Dear Members of the Saint Mary's College Community,
With the January Term well under way, I offer you all a belated welcome back and Happy New Year. The College enters this year with the confidence and momentum of many accomplishments of the last year and a determination to meet the challenges before us. My reflections on the past year were tempered by my own awareness of the precious gift of life that we share.
In my office, we have begun the year with a transition to renovated office space in the second floor of Filippi Hall, above the Registrar and Business Offices. Our new space includes the Office of Mission, the Cummins Institute, the Vice President for Development and the Office of College Counsel. The Department of Communication has also moved into newly renovated space in Sichel Hall. Please stop by to see the new spaces.
I had the opportunity to visit and teach several Jan Term classes last week and am encouraged by the dedication and quality of the faculty as well as the interest and involvement of the students. I wish everyone the best in this exciting short term.
My schedule this month and next will be busy with meetings. I spend three days with trustees, beginning with a one-day meeting with several trustees at a conference sponsored by WASC on Jan. 21, and followed by our own trustees meetings on Jan. 22-23. The current economy and its effects on higher education will be a major agenda item at all of these meetings. I know the entire Saint Mary's community has shared the uncertainty about the effects of the economy, and I will communicate again about our next steps following the meeting of the Board of Trustees.
During the last week of January, I will be attending a two-day retreat here on campus on "Diversity and Organizational Change in the Academy." Then I am off to Washington D.C. for the annual meeting of the Association for Catholic Colleges and Universities, which includes a meeting of the Lasallian presidents. I also plan to visit congressional offices to press our higher education needs for funding in areas such as the Pell Grant, student loans and facilities.
This coming Monday, when we have a holiday to celebrate the legacy and life of Dr. Martin Luther King, I invite you all to reflect on his deep faith and his commitment to positive change in our society and the world. I also look forward to offering a prayer for our new president at the on-campus presidential inauguration breakfast on Tuesday.
Please remember in your prayers two of our distinguished professors who died recently, Rosemary Peterson from the Kalmanovitz School of Education and Professor Emeritus Stanford White from the School of Economics and Business Administration.
My best wishes for a successful and fulfilling New Year.
In St. La Salle,
Brother Ronald Gallagher, FSC