“When so rich a harvest is before us, why do we not gather it? All is in our hands if we will but use it.”
— Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
Seton Hall is at its best when we embody the knowledge, care and faith on which the University was founded. Since 1856, we have shown a continual desire to infuse those qualities more fully in our community. When we do, they blossom into treasures that benefit not only us, but also the world around us.
Heeding the call of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, who encourages us to harvest our many treasures, we are excited to unveil the University’s new strategic plan: Harvest Our Treasures. It extols our traditional strengths, animates them in inspiring new ways, and charts a vibrant path forward.
What are the University’s treasures? First and foremost, they are the people in our Seton Hall family. The strategic plan speaks to all of us and sets a course to strengthen each of us individually and collectively as a diverse community.
Our community comes together in a specific context developed over 165 years of teaching, learning, worshipping, serving and encouraging students to reach beyond their grasp. In this context, the plan establishes a framework to fortify Seton Hall’s academic enterprise, spiritual foundation and vibrant campus life, as well as vital experiential and physical resources.
Writ large, the plan is a blueprint that will underpin all of Seton Hall’s decision-making for the next three years.
Embedded in its approach is a dynamism that will guide Seton Hall through the fluctuating higher education landscape. For some time now, American colleges and universities have been undergoing seismic changes. Many institutions are rightly concerned about shifting demographics. Competition for a shrinking pool of applicants leads to fewer incoming students. This results in smaller budgets, rising debt and instability that causes institutions to close with heretofore unseen regularity.
This disruptive trend began well before COVID-19 arrived on our shores. Since then, the pandemic has intensified the trend and forced many colleges to abandon strategic planning and enter crisis-management mode.
Thankfully, Seton Hall’s planning continued to evolve throughout the tumult of 2020. More than 140 faculty and staff members, students and clergy met through the spring and summer to prepare reopening plans guided by strategic planning principles. Those principles informed our decision-making as we avoided pandemic paralysis, envisioned a successful return to campus and achieved a safe and healthy fall semester.
The Board of Regents unanimously endorsed Harvest Our Treasures in December.
Already the plan is bearing fruit. In line with the specific goals outlined in it, Seton Hall announced a major renovation of the University Center and has embarked on a master planning process for the South Orange and Newark campuses.
The University Center renovation and other vital capital projects are being made possible through the generous support of alumni and friends. Essential gifts such as these are critical to the sustainable growth of our University. As Seton Hall envisions and executes its next comprehensive philanthropic campaign, it will focus on advancing the pivotal areas of Harvest Our Treasures that will transform our campuses and the quality of our University’s academic profile. This will ensure that the aspirations and dreams embedded in the plan will be fully realized.
You may be asking what role alumni and friends can play. I assure you — this plan and the ideas it sets forth are as much for you as for the campus community. I encourage you to read Harvest Our Treasures at shu.edu/strategic-plan and learn where it will take all of us over the next three years and beyond.
We know our efforts will require ongoing review to ensure peak performance, as we continue to successfully manage the pandemic while leading Seton Hall into the future. Regardless of the circumstances, we will be ready to adapt and adjust, just as we did throughout 2020.
I appreciate our community’s thoughtful work to engage Harvest Our Treasures through an array of exciting new initiatives, with many more to come. And I look forward to your commitment. More than ever, we need you to do what you have always done — roll up your sleeves and participate in exceptional ways to ensure a more vibrant Seton Hall for all of us.