Let me begin by saying that I could not be more proud to serve as your interim president. In my 40 years of leadership in health care and higher education, I have seen many transitions. Sometimes when people come into an institution from the outside — particularly in an interim role — it can take some time for them to understand the pulse of the place.
That is why my decision to return to Seton Hall was an easy one. As a three-time graduate and former executive vice president who has been a part of the Pirate family for nearly five decades, I love our alma mater and what it represents. And that makes a difference, because when you really love a place — especially a university — the dedication it takes to achieve excellence comes readily.
Seton Hall has several important opportunities to capitalize on in the coming years. Naturally the search for our next president is high on the list of priorities. Though I am not involved in the search process, I know the search committee is dedicated to finding exactly the right person to lead our University at this exciting time.
Enhancing our academic reputation is another area of opportunity. To that end, I have been charged with ensuring that our School of Medicine opens as scheduled. We received positive feedback from the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (LCME) when it visited our new Interprofessional Health Sciences campus in Nutley and Clifton, N.J., in September. We anticipate preliminary LCME approval in February, after which we can move forward with recruiting and admitting students.
Though our goals are expansive, they are well within our grasp thanks to the many Pirates who support the University with time, talent and financial resources. Last year, Seton Hall reached a milestone by counting 1,030 alumni on the University’s volunteer roster, with more than 800 participating in at least one volunteer opportunity and more than 100 volunteering more than once.
Among other activities, volunteers assist with admissions events, organize clubs, perform community service, congratulate newly accepted students by phone and host freshmen send-offs. Would you join them by adding your name to our volunteer roster? As a graduate, you can make unique contributions to our students’ lives in ways that are meaningful and personally rewarding.
Such is the case with Gregory ’89 and Mary Williams ’89. For more than a decade, Greg and Mary have dedicated themselves to assisting with freshman recruitment. They travel frequently to Seton Hall to speak with prospective students and families. They participate in calling campaigns to congratulate accepted students and represent the University at college fairs. Through their efforts, they have influenced hundreds of students in deciding to attend Seton Hall.
Many more alumni devote their resources or talents to helping our students succeed. Some graduates donate to support student scholarships or academic programs at the University. Others, through a guest lecture or mentoring, or by serving on advisory boards and alumni councils, are helping ensure that the worldwide Pirate network grows ever stronger. Consider Timothy Sporcic ’10, who recently led efforts to revitalize the Stillman Sophomore Mentoring Program.
The program was having trouble enrolling enough mentors to satisfy the demand of eager Stillman students. Timothy found that fellow alumni were more likely to sign up as mentors if he contacted them, rather than if they were asked by a University representative. Today the mentoring program is robust thanks to his tireless devotion.
When I arrived in April to begin my tenure, Seton Hall felt at once completely familiar and yet strikingly new. Despite the many ways our alma mater has grown and changed over the years, the core of Seton Hall’s identity remains the same. We continue to be a prominent Catholic university that offers a rigorous education, personal attention and a supportive community that calls students to a higher purpose. And that will never change.
The story of Seton Hall remains your story. And the success of Seton Hall remains your success. I welcome your partnership as we further its outstanding legacy of servant leadership.
Written by Dr. Mary J. Meehan ’72/M.A. ’74/Ph.D. ’01 , Interim President