‘Select St. Mike’s’ event a roaring success

February 21, 2019
Mark Tarnacki
Staff Writer
Lorraine with Sayers

Saint Michael’s President Lorraine Sterritt welcomes prospective student Kaylee Sayers and her mom all the way from Missouri during Saturday’s Select St. Mike’s event. The president’s flashy purple and gold sneakers were a hit and brought spirit to a basketball game in Ross later that day.

About 175 newly accepted students and their families visited the Saint Michael’s College campus last Saturday, Feb. 16, for a full day of programs. It was first of four such “Select St. Mike’s” events this spring on upcoming Saturdays or Mondays.

Mike Stefanowicz, the College’s director of admission, said many families made it a multiple-day visit, with their students also attending an “SMC First Class” program class on Sunday. He said 150 students attended the Sunday classes — not all of them visitors from Saturday, though many were. “We were fortunate to have beautiful weather and the energy from campus members was really positive and students had a really celebratory mood,” Stefanowicz said.

Families gathered with St. Mike’s staff and faculty participants in McCarthy Arts Center at 9 a.m. Saturday. “President Sterritt offered words of welcome both to admitted students as well as attending a special session for those invited into Honors Program, and for many this was their first time hearing from new president — She was great and spoke of many thriving accomplishments that speak to individual achievements of faculty, alumni, and magic that happen at a Catholic liberal arts college — things that help our graduates defy expectations,” Stefanowicz said.  “We also heard from a student speaker and myself in those opening remarks. From there, students went to hour-long sessions particular to their specific majors and we also had panels just for parents and just for admitted students, where they got to ask candid questions; then we brought all of them together for the Academic and Student Life Fair in Tarrant.”

In Tarrant, each academic major and many campus student affairs or student services offices had a table for families to stop by and get more information. Lunch provided by Sodexo also was available in Tarrant.

The last formal part of the program was event called, “If Not for Saint Michael’s,” which featured a panel of four alumni sharing experience and providing advice to admitted students and families. The four were Natalie LeDue ’16, Brendan Davitt ’16, Michael Hill Jr ’07 and Jeff LaBonte ’98 (who is also a member of the Alumni Board).

“It was a way for folks to reflect on the way a liberal arts education sets students up to be nimble as they find success in their lives after college,” Stefanowicz said. Students on Sunday had a wide choice among six “First Class” offerings – this was the third year that these mostly online classes with a first on-campus meeting, which can become valuable free credits for those who enroll while offering a taste of academic life — have been offered. Examples were aWilliam Ellis of fine arts/music teaching a History of Rock course that was popular; a business offering on personal finance from Tom VanDzura; a class on adolescent literature, one on world politics, another on sustainability, and a new class on intercultural communities from Rai Farrelly of applied linguistics.

The next new student programs will be March 4, April 6, April 13 and April 15 on Saturdays or Mondays. More than 100 faculty and staff including facilities and Sodexo workers took part in Saturday’s activities too. Each visiting family received a small gift bag with Saint Michael’s items. “It’s really special to see everyone across our campus community coming together to offer a warm Purple Knight welcome to the class of 2023,” Stefanowicz said.

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