Today's event is a Thank You event for the President's Club members, a thank you for your support of the mission of Saint Mary's College.
We have embarked on a new academic year very conscious of local and global challenges, opportunities and obstacles. We see failing economies, unemployment, war and strife across the planet. We see poverty and injustice at home. We also recognize our responsibility to create a human family, locally and globally. Our search for truth, guided by reason and faith, should lead us to solutions to these challenges.
I want each of you to know that you do indeed make a difference in the lives of our students. This year more than any other, we have had a surge in requests for financial assistance. I have met with many of these needy students this fall and want to express their appreciation to you.
* Victoria, from Ukiah, is able to finish her degree requirement this fall. She worked in pear sheds this summer, and is continuing to work here at Saint Mary's this fall in the busy new coffee shop in the renovated De La Salle lounge area, open from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. (They live their lives at different hours than we do!) *Christian, from Los Angeles, whose family can hardly afford his tuition, is grateful for your support.
* Ed from Roseville, who is an instrumentalist in the Sunday evening liturgies and who recently lost his parents; we are called to be not just a school for him but also his family.
* Ben from Australia, who competes for our men's basketball team and came here because of the community we are.
They are all grateful for your support in making their education at Saint Mary's College a meaningful period of development and transformation. They come here looking not just for the great education, but for spiritual and social development, to get to know the faculty and staff, and to participate in a vibrant education, social and athletic community.
This fall we received our most talented and diverse freshman classes ever, and they will graduate in 2013 in our 150th year. I invite you to join them on the path to our 150th, to accompany the Brothers, faculty and staff as partners in securing their future and in maintaining our commitment to fulfill our mission as a Catholic. Liberal Arts and Lasallian institution.
And so I salute you today, members of the President's Club, in thanksgiving for your support, and ask God to shower blessings on each of you.
And now please join me in singing the "Bells of Saint Mary's."