What a Fall 2014 it has been at Bellarmine, and what a Spring 2015 it will be!
We opened the year with an overall record enrollment, a record number of resident students, and a record number of full-time faculty.
Convocation, faculty orientation and student orientation were successful, and in October, the SuRF Center once again was totally transformed as we presented Knight of Knights 2014, a truly memorable evening thanks to President’s Society members and especially to this year’s Knight, Dame Angela Mason ’80, trustee, donor and friend.
In late November, with a great crowd in attendance, we broke ground atop the Bellarmine Boulevard hill for a historic construction project that we are calling Centro. When it is completed in Summer 2016, we will have a new three-story curved building and a thoroughly renovated Horrigan Hall, which will house Enrollment Management, Career Planning & Placement, Campus Ministry, and many classrooms and offices. While the shell of the new building will be completed and the first floor completely finished and furnished right away, the interior completion of Floor 2 for the School of Business and Floor 3 for the Institute for Advanced Analytics will take place in a subsequent stage as fundraising for the $25M project is completed.
Speaking of the Institute for Advanced Analytics, that exciting new program was launched this September. The School of Business, meanwhile, received an encouraging assessment as part of its AACSB five-year review. In other news, 14-year veteran Dean Dan Bauer will return to the faculty this fall. A search committee for his successor has identified three finalists.
In other transitions, Student Affairs Vice President Fred Rhodes will leave that position this semester after 24 years to join the School of Education faculty and serve as the founding director of our Ph.D. program in Higher Education. And just recently, it was announced that our esteemed executive vice president and provost, Dr. Doris Tegart, will assume the presidency of Cottey College in Missouri in August 2015.
All three colleagues have provided superb leadership and service to Bellarmine, and I wish them every success. Dr. Tegart, incidentally, is the fourth member of my senior team to have become a president during my tenure, preceded by Dr. David House, Dr. Peter Cimbolic, and Dr. Vincent Maniaci.
Student organizations have generated a number of new programs, including the BU Dance Marathon, which raised $9,000 for Kosair Children’s Hospital, and the Bellarmine Illuminaria, an interfaith holiday worship service centered on the light of the holiday season. Both events are sure to become new BU traditions.
The Division of Student Affairs, in collaboration with other campus stakeholders, implemented UKnight – a new “Facebook”-like service that organizes student programs, giving students a central place to track co-curricular involvement, invite peers to events, and track attendance. Its data-mining capabilities allow for a full assessment of campus programs and activities.
Our Student-Alumni Mentor Program, a collaboration of Career Development and Alumni Affairs, has a record 260 participants.
Bellarmine University Athletics hosted the NCAA Division II Fall Festival of Championships Dec. 4-6, our third time as host of an NCAA Championship. Over 1,100 student-athletes competed for national titles in men’s and women’s cross-country, field hockey, men’s and women’s soccer and women’s volleyball.
University fundraising continues apace. Thanks to a strong market, our endowment stands at $52M, and thanks to our donors, the 2014-15 Annual Fund is on target. Over $76M of our $100M Capital Campaign has been raised. We are especially appreciative of recent major gifts from the Luce Foundation, the Reynolds Foundation, Fifth Third Bank, James Heck, and the Humana Foundation (for Analytics).
We will recognize another benefactor on Feb. 6 when we re-christen the School of Communication building as Joseph P. Clayton Hall. Joe, a 42-year veteran of the consumer electronics, telecommunications and satellite communications industries, most recently as president and CEO of DISH Network, is a Bellarmine trustee, a former Knight of Knights, the 1996 Alumnus of the Year and a member of the Gallery of Distinguished Graduates. His philanthropy at Bellarmine includes the Mary Agnes Dugan Clayton Endowed Scholarship, Joseph P. and Janet A. Clayton Field, and Piazza Clayton.
In academic life, teaching and learning are being supported by a complete retrofit of technology in the W.L. Lyons Brown Library, especially with the digitalization of reference materials and the well-received and already busy Lansing Learning Commons. A faculty-wide a review of the general education curriculum is underway, and we look forward to the progress and results of this important project.
An imaginative program has been developed by Fr. George Kilcourse and Academic Vice President Carole Pfeffer to be the centerpiece of the university’s celebration of the Thomas Merton Centennial this academic year. You are encouraged to explore the list of extraordinary events at www.bellarmine.edu/merton-centennial/ and to participate from now through May 2015.
As president, I have had the pleasure of being involved with many of the aforementioned activities and initiatives. Bellarmine has a strong administrative bench that includes Dr. Pfeffer, Dr. Jay Gatrell, Dr. Graham Ellis and Dr. Helen-Grace Ryan, and we will work together to assure a smooth transition in academic and student life and the continuing realization of the University’s Vision 2020.
In the months ahead, I will also continue to participate in community organizations such as the Downtown Development Corporation and Norton Healthcare, as well as national professional organizations. In January, I will present a paper at the Council of Independent Colleges’ Presidents Institute on Bellarmine’s highly successful Pioneer Program, which helps first-generation college students to graduate in four years.
As always, thanks to our readers and donors for your support, financial and moral. We need to successfully complete the Annual Fund, so please help there. And those of you who believe in Bellarmine as the premier private university in Kentucky and the region, and who have the resources, please help us to bring in the remaining $24M in the Vision 2020 Capital Campaign. Onward, Knights!
Dr. Joseph J. McGowan | firstname.lastname@example.org