A Letter from the President
I’ve been spending a lot of time in airplanes of late and, despite always traveling with a boatload of work and a seemingly infinite number of notes to write, I’ve spent a good deal of “air time” reflecting on where we’ve been and where we’re headed. Of course, there is a personal as well as institutional perspective during this more contemplative time of “getting somewhere” or “coming home.”
In addition to wonderfully engaging times with alumnae in Denver, San Diego and Miami, I’ve been at board meetings in Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and — soon — Texas. Last month, 800 presidents of private colleges and universities from across the country gathered in Miami and, earlier this month, the nation’s Catholic college and university presidents met in Washington, D.C. These gatherings offer a wonderful perch from which to assess how we compare with peer colleges and universities.
So far, the answer to “how do we stack up as an institution” is a resounding “pretty darn well.” I take some personal pride in acknowledging the esteem in which St. Catherine University is held, even as I know it is the collective work of many that makes our University such a shining star, admired and respected across the nation.
Such a conclusion of “well-being” is drawn from dozens of discussions with colleagues and unsolicited comments about St. Kate’s success as a thriving, comprehensive University that holds its College for Women as its heart. The data we received from our recent audit and from the Council of Independent Colleges, where our financial and measurable “well-being” results are compared with those of some 700 other colleges and universities, further underscore and objectively reinforce that conclusion. That conclusion is especially true when I consider how threatened colleges for women have been.
I am proud of our results, as we all should be. Compared to many peer institutions we are well — very well. But we should never become complacent or cocky. Good results must always lead to more good energy and new horizons and never to dismissing the many threats in the environment around us.
As I flew home from the East Coast recently, the great blizzard of 2016 was already wreaking havoc. As our plane burst through the snow-laden clouds to brilliant sunshine, I thought how easy it could be to dismiss or forget the storm raging below — a mistake we should never make.
My successor will inherit a strong and good University, but there will be challenges ahead and much important work to do. As we prepare for change and new challenges over these next months, I hope to see many of you. Call, write, come and visit…invite me to visit you!
May the changes that come your way this year be engaging surprises, ones that bring joy, new energy and abundant grace. Thank you for more than I can ever say.