It’s December 22, and today at 3:00 p.m. Albertus Magnus College will close in observance of the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. I am now nearly six months into my tenure as the 14th president of this special place, and as our community prepares for a well-deserved respite, I share some observations.
Yesterday, the College’s faculty, staff, and members of the Board of Trustees gathered on campus, as a community, for the annual Christmas luncheon. It was December 21, the first day of winter. As I thought about what I might offer in my remarks, I recalled that this past March 20, the first day of spring, I was introduced to this same community as the president-elect. On that day, I was deeply touched by the warmth of the welcome extended to me from the Albertus Magnus community. Students, faculty, staff, alumni, Dominican Sisters of Peace, and Board members reached toward me with handshakes and hugs, open hearts and open minds. Community is more than aspiration at this College. Community here is family. Albertus Magnus may be a small college, but it’s a giant in spirit, impact, and love.
The spirit of Albertus Magnus College was revealed and released ninety two years ago, in 1925, when the Dominican Sisters founded the institution. Four pillars define and inspire this College: Study, Prayer, Community, and Service. The Catholic, Dominican, values- and liberal arts-based education offered to Albertus undergraduate and graduate students, younger and older, continues to emanate in spirit from these four pillars. To work for and earn a college degree is an accomplishment. To put that degree to work not simply for self, but for others, is our calling.
Albertus Magnus College alumni are proud and passionate, prominent and profound. The women who graduated in the College’s early years walk tall and beam. The women and men who graduated more recently continue to carry that torch of pride and continue to positively impact society. Teachers, scientists, physicians, nurses, engineers, corporate executives, civic leaders, religious leaders, counselors, artists, volunteers… but a sampling list of the vocations of Albertus alumni. Our world needs more Albertus Magnus College graduates.
Today, with Christmas approaching and Advent reminding us of the Coming and of our many blessings, it is the Albertus Magnus College family, my new family, for which I am grateful and inspired to serve. One way we describe the Albertus Magnus College experience is that we love our students into being their best selves, soaring as fearless falcons to greater heights. Christmas is the season of love. We come together, as family and friends, and we celebrate the season. Celebrations are about sharing and giving – of ourselves, of our talents and treasure. We are one community, responsible to and for each other. Perhaps the greatest gift at Christmas, our greatest gift at Christmas, is love.
It’s December 22, the first in which days become longer as the Albertus Magnus family sets its sights on the approaching spring semester. May you and yours have a blessed, joy- and love-filled Christmas, and may your New Year ahead be filled with prosperity and peace.