Dear Alumni and Friends,

So often, anniversaries and milestones are measured in years and decades, and we use those special moments not only to celebrate, but to reflect on how far we’ve come. We’ll certainly take time for some celebration and reflection in this our 80th year. The business of higher education, however, demands not annual, but daily examination as we commit to meeting the needs of our students and community in a landscape that’s evolving at a dizzying pace.

I’m blessed that I continue to receive counsel from the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi, who keep us grounded in the founding values of the University but also understand the determination, innovation and collaboration necessary for Stritch to remain relevant and responsive as we serve an increasingly diverse and savvy community of students. We also rely on the insights of a volunteer Board of Trustees that brings together leaders with collective experience that helps us not only to better understand what today’s world, industry and businesses need, but how Stritch can be a leader in meeting those needs. Combine the Sisters and Board with a brilliant team of faculty, staff and administrators, and you can understand why I’m thankful every day for the work we do together.

In recent months, we’ve made progress on some key initiatives and I’d like to briefly share a few with you:

• Our new School of Continuing and Online Learning (SCOL) is up and running, creating a central source for online learning, instructional support and free virtual courses. This enables us to continue serving our onsite population and online students and also extend our offerings even further and hopefully tap new student markets.

• Expanding our international recruitment and readiness strategies brings some of those new markets to life right here in our own classrooms and hallways. Our whole community benefits from the cultural integration of men and women enrolling at Stritch from places like Saudi Arabia, India, China and more than 30 other countries. A dedicated committee is earnestly developing plans, offering educational opportunities and preparing new improvements to our services not only to attract international students, but to prepare faculty and staff to serve them with cultural sensitivity in the spirit of Franciscan hospitality.

• Closer to home, we’ve proudly partnered with several Wisconsin technical colleges to streamline the credit transfer process for their associate degree graduates who seek bachelor’s degrees in their chosen specialty fields. In the span of five short months in 2016, we signed four new agreements that ensure more accessibility, affordability and efficiency for students hoping to extend their education and their career to the next level.

So, we ask for your continued prayers and support as these initiatives and so many others progress in the days, years and decades to come. As we move forward, may we remain firmly rooted in the foundation and values that define us and connect us to that humble institution founded through the courage and tenacity of the Sisters 80 years ago.

Your servant,

Dr. James P. Loftus, president