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Saint Mary’s releases new mission statement

Justin Tardiff | Tuesday, September 16, 2003

Last week, Saint Mary’s students, faculty and staff found the College’s newly-revised mission statement posted on bulletin boards, Web sites and dorm doors around campus.

The rewriting process began in 1996 after the College’s accrediting body, The Higher Learning Commission, mandated that the statement be updated. The last mission statement was written in 1987.

In the fall of 2002, Saint Mary’s President Marilou Eldred reformed a mission statement writing committee to finalize the work on drafting a new statement.

Mathematics professor Joanne Snow, religious studies professor Phyllis Kaminski, financial aid director Mary Nucciarone, development director Kay Ball and First Year Studies director Susan Vanek made up the committee headed by Eldred.

The committee began the process of revision by reviewing all of the drafts that had been written since 1996. Together they discussed the drafts, brought together the philosophy behind them and presented the newly revised statement to the Board of Trustees.

The long process used to arrive at the final version approved by the board was deliberate and inclusive of the entire campus community.

“After the last accreditation, it was suggested that the mission be clearer with its statement of purpose,” said Sister Rose Anne Schultz, vice president for the mission. “It needed to be a more succinct statement that everyone would know.”

The new mission statement is shorter, yet still manages to encompass all of the facets of the old statement, she said. The four core values of the College – learning, community, faith/spirituality and justice – are included at the bottom.

“The core values have never been outlined before, and that is an important facet to the new statement,” Schultz said. “It is important for the Saint Mary’s community to understand and embrace this as our Identity.”

The old statement has not been done away with. Instead, it has become the college’s philosophy and purpose, which explains how to carry out the mission.

Rewriting the mission statement was the first and most critical step in the College’s Strategic Plan.

“It was important to outline the purpose of the college before we tried to remodel anything else,” said Shultz.

Although the statement was approved by the Board of Trustees this past June, it has only recently been widely spread around campus.

The next meeting of The Higher Learning Commission will take place in 2005, when the mission statement will again be reviewed.

“It has always been intended that the mission statement will be reviewed every five years,” said Schultz. “The mission statement’s message will always remain. It is the expression of it that will change.”