Alverno President Andrea Lee, IHM, PhD

From the President: Fall/Winter 2019

Greetings, friends near and far!

Alverno began 2019 with a devastating flood and yet we are edging closer to the completion of this year with so much for which to be grateful! A lot has happened between then and now, with much more still in progress. The flood and its attendant challenges (five months in duration) are fading into distant memory. I am grateful we had such wonderfully comprehensive insurance coverage and, of course, incredibly resilient staff and faculty who weathered it all with grace and good humor.

Like most small colleges across the nation, we continue to have enrollment challenges. I am grateful for the engagement and energy of many faculty and staff now engaged, under the leadership of Jill Desmond of the Office of the President, in a “whole team” effort to refresh our strategic plan, informed by the knowledge, challenges and opportunities that were not known or available even two years ago. Embedded in that work is our recent submission of extensive documentation to the Higher Learning Commission to support Alverno College’s absorption of the Columbia College of Nursing. A first for Alverno!

Sparkling out on my thought horizon are many recent opportunities to witness our students speaking, singing, acting, playing and dancing with skill and lovely energy, inspired and strengthened through the careful coaching of their professors and mentors. In another venue, I attended one of our volleyball games a few weeks back, a typical “best of 3” match. Alverno won one set and lost two, but that was not what I was taking into account. We are in a rebuild mode in Alverno Athletics and only had seven players on the roster to the other team’s 25. So, we only had one reserve player to send in during the entire three sets of the match. Exhausting! Yet our team, down to each player, played hard and well, in spite of the disadvantage the team size dealt.

I was proud of each player and of their coach and grateful that at Alverno, while winning is important, it is not everything. These Alverno Strong women learned valuable life lessons about resilience, about pushing forward without complaining, even when the deck is seriously stacked against you. Look for more in upcoming months as our talented and energetic new athletic director, Brad Vanden Boogaard, leads his coaches and teams to get stronger and better — at winning of course — but at much more.

Whether it’s someone telling me of a hospital experience under the care of an Alverno nurse, a CEO lauding the skills of a new Alverno graduate on her team, or a principal thrilled to have an Alverno-prepared teacher in her building, gratitude bubbles up and over for the talent, maturity and competence of our graduates, and for the faculty and staff who teach and prepare them for a world that badly needs what they bring to it. In no less enthusiastic and deep ways, my gratitude overflows for you, who help us in so many ways to make it all possible. So much gratitude! So much more good work ahead. This issue will give you a taste and a hint. Enjoy!


This letter appears in the fall/winter 2019 issue of Alverno Magazine.

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