The first time my wife Paddy and I visited the Saint Anselm College campus was in the fall of 2009 when our oldest daughter Alina was in her college search process. My memory of this visit is hazy: a very enthusiastic tour guide, the iconic Alumni Hall, and hitting the coffee shop as we departed. But something about the spirit of the place reminded me of my own transformative Catholic and Benedictine undergraduate experience at St. Meinrad College in Indiana. While Alina did not chose Saint Anselm, I never forgot the visit.
Fast forward nearly 10 years later, to spring 2019, when the possibility of coming to Saint Anselm College as the president arose. Honestly, at first I did not give it serious thought, until Paddy said, “What have you got to lose?” So, the next thing we know, we are traveling up from our home in Sharon, Massachusetts, to begin a new life in New Hampshire at one of the most beautiful and inspiring campuses in the country. I am so happy that Saint A’s took a chance on me, on us. We simply have been overwhelmed by the warm and genuine welcome and hospitality that is in the Benedictine DNA of this special place. Saint Anselm has been welcoming and inviting students, faculty, and staff (including presidents) for its entire history. This is why I am thrilled that in just a few short months, a new Welcome Center will open that will serve as the front porch to the college. Our warm welcome won’t change, but it will sure be nice to offer that welcome in an aesthetically beautiful and technologically advanced space.
Since beginning my work in July, I have experienced the rhythm of life on the Hilltop, grounded in the daily cadence of prayer and work of the Benedictine community. While my schedule is packed with meetings, events, and travel to meet our incredible alumni, nothing I do is extraneous to the mission of the college. And because of that, it never (or rarely never!) feels like work. Just having the opportunity to meet with students, faculty, staff, and monks makes it a pleasure to come to campus every day.
Later in this issue you will read about and see images from my inauguration on October 16-17, 2019. It was quite a celebration. I ended my inaugural address with these words: “I leave this thought with you today as we begin this new moment in the history of Saint Anselm College. We will not limit our challenges out of fear or conflict or timidity; rather, we will challenge our limits by coming together to accomplish the hard but necessary things to keep this college vital for the next generation and the generation after that.”
Thank you for your support of Saint Anselm College and I look forward to seeing you on the Hilltop soon.