Responding to the White House Executive Order

The following message was shared with the Saint Anselm College campus community on Monday, January 30. In addition, I have co-signed statements from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (excerpt/link below), and the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities, in which nearly 50 higher education associations present a letter to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly requesting a meeting to ensure any efforts to safeguard our nation do not interfere with our nation’s long tradition of educating students from around the world.

On Friday afternoon, the White House issued an Executive Order entitled “Protecting the Nation from Terrorist Entry into the United States,” which addresses new standards for refugee, immigrant, and nonimmigrant entry into the United States.

At present, the ultimate outcome of this order (and subsequent orders and legislation) is uncertain and it may take months for clear policies to develop; however, we know that this may directly impact members of the Anselmian community, from students, faculty and staff to alumni and friends. We advise that those from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen legally residing in the United States avoid travel outside the U.S. during this period if possible and consult an immigration attorney if travel is necessary.

Saint Anselm College is an institution that values the contributions of our international students, faculty and staff deeply. We are committed to providing support and resources to those in need, and to upholding our mission and values of diversity and inclusiveness.

In that spirit, today I am in our nation’s capital, participating in the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU). I would like to share with you an excerpt from the statement released yesterday by this organization:

"Pope Francis has said that 'authentic hospitality is our greatest security against hateful acts of terrorism.' As ACCU gathers…to celebrate the value of diversity within Catholic higher education, we reaffirm the commitment of our institutions to creating inclusive, welcoming campus environments that embrace people of all faiths and cultures. Catholic higher education was founded precisely to serve the children of Catholic immigrants who in their own time were excluded from higher education. This is a legacy that we proudly pledge to continue."

Indeed, hospitality is not only our greatest security against hatred and violence, but also one of the core Benedictine values which we as Anselmians seek always to live. I know that you will join me in keeping the immigrants and refugees of every nation in your thoughts and prayers today and every day.

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.

College Update: Fall 2015

Last year, as this great institution celebrated its 125th anniversary, we were reminded of the words spoken by Bishop Denis Bradley to Abbot Hilary Pfraengle, O.S.B., then Abbot of St. Mary’s Abbey in Newark, New Jersey as they discussed building this very college: “We ought not wait until we can begin on a grand scale. All colleges grow from small beginnings.”

Alumni Hall on the campus of Saint Anselm CollegeAnd so began a humble effort, that with God’s good grace has grown from small beginnings, to the college that we are entrusted with today. How very fitting it is, that following a year of reflection, I am able to share with you today so much good news – record-breaking news in many instances, as we now look forward with great faith in the future to our next 125 years of Catholic, Benedictine education.

First, an update on the financial health of the college: I am pleased to report that fiscal year 2015 was the most successful fundraising year in the history of the college! Just over $19 million was committed to the college in the past year, with several gifts of $1 million or above.

In one day alone, on our first Anselmian Day of Giving, an unprecedented $476, 216 was collected, including a $125,000 gift from Bob Weiler ’73 who gave $1,000 for each year of the college’s history. However, even more remarkable than the amount raised is the fact that the Day of Giving brought together the largest number of Anselmian supporters on one day in the college’s history- over 1,000 students, faculty, staff, alumni, parents and friends participated.

Last year also marked the second year of the on-going silent phase of a capital campaign. I look forward to sharing many exciting announcements of leadership gifts with the college community in the months ahead.

And in other exciting news for our community: Last week, U.S. News and World Report moved Saint Anselm up eight spots on the National Liberal Arts Colleges list this year, to 112, ahead of many of our peer institutions. The Princeton Review places the college 13th in the nation for student engagement in community service, and for the second year in a row, says Saint Anselm dining is tenth best in the nation. These rankings reflect the achievements of our entire community- students, faculty, staff and alumni. I am very proud of the national recognition that we have earned.

As for our new students, the Class of 2019 arrived on campus this fall with laurels of its own. Our 530 first-year students represent the most academically talented enrolled class in college history. Enrollments surpassed budgeted goals by 15 students, and we continued to trend towards a more geographically diverse student-body, with students from 21 states.

We know that our new students will excel just as do our older ones, both in and out of the classroom. 777 students were named to the Dean’s List for the spring semester last year, and three seniors were lauded with full-tuition scholarships in recognition of their efforts at the college. Please join me in congratulating Melucci scholars Rachel Follett, a nursing major, and Brian Pickowicz, a business major. They join the Father Bernard Holmes scholar Kristine Adams, an international relations and Spanish double major in receiving these coveted honors. Congratulations to all!

I am pleased to announce that through a very generous $3.2 million gift from Joseph Jean (Class of 1953) we continue to develop an endowed chair in history and government. It is only the second endowed chair at Saint Anselm College. I would also like to thank Professor Peter Josephson for his service as past Bready Chair and announce that Professor Max Latona will serve as the new chair in the current academic year. Congratulations Max!

I am also happy to share with you that Professor Ahida Pilarski has been appointed Special Assistant to the President for Diversity and Inclusiveness for the academic year 2015-2016. During this time, she will lead the formulation and search for a permanent position in charge of these efforts at the College. Professor Pilarski will also chair the Presidential Steering Committee for Diversity and Inclusiveness, which is tasked with fostering and directing progress toward institution-wide inclusiveness, including recruiting, goal-setting, assessment, institution-wide education and training.

This is a very important year in the political cycle, and as you all know, Saint Anselm College is the center of the political universe. All but one of the 20+ presidential candidates in both parties have visited our campus already. Stay tuned for upcoming announcements about primary debates- Saint Anselm historically hosts at least one, and we hope to have exciting news for you soon.

Away from the Hilltop, new Anselmian adventures and achievements abound. Marie and Ron Cole, both graduates of the Class of 1978, established the Cole Fellowship to provide funding each summer to one student doing a full-time internship. Senior Spanish major India Barrows was the first recipient. She spent eight weeks this summer in Spain, where she interned at a local communications firm.

Led by David George, Classics department chair, 15 students and eight alumni worked diligently throughout May and June to further the excavation progress of three archeological digs at our sites in Orvieto, Italy, a city that is about to become much more familiar with Saint Anselm College.

This past January, the college approved a pilot study abroad program: “A semester in Orvieto.” Soon, our students will be able to live, learn, and travel with fellow students and Saint Anselm faculty, enrolling in courses ranging from classics, history, politics, and theology to Italian culture, art and architecture.

Our faculty continue to expand the college’s global outreach, proposing unique and varied programs around the world. From Bosnia, where professor Erik Cleven spent part of his summer with students Kristine Adams and Scott MacNeil exploring interethnic dialogue in a small community, to the tropics of Belize where professors Eric Berry and Lori Laplante led students through their recurring course, Field Studies in Tropical Biology, the reach of a Saint Anselm College education continues to grow.

And closer to home, there is much to celebrate as well. Five monks of Saint Anselm Abbey celebrated their Jubilee of Monastic Profession this summer. Please join me in congratulating:

  • Jerome Day, O.S.B. for 25 years of monastic profession
  • William Sullivan, O.S.B. and Fr. Jude Gray, O.S.B. for 50 years of monastic profession
  • Pius Horvath, O.S.B. and Fr. Lawrence Schlegel, O.S.B. for 65 years of monastic profession

How very fortunate for us, and for the thousands of people who have learned and taught and worked and had their lives transformed on this campus for the past century and a quarter, that these holy and determined men, and their confreres, have welcomed us to share in the life of Saint Anselm College.

With great faith in the future, we also remain grounded by our humble roots: “all colleges grow from small beginnings.” So too, do all good things, and great people.

Saint Anselm is blessed to have extremely dedicated faculty and staff. We stand strong as a community bound by our traditions yet poised to march forward with great enthusiasm. Our collective goal is to educate young men and women in the liberal arts by offering them the highest quality experience during their four years on our magnificent campus.

As we celebrate these accomplishments, and so many others by our students, faculty, and alumni around the world, we remain grounded by our Benedictine roots. We look forward to a bright future for Saint Anselm College, with new achievements and challenges on the horizon- and we always remember that all great things, indeed, grow from small beginnings.

Please be assured of my continued prayers and gratitude for you and those you love.

Steven R. DiSalvo, Ph.D.