Drawing on Tradition and Building a Promising Vision for the Future
A welcome message to the Saint Mary's Community from Interim President Brother Thomas Jones, FSC
As I begin my tenure as Interim President starting July 1, I’m looking forward to the next phase of the College’s evolving history. With our community of Brothers, faculty, staff, alumni, and other supporters, I’m honored to assume this position of leadership and service as we continue our work to provide the highest quality education to the students who entrust us with the awesome responsibility of preparing them for lives imbued with purpose and meaning.
Next month will mark my 60th year as a Brother. For 25 of those years, over the course of four decades, I have called Saint Mary’s College my home, first as a student, then as a Brother responsible for the training and formation of young Brothers, then as a Resident Director and adjunct faculty in the Collegiate Seminar program, and for the past decade as Staff Psychologist in Counseling and Psychological Services and Resident Director. For eight of the past 11 years I was also the Director of the Saint Mary’s College Brothers’ Community and for six years I was on the Board of Trustees.
Saint Mary’s College has inherited and continues to participate in a mission with a 300-year history that puts students at the center of our efforts and decisions, and associates us with a rich international community that serves a diverse student population from preschool to graduate school in more than 80 countries throughout the world. Our beautiful campus contributes to a sense of belonging that is quickly translated into relationships that respect differences and that build on the unique histories and needs of our students and faculty as we strive to form a cohesive and supportive community.
I am convinced that we will be stronger and overall better if we commit ourselves to listening more intently to each other and approach each other with kindness. Adversity and the needs we each have for respect and appreciation can be a source of growth if we commit ourselves to forming relationships based on kindness and empathy. As your Interim President, you have my promise that this will shape my work.
Like many higher educations, there remains work to be done as a campus community. Some of this work includes:
- Continued enrollment growth;
- Retention of our diverse students, talented staff and faculty members;
- Long-term financial health of the College.
I am convinced that we will be stronger and overall better if we commit ourselves to listening more intently to each other and approach each other with kindness.
As we continue to find solutions, I believe it’s vital to build on the best traditions and history of the College while promoting innovation, new dreams, and a promising vision for the future. We can and should create an environment of belonging where all of us, no matter what brings us to Saint Mary’s, can grow to our full potential.
Recognizing the power of God’s and each other’s presence is key to the transformation of lives. A fundamental tenet of Lasallian Catholic education is the notion of “association” that can inspire us to partner with others for teaching, learning, and building community.
The most important resource available to us as we approach a new academic year is the love and commitment we all have for Saint Mary’s College—and our resolve to work together to provide a robust living and learning environment for our students. Whatever issues we face pale in comparison to the vibrant and personal commitment of our faculty, our staff, our board members, our Brothers, and our alumni. I am always impressed, for example, when I hear students and graduates speak with affection and gratitude of the relationships they develop with their professors, not to mention the quality of the learning that takes place in their labs and classrooms.
Though I have lived and worked at Saint Mary’s College for many years, there are still many of you whom I do not know. As we approach a new academic year I’m hoping to encounter you at games, in the hallways, at meetings, in the classrooms, in the residence halls, and in the chapel and other prayer spaces. Please reach out to me in person if our paths cross or contact me at my office (925-631-4203) or email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I look forward to engaging with you in a variety of settings as your Interim President. Thank you in advance for joining with me to make Saint Mary’s a place of belonging and hospitality as we continue to provide educational opportunities of the highest quality that prepare students for productive and meaningful lives in the future.
Brother Thomas Jones, FSC