This weekend we marked the 90th anniversary of Elms College, and we celebrated the college’s future as well.
We are all aware that colleges — especially small colleges — face increasing challenges in today’s world. It is with full awareness of these perils that we reaffirm the promise of the College of Our Lady of the Elms.
Building on our strengths and on the great strides that the college has made in recent years, we — the dedicated faculty, staff, and trustees of the college — have collectively crafted the vision that will position Elms College to honor the legacy and charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph and advance our mission.
As we increase academic opportunities on both the undergraduate and graduate levels, as we enhance quality through a systematic approach of assessing what we do, as we continue to improve in measures of student success, we will be focusing on five areas of emphasis that I like to call The Five E’s. They are:
1. Excellence in selected academic areas such as: urban education, biomedical sciences and technology, and entrepreneurship as a feature of our business program;
2. Experiential learning opportunities for all students;
3. The Elms Experience, a holistic collegiate experience;
4. Ethics infused throughout the curriculum; and
5. Enrollment, for by boosting our enrollment, we will strengthen the college both financially and through increased diversity of student perspectives.
This weekend, we recognized some pioneers who have been the first to step up, to help us build our “5E Field of Dreams,” and who have in recent weeks or months made leadership gifts at the 6-figure level:
• Richard Meelia’s commitment established the Sr. Kathleen Keating and Sr. Maxyne Schneider Experiential Learning Fund.
• Regina and Joseph Hitchery’s commitment established the Elms Advantage Internship Experience.
• Fran and Marian Kirley’s commitment will help renovate the Gaylord Mansion as the Living-Learning, Executive and Cultural Center.
• Last but certainly not least, Cindy and Bill Lyons’ commitments helped various college projects, but especially provided seed funding for the Center for Urban Education.
These pioneers agree that, thanks to our focus on the 5Es, Elms College is poised like never before to advance the vision of the Sisters of St. Joseph: to empower students to better their own lives and to make a difference in the lives of those around them.
Futurists are people who are hired by organizations to envision what the world will be like in five years, 10 years, and beyond, and consequently what path their organization should take. As we head toward our centenary in the next decade, I invite all of you to play the role of futurists for Elms College. What should your Elms College be like at our 100th anniversary?
Well, the answer is partly in your hands. Our future is as bright as your dream for us is bold. Your continued support will help us to advance the vital mission of this beloved college, and maintain the vigor of the Sisters’ legacy, charism, and ideal.
Indeed, Western Mass and the world need more Elms graduates now more than ever.