2017 in Review: Major Campus News and Events

As we conclude our annual year in review posts, we take a look back at some of annual events, and extraordinary moments that stood out in the past year on the Hilltop. The Class of 2017 ended their four-year stay, while the Class of 2021 began their journey. Construction continued at the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex, while the college garnered top rankings from The Princeton Review for dining, community service, happy students and campus beauty.

Alumni Hall on the campus of Saint Anselm CollegeFAITH IN THE FUTURE: The Strategic Plan for Saint Anselm College

During Reunion Weekend, college president Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo unveiled the new institutional Strategic Plan, Faith in the Future. The plan, which continues the work of the previous "Vision 2015," was crafted over the 2014-15 and 2015-16 academic years, engaging members across the learning community and external stakeholders in an examination of the key college objectives for the next three to five years.

In it, Saint Anselm College's distinctive approach and abiding commitment to educating the whole person for a full life of consequence and for transforming the world around him or her are emphasized. The document is guided by the fundamental premise that "The world needs more Anselmians."

"The future of Saint Anselm College is bright, but not without challenges,” said Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo. “We must recognize our place among some of the best liberal arts college in the country and see our potential to be greater than ever before. We must come together as one community, with a common vision. We must be creative in building new paradigms for learning that are appropriate in today's environment."

Based on the principles of the Five Strategic Themes of forging liberal and professional learning, encouraging discovery, fostering hospitality, nourishing reflection, and extending the Anselmian Mission, The Strategic Plan is meant to create a clear vision that matches the pace and complexity of change in our contemporary world.

To read the full Faith in the Future Strategic Plan, including hallmarks of an Anselmian education, detailed initiatives under the five themes, and five year performance indicators, visit www.anselm.edu/strategicplan

Saint Anselm Student Center Continues Construction

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Following a groundbreaking ceremony during the fall 2016 semester, the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex transformation continued throughout 2017. During the groundbreaking ceremony, Dr. DiSalvo spoke about the renovated Student Center as “a functional, beautiful, and central hub for all members of our community to experience Anselmian life to the fullest.”

Trustee Roger L. Jean ’70, HD ’06 and his wife, Francine made a $6 million unrestricted commitment, a gift that will make an expansion and renovation of the Student Center possible. The commitment represents the largest individual gift in Saint Anselm College history.

“When you get a significant gift that can transform a campus, it is the leverage for others to step up and do other extraordinary things,” says Dr. DiSalvo. “This isn’t just about the campus landscape; its about programmatic development, about potential expansion for the college in every sense. But it requires others to come forward. We have faith that they will do that once they hear what has been accomplished through Roger and Francine’s generosity, the generosity of our other donors, and the hard work of everyone on campus to make this kind of transformational change happen for our students.”

The projected completion date for the student center project is spring 2018.

Saint Anselm One of Princeton Review’s 382 Best Colleges

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Saint Anselm College was once again named among the country's best institutions for undergraduate education in The Princeton Review's 2018 edition of "The 382 Best Colleges."

The college also garnered the following top mentions:

  • 8th in the nation for Best Campus Food
  • 5th for Most Engaged in Community Service (up from 6th in 2017)
  • 8th for Happiest Students (a leap forward from 2017's 20th ranking)
  • 20th for Most Beautiful Campus (new this year)

Additional ratings of Saint Anselm include a campus quality of life rating of 93, which highlights the range of campus activities and experiential learning opportunities available, as well as the college's emphasis on the Benedictine values of hospitality and service.

According to the profile, students call Saint Anselm a "close knit yet academically motivating environment, with countless opportunities to gain internship and other leadership experiences." "Each individual can thrive in some way," notes an English major, and "be involved, serve others, and have a life-long second home." They are inspired by "the generosity of the monks that serve the campus," and are community service oriented. "Never in my life can I recall seeing such a diverse community of people so well integrated and committed to its success as a whole," notes one student. "Students fit in by being Anselmian."

Move-In Day Brings Over 550 Students to Campus

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On Thursday, August 24, with many boxes, bags and cheers, the newest class of Anselmians moved into the Hilltop to begin their Saint Anselm College careers. The official inception of the class of 2021 brought more than 550 first-year and transfer students to campus to join their fellow students who arrived earlier this summer for pre-season athletics and the Transitions pre-orientation program (571 total incoming first-year and transfer students).

Move In Day 2017

As packed cars and trucks pulled up to the residence halls, many parents were surprised and relieved to find orientation leaders, resident assistants, student-athletes, and college administrators and staff members not only cheering, but standing at the ready to help unload and move the first-years into their new home.

After 2 p.m. Mass, celebrated by Abbot Matthew Leavy, O.S.B. in the Abbey Church, new students and families were officially welcomed to Saint Anselm on the Quad in front of Alumni Hall. Senior Matthew Sargent, orientation leader chair and communication major, advised students to take advantage of all the college has to offer. Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo, Saint Anselm College president, encouraged first-year students to make the college their home, calling upon them to embrace the community, its values, and traditions.

"In a world full of disruption, we pride ourselves on the stability of our Benedictine education and traditions," said Dr. DiSalvo. "And a hallmark of our values is community and a call to serve the common good. Your time here will prepare you to engage with viewpoints other than your own and to be global citizens who can lead respectful discourse for the common good. As a community, we rise above hurtful rhetoric by embracing the values of the Gospel which teaches us to love one another as God has loved us."

"It was amazing," said one mother, Karen Gekas. "It was the best welcome I could have asked for."

Woo Encourages Graduates to Believe in Strength, Trust in God

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On Saturday, May 20 at Saint Anselm College's 124th commencement exercises, speaker and honorary degree recipient Dr. Carolyn Y. Woo addressed 442 members of the class of 2017, offering them advice on the next phase of their lives. As former president and Chief Executive Officer of Catholic Relief Services, Woo led the Catholic community's international humanitarian agency in the United State from 2012-2016. In her address to graduates, she reminded them of the strength they have to overcome difficulties, encouraging them to move forward with the same fortitude.

"All of you are here now, you have come through with not just a degree and knowledge, but with a sense of purpose, you've come through with a great ability," she said. "Never forget the strength that you have when you run into difficulties."

Following the pomp and circumstance of the procession and invocation, Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo, college president, congratulated the class of 2017. He noted the opportunity their class had for leaving a legacy during such a transformative time for the college. "I have been honored to be part of your journey," he said. "Do not underestimate the importance of your voice in shaping the future of our college." Commencement 2017

Student speaker, Robert W. Merritt III, an English and Spanish double major from Salem, N.H., spoke to his class of the unique experience they had as Anselmians.

"Only we got to go to college on the Hilltop—the place we would find ourselves referring to as 'home' (to our parents' bittersweet horror), and the place where we would meet people that would become like family, and help shape us into the people that we sit here as today."

Brazile Urges Unity and Service at Diversity Speaker Series

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Interim Democratic National Committee Chair Donna Brazile returned to the Hilltop on January 18 to speak to the Saint Anselm College community at the college's first Diversity Speaker Series and sixth annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Dinner.

Brazile urged the audience to keep moving, finding their own paths to serve and fight for equality. "We are going to go forward together, because that is what Dr. King would like us to do," she said. "Go to the mountain top and take the next step with grace, humility, and courage."

The inaugural Diversity Speaker Series featuring Ms. Brazile is the result of diligent efforts by the President's Steering Committee on Diversity and Inclusiveness (PSCDI) to advance the understanding of, and commitment to, a more diverse and inclusive community at the college.

College Announces Center for Ethics in Business and Governance

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Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo, president of Saint Anselm College, announced the inception of The Center for Ethics in Business and Governance (CEBG), a forum for research, discourse, and education about pressing ethical issues in the business world. The Center will address the need for ethical corporate governance by drawing upon principles and values from Saint Anselm College's Benedictine tradition of work, governance, learning, and inquiry within community.

"With the support and involvement of the entire campus and the regional corporate community, the Center for Ethics in Business and Governance will become a catalyst in strengthening the college's national identity and transforming corporate culture and practice," said Dr. DiSalvo.

The Center will develop a variety of initiatives, including academic courses featuring team-taught seminars on dynamic and interdisciplinary topics and other student ethics programming. Executive Ethics Workshops and a Prominent Speaker Series offered at the Center will complement and reinforce academic inquiry with opportunities for faculty, students, executives, and political leaders to converse, collaborate, and develop innovative solutions. An annual conference, a Politics, Business and Justice Debate Series, and professional development modules will educate board members and executives in ethical governance and leadership.