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From the Editor:

Doug Goodnough, Reflections Editor
Doug Goodnough, Reflections Editor

Dominican “Daisies” In Bloom at SHU

“The memory of Mother Augustine Neuhierl lived on in the prophetic words spoken to the professed nuns gathered around her bedside during her last hours on this earth. She told them of the ‘daisy field,’ her vision of a peninsula in the West dotted white with Dominican foundations; and she reminded them that, though they were contemplatives, their active work would take them into the schools awaiting them.”
From “Amid the Alien Corn,” Sister Mary Philip Ryan, OP.

I love history. I’ve learned from my personal and professional experience there are few things that put the present in perspective and help map the future better than studying the past.

So, not long after I arrived at Siena Heights, I had a chance to read “Amid the Alien Corn,” a 1967 work chronicling the history of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, which, of course, includes the founding of St. Joseph College, now Siena Heights University.

I found the above passage of Mother Augustine fascinating. The title of the chapter was aptly named “The Prophecy.” Her vision of this “daisy field” that she shared with her fellow Sisters, some of whom would eventually travel from New York to Adrian, Mich., has stayed with me during my time here. Even though I did not know very much about Siena Heights at the time, I couldn’t help but wonder if Mother Augustine was referring to—at least in part—present-day developments.

Read more . . .

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

No Typical Alumni!

My first encounter with Siena Heights occurred 25 years ago when I answered a phone call for my husband, Tracy. The caller was a professor, my husband’s advisor, but he hadn’t seen Tracy for a while. I knew that Tracy had had other things on his mind: a wedding, a demanding job, kidney dialysis, a kidney transplant, and then a leg amputation. But this professor didn’t know any of that. He just knew Tracy was close to completing his B.A., and he didn’t want him to quit: “Tell him we hope he’ll come back,” he said. “We want him to finish that degree.”

I was dumbfounded. Who bothered to keep track of individual students and notice when they stopped out? What college took the time to call a part-time guy on the 27-year plan…and encourage him to keep going? Who did that?

Siena Heights did. Professor Bill Blackerby did.

Tracy’s graduation a few years later was another eye-opener. I had attended a traditional liberal arts college and worked at two others; there, a “typical” graduate was about 22 years old. But sitting in the Fieldhouse in 1993, I knew … knew in a new way … that no senior had worked harder to reach this day than my 45-year-old husband. And no family was any prouder of their graduate than we were. What an epiphany!

At that moment, I became a fan of non-traditional education.

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From the Alumni Association:

Mary Small Poore, President—Alumni Association Board of Directors
Mary Small Poore, President—Alumni Association Board of Directors

My Final Reflection

With a deadline looming, I wondered how to pen my last Reflections article as President of the Siena Heights Alumni Association. Then I realized: my experiences in just the past month portrayed the story and essence of this University. As with any good story, the cast of characters is essential to the storyline. Allow me to share a few chapters of this Siena story and its people.

Chapter 1, Theatre Siena: My husband and I, plus 158 other Siena friends and alumni, shared a great evening in late March at the annual Alumni Dinner & Theater event. This affair, always a favorite of mine, exceeded all expectations. Dinner and decor in newly renovated Benincasa Hall was remarkable; and the musical that followed, “Chicago,” was one of the finest shows I’ve seen. Everything—acting, singing, choreography, music, set—was professional. Theatre Siena continues to produce exceptional talent; talent that, once it leaves our campus, goes into the community and far beyond.

Chapter 2, Academic Excellence: In April, I was honored to attend the first (and I hope annual) Scholarship Symposium. Students showcased research and academic achievements in all areas, sharing their knowledge with faculty, staff and the community. It was a privilege to meet these students, feel their passion and see their hard work. The faculty and staff who guided and mentored these students should also feel great pride and satisfaction; they have instilled in their students a lifelong quest for knowledge. I feel sure that many more opportunities will come to these students thanks to the challenge provided by their instructors.

Read more . . .