After my first year at Donnelly College, I think I understand more profoundly the challenges we face each day.
Like any nonprofit, higher education institution, resources are very limited. Yet I continue to be impressed by the wonderful faculty and staff of Donnelly who so selflessly serve our students, who are equally impressive in their commitment to overcoming obstacles to continue their education.
In spite of the many barriers we must overcome, Donnelly College ranks first in classroom experience out of 670 colleges, based on data drawn from the annual Community College Survey of Student Engagement (CCSSE). This points to something anyone associated with Donnelly knows to be true — we provide a top-notch, first-rate education to the students who attend.
The mission of Donnelly College is much needed, perhaps more than ever before. Pope Francis has challenged those who serve in the apostolate of Catholic higher education to be particularly focused on those who are underserved or on the margins of our society. He told the people of Rio de Janeiro in July of 2013:
“Our generation will show that it can rise to the promise found in each young person when we know how to give them space. This means that we have to create the material and spiritual conditions for their full development; to give them a solid basis on which to build their lives; to guarantee their safety and their education to be everything they can be; to pass on to them lasting values that make life worth living; to give them a transcendent horizon for their thirst for authentic happiness and their creativity for the good; to give them the legacy of a world worthy of human life; and to awaken in them their greatest potential as builders of their own destiny, sharing responsibility for the future of everyone. If we can do all this, we anticipate today the future that enters the world through the window of the young.”
As I often say, if we are listening closely to Pope Francis, if Donnelly College did not exist, we would need to build it. The good news is that it DOES exist, and has for 66 years, serving thousands of students over the decades.
This President’s Report aims to show gratitude for the support we receive to make it possible to carry out this critical mission, as well as to communicate outcomes of our work from the 2014-15 academic year. We have come a long way in our history but have much work yet to do.
As you read this report, please know how much we appreciate and need you and your continued investment in our mission, our students and our collective future “that enters the world through the window of the young.”
Monsignor Stuart Swetland, President