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viewpoint

An education of the mind and soul

| Friday, August 17, 2018

When students arrive on campus each August, they bring an energizing vitality to our community. As they move in, their enthusiasm for the new academic year easing the loads they carry to their rooms, I can’t help but think ahead, a few months or years into the future, when these young women will begin to reap the benefits of their Saint Mary’s education.

They’ll be taught by world-class faculty, their intellect challenged and strengthened as they encounter new frontiers in science, new innovations in business, new ideas in the humanities. They’ll have internships that prepare them for the professional world and study abroad to develop a global perspective. They’ll engage one another in deep discussions about the most important issues of our time and the ancient questions that humans have pondered for all time.

That journey of intellectual discovery is a fundamental element of why they’re here, but it’s only one part of the Saint Mary’s experience. What’s especially fulfilling to me, as I think of the growth they’ll experience as Belles, is that they have embarked on a multidimensional journey, not only of mind, but of soul. That’s the essence of Saint Mary’s.

Every year, we identify a core value of our mission and emphasize its importance. Faith/Spirituality will be at the forefront this year, a reminder that the consuming work we do every day is not for ourselves alone. We are called to serve something larger and we must strive to discern how best to develop and deploy our talents toward the greater good.

Our society often celebrates accumulation for its own sake, valuing consumption above ideals of community and contemplation and human connection. We assert the importance of the latter principles here, enhancing a college education with attention to rewards that transcend superficial measurement but enrich us all.

Make no mistake, we encourage and celebrate ambition. We expect our students to aspire to leadership in whatever fields they pursue. And we rejoice in knowing that the deeper truths that distinguish a Saint Mary’s education will prepare them not only to succeed, but to serve and inspire.

Jan Cervelli

Saint Mary’s College President

Aug. 16

The views expressed in this Letter to the Editor are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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