My Final Blog at AMC

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This will be my final blog as President of Anna Maria College. More on that at the end of this blog. With the celebration of Commencement this past weekend, it seems like the logical point to end this weekly dialogue. In other words, let’s end on a high note!

Commencement is always a wonderful experience for everyone. It is a time for our graduates and their families and friends to celebrate their success. It is the opportunity for faculty and staff to see the results of their efforts to educate and support these students in so many ways. And for the President, it is an honor to congratulate each and every graduate and wish them well as they go out to transform the world.

Every Commencement has stories. More than names in a program, these graduates are men and women who achieved success through hard work and perseverance. I know so many of these students personally.   I know what they had to overcome to attend college. I know what they had to overcome to succeed at college. I know what the College did to provide second (and third) chances, to support them academically, spiritually, socially and personally so that they could reach this point. I know the sacrifices that were made. And on Commencement morning, we all see the rewards.

This past week, the results of the Inaugural Gallup—Purdue Index were released. A study of 30,000 graduates from all types of colleges, the most significant result was as follows: “College graduates, whether they went to a hoity-toity private college or a midtier public, had double the chances of being engaged in their work and were three times as likely to be thriving in their well-being if they connected with a professor on the campus who stimulated them, cared about them, and encouraged their hopes and dreams” (Scott Carlson, The Chronicle of Higher Education).

For me, this is research that simply validates what we have known for decades, and why so many of us want to work in small colleges. Because while this research focuses on the role of professors, we know that this culture of support … this nurturing environment … is created and sustained by every member of the college community. When I speak to our graduates, they identify key faculty members who helped them, but also support staff, administrators, counselors … everyone on campus. They recognize, acknowledge and appreciate that everyone cares about them.

So, Commencement is the day to celebrate our students, but also the men and women who work at AMC and continue to live the mission of this student centered institution. Congratulations to our graduates. Thank you to our faculty and staff.

Finally, writing this weekly blog has been a great experience for me. It has forced me to make time every week to read, to think and to reflect. It has allowed me to share research and opinions about higher education, social issues, Catholic education and the Church. Some of you have enjoyed the blog. Some have disagreed regularly. But the point has always been dialogue and discussion. And if it has caused you to think and reflect from time to time, it was a success.

Thank you for your interest and support over the past seven years.

 

(As always, your comments and questions are welcome.)

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Guest Thursday, 24 July 2014