I always look forward to the beginning of the new academic year. It is a time to reconnect with good friends and colleagues and to meet new ones, and a time of great hope and anticipation of the new perspectives, new knowledge, new experiences that will be garnered in the year ahead as we continue to create ourselves and meaning and value in our lives – so in turn we can serve others and try to make the world a better place.
In this sense, the beginning of school is the gate to the new year that unfolds before us, a gate that welcomes each of us into this next adventure on our journey. How timely and appropriate, therefore, that as we came to campus this year, we entered through the beautiful new St. Robert Gate, and then came up Bellarmine Boulevard to our interpretation of a hill town in Tuscany, like the one where St. Robert himself was born and raised, our City upon a Hill.
This year, we welcomed a record entering class, record overall enrollment, a record residential community and a record faculty cohort. Once again, great teaching and learning is energizing the university, including the learning communities that continue to develop here – the Pioneers, Brown Scholars, Honors Program, Galileo and Eureka.
Those of us responsible for planning the university’s technology future have been busy in a range of areas – from the overall technology infrastructure to support successful teaching, learning and scholarship to the development of curriculum and courses that teach technology as content.
Over the summer, we hired many new faculty and staff, among them a new director to help us comply with all of the NCAA rules and regulations, a new baseball coach and a new director of Career Development. A third Franciscan friar from Kerala, India, has joined our Campus Ministry team, and one of our distinguished theologians is organizing the university’s 2015 centennial celebration of Thomas Merton’s birth, which will include a range of enjoyable and informative programs and speakers.
We have expanded the responsibilities of the vice president for enrollment to include leadership of the Continuing & Professional Studies area, and we look forward to historic growth of this imp-ortant area of adult education.
Fundraising will continue to take a good deal of my attention as we work to complete the remaining $35 million of our $100 million Vision 2020 capital campaign.
In addition to ambitious efforts to endow faculty chairs, our plans include a spectacular new classroom and office building and a major renovation and expansion of the SuRF Center, which will include the addition of a swimming pool. The new classroom and office building, to be located in front of Horrigan Hall with a beautiful glass atrium courtyard connecting the two buildings, will house the School of Business, the Admissions and Financial Aid areas, Career Development, Campus Ministry and classroom space for teaching technology.
Knights Nation, meanwhile, will enjoy the further renovation and improvement of the interior of Knights Hall, which now has new lighting, a completely reworked heating and air-conditioning system, new baskets and more new seating areas. I remain ever grateful to the late Owsley Frazier for his generous contribution toward this major renovation, and to our other donors as well.
In 2013-14, we will continue to celeb-rate those women and men who help create Bellarmine University through their time and talent. As this magazine is reaching you, we are finalizing preparations for this year’s Oct. 5 Knight of Knights dinner, which formally recognizes those whose gifts enrich our university community. This year, we honor the many talents, achievements and spirit of The Bellarmine University Student – and by implication, of course, our alumni and future students.
A week later, Oct. 11-13, we will celebrate Alumni Weekend by, among other activities, recognizing Nick and Gincy Carosi, the Bellarmine alumni who funded St. Robert Gate, and formally dedicating the gate at that time.
With that in mind, I leave you with a quotation from a poem called God Knows by M. L. Haskins. Let us go forward into this new academic year with hope and confidence and con fides (“with faith”), guided by the wisdom of her words:
And I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year: “Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied: “Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
Dr. Joseph J. McGowan | email@example.com