It is my sincere hope this note finds you and your families in good health in 2021. Our university and our communities have faced tremendous challenges and upheaval in the last 14 months. We have endured.
As the spring semester draws to a close, I can report that we have returned safely to an on-campus, in-person experience for many of our students. For others, we provided accommodations for a remote teaching and learning experience that met our faculty and students where they were and accounted for their individual preferences and personal circumstances.
Our commitment to protecting our community is guiding us at every turn. We continue to pair our work with firm adherence to public health guidance from leaders in the city and elsewhere. I am moved by the cooperation demonstrated by our students, faculty, staff, and Christian Brothers. We have asked that they check their symptoms daily, complete online training modules, tailor their social patterns and behaviors, and so much more, and these Lasallians have complied. As a result, we have sustained our return to campus while limiting transmission of this pernicious virus as much as possible.
Truly, this semester is different than any other we have experience. So, too, is this presidential update. In January, Xavier University introduced me as its next president. I will continue to serve as La Salle’s president through the month of May. We have accomplished much together in these nearly six years. I am confident that this is the right time for me to pursue this new opportunity, and for La Salle to begin writing the next chapter in its nearly 160-year tradition. Similarly, the Board of Trustees has great confidence in Tim O’Shaughnessy, ’85, who has been appointed Interim President, effective June 1. Tim has worked closely with me and my leadership team since joining Executive Cabinet in January and I am certain he will serve as an appropriate steward for La Salle through this critical juncture in its history.
I am incredibly grateful for the extraordinary faculty and staff with whom I have worked. They are passionate Lasallian educators with a commitment to our shared mission that is true and deep. I am equally grateful to our resilient students, the Christian Brothers, our Board of Trustees, and our extraordinary Explorer alumni for their relentless support of this institution and its unique mission.
Change is afoot with La Salle Magazine, as well. We have enhanced the digital experience and platform through which you access the magazine. While the medium has changed, La Salle Magazine’s stories—which share the latest campus updates, developments, and successes of our students, faculty and staff, and alumni—remain as poignant and important as ever.
I invite you to learn about the critically important work of our Joint Commission on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Newly established in September, the Joint Commission aims to build upon our commitment to inclusivity, openness, and healing. Nearly 30 members of our university community are working collaboratively and immersing themselves in a deep exploration of our culture, infrastructure, and policies. They will publish their recommendations publicly at the end of the academic year.
Also in this edition, you can explore the new academic program offerings we have rolled out. Not only do these programs, across the undergraduate and graduate levels, align with the University’s mission to provide a practical education, but they also align our students with professional training that meets industry need.
Just last fall, the University received a $1 million gift in support of student wellness. This remarkably generous gesture from Francis X. “Frank” Stanton, ’51, allows us to amplify staffing and programming breadth of our Department of Student Wellness Services, including the Student Counseling Center. Mr. Stanton’s gift comes at an auspicious time—when our students are struggling to meet their personal and professional expectations and academic goals—and we thank him dearly.
It’s my hope you enjoy this edition of La Salle Magazine. Until we next can gather together in person, I wish you and yours the very best. Stay safe and stay healthy, Explorers.
Saint John Baptist de La Salle, pray for us.
Live Jesus in our hearts forever.