Something that Professor Paul Finn said as he accepted the Walter J. Gallo ’58 Award from the Saint Anselm College Alumni Association Saturday night made me think of my first experience on the Saint Anselm campus, back in April.
Professor Finn was being honored by the Alumni Council for his dedication and service. Besides being an outstanding teacher, he coaches both the men and women's cross country teams and also trains students, alumni, and others for a marathon in the spring. He was talking about the day of the Boston Marathon bombing, and how the students pulled together to make sure that the group of more than 40 runners and supporters got back to campus safely.
That happened to be the same day of my interview for the job of president of Saint Anselm College.
As I walked out of my meeting with the Board of Trustees, I saw the bus full of students pull onto campus. The love and the spirit of unity that I witnessed as these students were welcomed back to campus was incredibly moving. I realized that there could not have been a better example of the kind of community I hoped to become part of.
Of course, that was just the beginning of the student body’s efforts to memorialize this event and raise funds to alleviate the suffering of those affected by the tragedy. And I have seen countless examples of the Anselmian spirit of compassion and service since that day.
As I listened to all five of the honorees at the Alumni Awards dinner, I was newly impressed by what Saint Anselm College is doing on a daily basis: preparing young people to step up and take their place in the world as conscientious, productive, and even awe-inspiring members of our society.
Receiving awards that night were: A professor who teaches, mentors, and befriends our students and athletes. A nurse who proudly wears a Purple Heart on her jacket. A renowned Italian scholar. A doctor who teaches psychiatry. And a man who faces an incurable illness and has raised $200,000 for research. He reminded us that night not to take any day for granted. Thirty of his former classmates were present to applaud his achievement.
You probably want to know more about these people. Take a look at them on our website, and feel pride, as I do, in being an Anselmian.