A Thanksgiving Reflection

Dr. Steven and Eileen DiSalvoAs we gather with friends and family to share a meal of Thanksgiving this week, we celebrate coming together, even as we reflect on the uncertain times in which we find ourselves. I urge you to always celebrate that which unites us, working together to understand and overcome our differences. We must move forward with faith – exhibiting pride, dignity and respect for all.

The Rule of Saint Benedict reminds us to “listen with the ear of your heart.” We are blessed to be part of a community founded on that core belief and our college remains committed to making the world a more compassionate place, guided by, and forever thankful to, our Benedictine community.

As we give thanks to God for the blessings that we each have received, may we be forever mindful of those who are less fortunate, particularly in the holiday season ahead, and offer our charity to those in need. May we live our mission and its bedrock values of solidarity and sharing in our thoughts and our actions towards others.

Let us also pray for those who have provided so much for our Anselmian community. This will long be remembered as a transformative year for Saint Anselm College, as faculty, staff and benefactors invested generously in the future of our students and our campus. For their commitment and ours, to respect and understanding in our community and everywhere, we offer thanks today, and every day.

From our family to yours, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.

Dr. Steven and Eileen DiSalvo

A Transformative Moment: The Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex

A rendering of the expansion and renovation of the Student Center Complex

The Saint Anselm College community will gain a dynamic new gathering place in the very center of campus, with a lead unrestricted gift making the expansion and renovation of the Student Center possible. The gift was announced by President Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D. during a groundbreaking ceremony. Read more »

The renovation and expansion of our Student Center truly represents a transformative moment for Saint Anselm College. Since it’s completion in 1960, this building has provided space for a rich tapestry of campus life, fostering the spiritual, academic and social development of our students.

However, the time has come to reimagine this integral facility. Thanks to the thoughtful work of countless individuals (including representatives from the monastic community, the faculty, the student body and staff), the new Student Center will create a functional, beautiful, and central hub for all members of our community to come together and experience Anselmian life to the fullest. A thematic floorplan will unite offices and programs for a collaborative fusion of projects, ideas and resources.

The top floor will be devoted to academic success including the Academic Resource Center, while the lower level will become a hub of student engagement, with dedicated space for student clubs and organizations as well as the Student Government Association.

However, the most compelling and exciting portion of this project is what will become of the main floor. The main floor will be dedicated to programs at the core of the college’s mission. The offices of Campus Ministry, the Meelia Center for Community Engagement, the Father Jonathan DeFelice Multicultural Center and the Career Development Center will come together in this space, providing new and exciting opportunities to incorporate our Catholic, Benedictine values and ethos into the life of our student body.

Thanks to a substantial additional gift, we will be able to relocate the Bookstore here, as well as adding a new cafe, which will be managed by our in-house Dining Services staff. Stoutenburgh Gymnasium will be connected via a walkway to the Student Center, making this a true complex in the heart of our campus.

This is a significant project that is already years in the making, and I want to thank our incredible partners who are helping to bring it to fruition. The college has worked with BHDP Architecture, known for its designs in higher education for over 75 years, as well as Derck & Edson, a renowned land planning, site design and civil engineering firm, for the architecture and landscape design of the complex. Eckman Construction, a long-time partner of the college, which has built many of the buildings on campus, will once again serve as the Construction Management Company.

The hard work of the design and planning teams has made it possible for us to break ground here today; so too has the remarkable dedication of those who have been unsparing of both time and resources to bring us to this point. I want to acknowledge in particular Rich Meelia, for his continued and excellent leadership as campaign chair, and also for his extremely generous leadership gift to the campaign. Rich has been instrumental on every level to making this project a success, and we are privileged to have him to guide us on the path forward.

And now the time has come to acknowledge a couple without whose extraordinary commitment and support we would not be here today.

It is fitting that our lead donor was a student of Saint Anselm College himself. A native of Manchester, he was raised by working class parents – and helped finance his education by working 30 hours a week in a retail job he acquired at age 16.

A member of the Class of 1970, his life has been guided by uncompromising ethical standards that have seen him through multi-million-dollar decisions and complex corporate mergers.

He retired in 2006 as Executive Vice President at Liberty Mutual and as President of its Regional Agency Markets, after a 35-plus year career in the insurance industry. A trustee of the college since 1998, his contributions to Saint Anselm were already immeasurable long before committing to this project.

He found a spiritual home in the Abbey Church, and a wife who also embodies the characteristics of the best Anselmians among us. Together, they travel the world, but return frequently to the Hilltop, where their distinguished legacy of giving is founded on the basis that no qualified student should be denied a Saint Anselm education because of financial need.

It should be no surprise that the couple have established an endowed scholarship, and their continued stewardship at the college has supported numerous annual scholarships and endowed funds.

They describe the Student Center as a “catalyst for the college to challenge itself,” and it is with great faith in the future that we commit today to doing so. This gift will transform the center of our campus, and our deepest thanks and appreciation go out to those who have made it possible.

By committing six million dollars to the capital campaign, the largest individual gift in the history of the college, they have provided us with the unrestricted resources that made it possible to launch this project, which will forever enrich the landscape of our campus and the experience of our students.

It is my distinct honor and privilege to introduce Mr. and Mrs. Roger and Francine Jean, and welcome you to the future Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex.

Welcome Home, Class of 2020

Dr. DiSalvo greets students and families at Move In DayMembers of the Class of 2020, Parents, Relatives and Friends,

Welcome to Saint Anselm College! Today you have experienced a taste of true Anselmian hospitality. There may still be some bags to be unpacked and a poster or two to hang on the walls. But savor this moment, for you are now a proud member of the Class of 2020.

Many members of our Saint Anselm College family took part in making today a success – from the Orientation Leaders and Resident Assistants, to Student Affairs, Physical Plant, Dining Services and the athletic teams who assisted with the move-in process. Please join me in thanking everyone who helped make your first day on campus a great one.

Every day, we are reminded that the world needs more Anselmians. When we turn on the television or look at our smartphones, too often there are news alerts notifying us of turmoil and unrest. Despite the grave challenges facing our nation and our global society, I have great faith and hope for the future, because there are thousands of Saint Anselm graduates working every day to make the world a better place. Soon, you will be counted among their ranks.

Among you are future scientists and police officers, doctors and politicians, business men and women, teachers, scholars and at least a handful who will go on to succeed in careers that have yet to be imagined. For more than 125 years, Saint Anselm College has educated young men and women to lead lives of meaning with creative minds and generous spirits. Now, it is your turn.

You have arrived here as a member of one of the most diverse and academically talented classes that we have ever enrolled at the college. It is my sincere expectation that you will find your time at Saint Anselm to be inclusive, and full of opportunity. Please know that everyone on this platform, and every member of the faculty, staff and monastic community is here to help you succeed.

It is our desire that over the next four years – and yes that is the goal – just four years – you will challenge yourself both in and out of the classroom to grow personally and make our community stronger. So get involved. Join a club. Take risks. And ask for help when and if you need it.

I hope you also take advantage of the countless opportunities on this campus to volunteer and serve others in the best Anselmian tradition. Take a class with a service learning component, get involved at the Meelia Center for Community Engagement and participate in a winter or spring break alternative trip. Be giving of your time and resources.

And don’t be surprised if you become inspired by your peers. Particularly when it comes to acts of selfless giving. As we speak, nearly 50 upperclassmen are walking 130 miles to campus, from Lewiston, Maine to begin the academic year. For the eighteenth year, “Road for Hope” is raising funds and awareness for charities along their route, walking with the belief that “every footstep makes a difference.”

I encourage you to greet these walkers at the main entrance to campus on Saturday afternoon when they complete their eight-day journey.  And this note to mom and dad: don’t be surprised when your son or daughter calls on Sunday and says they want to do the walk next year! Many moments like that will happen  over the next four years. Embrace them.

In a few short days, we will gather for a banquet in Davison Hall. At that time, the class pennant will be raised to the rafters, and the Class of 2020 will take its place in our storied college history. And so begins your collective and individual journey towards earning a Saint Anselm College degree.

This is not an easy task; in fact the academic rigor is meant to be a challenge. It requires hard work, time management, work-life balance and perseverance. We will work with you to keep you on track, but ultimately it is YOUR responsibility. And parents, we need your help to insure a successful four-year journey. Since we are not allowed to share personal information unless students sign a release, you too must ask the necessary questions. Do you have enough credits to graduate on time? Have you taken the required courses? Will you be walking down this center aisle in four years to receive your diploma? Students, we all want you to succeed. If you hit a stumbling block, and most of you will, we are here to help you. DO NOT WAIT until it is too late.

Finally, there are three things I would ask you to keep in mind as you begin your academic studies at Saint Anselm College.

The first is Friends. It is critically important that you make at least three close friends this semester. These are friends you can lean on when the going gets tough and celebrate with during the best of times. Friends you can spend time with eating, meeting and greeting. Friends with whom you may play a sport, do community service projects, participate in theater or politics. Friends that will last a lifetime.

The second is Family. Please remember to call home. Or at least send a text message. This newfound freedom is a luxury. Do not forget that your family is always there for you. Time passes quickly, especially in college. Thank your family for all they have done to help you along the path that has led you here today. In a few moments it will be time to say goodbye to one another. It marks a moment when you must say three simple words to your parents and loved ones. Three words that we sometimes take for granted. Three words that express your deepest gratitude. They are NOT “Please Send Money.” The three words are I Love You.

Finally, there is Faith. Your faith will be strengthened at Saint Anselm College because our community is rooted in our Benedictine tradition. No matter what your religious denomination may be, find a way to strengthen your own spirituality. Make time to attend liturgies. Participate in retreats or community service. Take time for personal reflection. Treasure the beauty of this campus. Your future will be shaped in large part by the development of your faith- not only in a higher power, but in yourself and in others.

I look forward to getting to know each of you over the course of the journey that this class is beginning together today;  in just four short years we will gather again in this very place to celebrate your commencement. Today I congratulate you on your arrival. Starting right now, you now have about 48 months to figure out what comes next!

Class of 2020: Welcome and Congratulations. Be active participants in your collegiate experience. And remember there are three simple things to treasure: Friends, Family and Faith. Parents and family members, we hope to see you at Family Weekend in October. I wish you all Godspeed as you return to a quieter home.

May God Bless the Class of 2020. And may His blessings be upon us all as we embark on these next four years together.