’s Eileen Rice Teaching Award winner is always a highlight.

In an address titled “Why We Do the Things We Do,” Professor Bell talked about why he is so deeply committed to Siena Heights—and what makes this place so special.

It all comes down to mission and identity.

Siena Heights is a Catholic university where “faith and reason walk hand in hand,” he said: Unlike many colleges, where education is considered strictly intellectual, Siena Heights actively encourages students “to ask questions about faith and religion,” without judging or forcing the answers. “The encounter with one’s faith—be it Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim or other—is not only tolerated but encouraged.”

We want you to become more competent, purposeful and ethical, Dr. Bell told the students; and to do so in an environment that respects the dignity of all. Why? Because “we desire good things for you”—a good life and the kind of success that is defined not by wealth or possessions but by whether the human community is “better off because of the choices you make and the actions you take.”

He ended with a plea: “Take your identity and mission seriously. Embrace questions of meaning. Explore the arts. Examine the workings of the world. Become a better thinker. If  you do this, you will be able to define yourself not in terms of what you do, but in terms of who you are.” And, he added, “You will know why you do the things you do.”

Read more . . .

From the Editor:

Doug Goodnough
Reflections Editor

What Can You Do for Siena Heights University?

I recently had a chance to meet with our Alumni Association Board at its annual retreat. Meetings are not an unusual occurrence for someone in my position. As director of Marketing, I often have to sit down with various individuals, groups, committees and organizations on campus. In fact, I sometimes think I spend more times in meetings than anything else I am involved with at the University. But it’s the nature of the position.

And, honestly, most of the time these meetings focus on what I – or my office – can do for them. Maybe it’s a brochure. Or a press release. Or a web site change. Or a photo. And that’s fine. Besides, that’s what we’re here for – to serve, promote, support and advance the University.

Towards the end of my update to our alumni board, President Michael Lane had one final question for me, and one that I don’t get asked very often. He said, “What can we as alumni do for you?”

Hmmm. That threw me for a bit of a loop. I didn’t have much time to ponder that question, but I came up with the best answer I had at the moment: to be an “ambassador” for your alma mater. Our graduates can represent the brand of Siena Heights to everyone they meet. That made sense. After all, that’s what someone in marketing is supposed to say, right?

However, that question lingered beyond that meeting as I thought a little more about some possible alternative answers. Just what can alumni do for me? That led me to an even better question: what can they do for Siena Heights University?

Read more . . .

From the President:

Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD President

Going for the Gold at Siena Heights University

We all had the opportunity to view the Olympic Games this past summer. Whether you are inclined toward athletics or not, one has to admire the human spirit demonstrated by so many of the athletes.

How about the runner from South Africa who had two amputated legs as a child who ran and qualified for the semifinals in one of the races?

Or how about the male gymnast who wanted to win so he could make a better life for his family?

And what about the African woman who ran and hoped to be successful so that she could support her village?

The Olympics are much more than athletic events. They are stories of people’s lives and their will to be the best they can be – for a variety of different reasons. Some nights I just sat and watched the television and wondered: what motivated these athletes to do what they do? Some may think that many are just in it for the prestige and the money. For some, that may be very true. But there is so much more.

Each athlete has a story that is most meaningful. The human spirit rises to the occasions in which it finds itself.

Read more . . .