A Season of Thanksgiving

Dr. Steven and Eileen DiSalvoDear Members of the Saint Anselm College Community,

Soon, we will gather with friends and family to share a meal of Thanksgiving and celebrate the abundance of good things God has provided us. As you enjoy a few days away from the Hilltop, I hope that you will join me in pausing to reflect on the many blessings we share at Saint Anselm College. How very fortunate we are to be part of a caring community that is so deeply committed to faith, learning, service, truth, respect and love.

May we continue to be guided by God's calling to serve others. I am grateful for the care and compassion of our students, the dedication and inspiration of our faculty, and the warmth and generosity of our benefactors. I ask that you join me in giving special thanks to the talented staff of the college, who are instrumental in  supporting those who live, teach, and learn on our campus each day.

Faith, Hope, and Love, St. Paul assures us, are the three things that endure and the greatest of these is love. At Thanksgiving, I pray we continue to rededicate ourselves to leading faithful lives, to renew ourselves with God’s gift of unlimited hope for the future and to recommit ourselves to spreading God’s unending love for us to others.

May the blessings of our Lord be with you and those you love.

From our family to yours, we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving.
Dr. Steven and Eileen DiSalvo

Welcome, Class of 2021!

Class of 2021 pennantWelcome to Saint Anselm College, and welcome home! Today you have experienced a taste of true Anselmian hospitality. And now you sit looking at the majestic building behind me, an iconic symbol of our historic past. While behind you, among the construction vehicles, is a reminder of the future that lies ahead. Savor this moment, for you are now a proud member of the Class of 2021.

It has been a beautiful day in many respects. Low humidity, a few clouds in the sky, with temperatures in the mid 70’s. It may not quite be King’s Landing, but remember, Winter is Coming!

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 of course 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.

Around you are new teammates, classmates and roommates. Among the 571 new students who will now call Saint Anselm College home are future teachers and nurses, bankers and scientists. There are politicians and police officers, philosophers and theologians. Each of you will spend the next four years – and yes that is the goal – just four short years – shaping your experience. Together, and individually, you will be challenged in the classroom, celebrate victories as Hawks’ student-athletes and fans, become immersed in service learning and volunteering, and ultimately, celebrate your graduation – right here on the college quad – in May of 2021.

As you have probably noted from your time on campus today, it is an exciting time to be arriving at Saint Anselm College! You may have seen our recent rankings from The Princeton Review, in which we garnered fifth-in-the-nation for students most engaged in community service, eighth for best campus food, and 20th for most beautiful campus.

There’s one ranking that really sets Saint Anselm apart from our peers: Eighth happiest students – and yes, part of this may be related to the food. But in all seriousness, we take pride in these rankings.

We are proud to be ranked in the first tier of best national liberal arts colleges by U.S. News and World Report. Payscale.com ranks us 33rd for “best value liberal arts colleges,” in the country and MONEY Magazine places us in the top 25% of return on tuition investment out of all colleges and universities in the United States.

We continue to invest in our infrastructure, highlighted by the Roger and Francine Jean Student Center Complex, slated for completion this coming spring. But we are also investing in new academic programs, academic spaces and by hiring and retaining an extremely talented group of faculty. We are launching new academic centers, growing our Orvieto program in Italy, and seeking new opportunities for our students each and every day.

The academic rigor of our curriculum 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.

Your experience outside of the classroom is equally important. I hope you take advantage of the countless opportunities on this campus to volunteer, and serve those less fortunate than yourselves. Take a class with a service learning component, get involved at the Meelia Center for Community Engagement, volunteer in our local community, or travel further from home on a Service & Solidarity mission trip. Be giving of your time and resources.

Make time to have fun. Get involved in clubs and activities. Attend events sponsored by Campus Activities Board, Student Activities, the Multicultural Center, and your Resident Assistants. Participate in an intramural or club sport. Find an on-campus job. Attend academic lectures, participate in events sponsored by your major, visit the New Hampshire Institute of Politics. Explore the Manchester community, and all that this wonderful region has to offer: from the ski slopes to our north, to the beaches and Boston less than an hour away, there’s much to see and do. Make this community YOUR community.

In a world full of disruption, we pride ourselves on the stability of our Benedictine education and traditions. 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.

One of the courses you will take as a first-year student is Conversatio, a shared learning experience for every Saint Anselm student. Some of what you will learn in Conversatio is how to communicate – effectively – with one another. We understand and value the use of technology, but we also value face-to-face conversations on this campus. Sometimes we need to turn our heads away from our smartphones and remind ourselves to slow down and talk to one another, respectfully, as we build trust in one another.

Here at Saint Anselm College we collectively care for each other, one person at a time.

With that in mind, there are three things I would ask you to consider as you get settled in over the next few days, and throughout your Saint Anselm College experience:

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. 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, the Anselmian 360 or community service. Take time for personal reflection, perhaps at the Grotto. 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.

Class of 2021: Welcome and congratulations. Parents and family members: We look forward to seeing you in October for Family Weekend. I look forward to getting to know all of you over the next four years.

In a few moments, students will be directed to join the recessional as we exit the quad and begin the New Student Orientation Program. You have been assigned to an orientation group, identified by letter. Please find the corresponding group, identified by the signs being held by the Orientation Leaders. Ask an OL for assistance, if you are unsure of your group, or where to go. Parents and loved ones: please depart from your seats once the recessional has concluded. We wish you safe travels as you return to a somewhat quieter home.

Now it is time to say good bye to your family. A hug, a kiss, perhaps a fist bump for your siblings, and of course those three very important words.

May God bless the Class of 2021. And may His blessings be upon us all as we embark upon these next four years together.

The Feast of Saint Benedict

A cross hangs in the Abbey ChurchDear Members of the Saint Anselm College Community,

Today we celebrate the Feast of Saint Benedict, founder of Western monasticism and author of the rule that guides monastic life for our Benedictine community.  Some 1,400 years after his death, we are still called to emulate his life and works, sharing in the spiritual wisdom and guidance lived out to this day by religious communities around the world as we “listen with the ear of your heart.”

In our Conversatio program, Saint Anselm students learn of Benedict’s life at Subiaco and Monte Cassino and study his preeminent work, The Rule of Saint Benedict. We also look to our own Benedictine community for inspiration and direction on living a life of meaning, and for one Anselmian, this particular feast marked the beginning of a journey of spiritual formation. Yesterday, Ryan Sarasin, Class of 2017, received the religious name Brother Aloysius and over the coming year will consider his calling to the holy vocation of Benedictine life.

Please join me today in contemplative reflection for all that our Benedictine roots bring into our lives, and in thankful prayer for our own Benedictine community of Saint Anselm Abbey.

May God continue to bless Saint Anselm College, our Abbey, and all who live, work, and study here.

Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D.