Thanksgiving Message from Interim President Dr. Dan Scholz
Hello everyone, I’m joining you from one of our newest spaces on campus – our Student Lounge in the Campus Center. This space used to house our Bookstore, and I wanted show you how terrific it looks. In the few short weeks the lounge has been open, it has become a popular space for our students to gather and to study or just relax, all while social distancing.
It’s Thanksgiving Week and I wanted to share a message of gratitude with you. Thanksgiving offers us the opportunity to take the time to assess our lives and reflect on all that we're grateful for. This year has been unlike anything we have could have ever imagined or thought about. It would be easy to focus on the difficult times and challenges we have faced, but I hope the coming days allow us to pause and focus our attention on the people and occasions that have meant so much to us.
I am grateful for the resilience of the Stritch community. Since last March, our students, faculty and staff have been adapting to so much change effortlessly, but I understand how difficult it's been. We transitioned to completely online on a moment’s notice and have worked incredibly hard to embrace this new way of teaching, learning and working.
When the Fall semester started, our beautiful campus certainly looked different – we were socially distanced and wearing masks; we were holding classes and meetings via Zoom; we postponed Stritch traditions until a safer time. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the connection we all feel together as a family. It's wonderful to be back in everyone’s presence and for many of us, being on campus is one of the few things that has been “normal.”
Our campus community has done a remarkable job following the Stritch Unstopped protocols to create a safe and healthy environment. This embrace of the policies and procedures is the embodiment of bringing our Franciscan values to life. Allow me to offer what I am grateful for during this holiday season.
I am grateful to belong to a community that is centered around the Franciscan values of creating a caring community, making peace, showing compassion and reverencing all creation. These values provide us a cornerstone, both individually and collectively, as we saw repeated incidents of the human and civil rights of Black men and women violated locally and nationally. As a Stritch community, our Franciscan values called us to action and challenged us to reflect, pray and plan what our role will be in the dismantling of racism.
I am grateful for the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi who founded St. Clare College in 1937. We're fortunate to have Sister Mary Jeanne Michels, Sister Margaret Ruddy, and Sister Mary Lea Schneider with us on campus to help define what it means to be Stritch. We are blessed to have so many Sisters praying every day for our well-being.
I am grateful for our students who have made Stritch part of their educational journey. The promise of their potential is truly exciting and energizing. I admire the commitment they make to their education, and how they add to our 83-year tradition.
I am grateful for the many Stritch alumni who have been serving valiantly on the front lines during the pandemic. Our graduates are in healthcare organizations, schools, nonprofits and businesses all that provide essential services helping so many successfully navigate this new COVID world.
I am grateful to work alongside so many talented and committed professionals. Our faculty and staff generously share their gifts and wisdom all for the good of our students, and for each other, and for our University.
I am grateful for the alumni and friends who support and help preserve Stritch’s legacy, especially when there are so many deserving causes since the COVID outbreak. Their generosity demonstrates their confidence in the Stritch mission and ensures our continued and long-term success.
I am grateful to lead Cardinal Stritch University at such an important time in our institution’s history. I take very seriously the responsibility given to me, and I know that I am serving as a steward of this amazing place that has transformed so many lives and will continue to do so long into the future.
Personally, I am grateful for my family – for my wife Bonnie and my three kids, Ray, Andrew and Dani. They remind me of what's truly important in my life and bring me great joy.
I know this year’s Thanksgiving gathering may be different than in years past; you might not be able to be with family and friends. But I hope you're able to take some time and reflect on the many blessings in your own life.
Pace e bene. Peace and all good. And may God bless you and your families.