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Tradition, change are emphasis at SMC

Megan O'Neil | Friday, September 16, 2005

In her first State of the School address Thursday, Saint Mary’s student body president Kellye Mitros reflected on significant physical and administrative changes the College has recently undergone and outlined her administration’s goals for the coming months.

Speaking to 40 people – largely student government officers and administrators – in Le Mans Hall’s Stapleton lounge, Mitros pointed out that Sept. 15 is the anniversary of the founding of the Congregation of the Sisters of the Holy Cross. It was with their “strength” and “dedication to their faith” that four French sisters were able to make Saint Mary’s a reality 150 years ago, Mitros said.

“We are privileged to be here at such a time as this,” Mitros said. “Our college campus is growing at an incredible rate – our new dining hall, Opus Apartments and the Student Center are all new additions during my college career.”

But Mitros said the building progress on campus is not done. The College master plan includes a new academic building, which will be underway in a few years.

Mitros also touched on what has long been one of Saint Mary’s biggest challenges – enrollment.

“The number of students in the first year class has exceeded expectations and we seem to be experiencing growth as a community,” Mitros said.

She expressed confidence – with Dan Meyer filling the new administrative position of vice president for enrollment – that improvements in admissions would continue in the coming years.

“Mr. Meyer only joined our community a few months ago, however, he has already made his presence on campus and his desire for student input known by coming to introduce himself to our Board of Governance and asking for suggestions to help with enrollment,” Mitros said.

One of her main campaign platform issues and biggest goals as student body president was to launch a series of campus lectures and events focused on the history of Saint Mary’s, Mitros said.

“Our goal in doing this has been to increase awareness of the uniqueness of our history and appreciation for the work of the sisters that has made our College what it is today,” Mitros said. “This history series has become bigger than Susan or I could have ever dreamed it to be.”

She said it had expanded to become an interdepartmental project including the office for Mission, student government and campus ministry.

“My favorite of these ideas is the proposal for having a historical dinner in Reignbeaux Lounge, right here in Le Mans,” Mitros said, “Reignbeaux was, after all, the original dining room.”

Student government will be continuing several successful programs from past years, Mitros said, including free bus trips to Chicago and the College Readership Program.

Mitros also detailed changes made to the Board of Governance itself. Most notably, the board has begun to search for a new alumnae commissioner, Mitros said, and they hoped to fill the position soon. The previous commissioner, Erin Hanifan, announced her resignation at Monday’s Board of Governance meeting.

Mitros said she and vice president Susan McIlduff had created and filled the position of Health and Wellness Commissioner.

“Meghan Lambourne was selected to fill this position and has been working with Health and Wellness to put together programming that will help students with a wide variety of health issues that are often faced by women,” Mitros said.

She also remodeled the position of campus foods commissioner into the student services commissioner, Mitros said. The commissioner will deal not only with campus foods issues but also work with the Student Center and Security.

The State of the School address, since being revived in 2003, is delivered at the beginning of the fall and spring semesters by the student body president and serves to update the College community on the status of the school.