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Embrace the amateur

| Friday, August 18, 2023

Dear Saint Mary’s students, 

I join the faculty and staff of Saint Mary’s College in welcoming SMC students in the Class of 2027, transfer students, returning students and graduate students! You join over 23,000 living alumnae around the world who recognize the power of Saint Mary’s. We have a proud history as a barrier-breaker, a place that empowers women to lead and to succeed. And while our campus, curriculum and traditions will always be at the center of your experience, that unique experience is turbocharged by the tri-campus community. 

We had a busy summer here at Saint Mary’s, but there is nothing more energizing than having our student body back in our classrooms, residence halls, laboratories and social spaces. We are ready for you to animate the campus with your energy and intellectual curiosity — to make our community an invigorating hub of activity! Your time here will be marked by great self-discovery: you will accumulate knowledge and experience and you’ll grow the confidence to create a life of meaning and purpose. 

At SMC, we promote an open-hearted and inclusive community. Take advantage of the opportunities to expand the boundaries of who you are. Explore your faith. Engage with people who have different backgrounds, experiences, beliefs, or opinions. Approach them with a spirit of curiosity and be open to learning with them and from them. Be energized by difference! This spirit will make our community and our world a better place. And take care of yourself by adopting a healthy lifestyle. This, too, will support your success — at Saint Mary’s and beyond! 

Finally, I’d like to encourage you to keep a beginner’s mind as you arrive and progress through your time at the College. It’s good to be an “amateur”— to continue or start some learning just for the love of it (which is what the word amateur means). Try some things you are not already good at and feel the ways they stretch you to become broader and deeper. We can always be in the process of becoming. 

In fact, Saint Mary’s itself is still “becoming.” We were founded by a group of trailblazing women — the Sisters of the Holy Cross — and they continue to be our inspiration. Almost 180 years ago, they created Saint Mary’s to educate women, and they knew that empowering women would make a difference in the world. You are now part of that tradition, and it’s your turn to make history here. So, prepare for leadership, both on campus and in a world that needs you. I look forward to accompanying you on this exciting journey. 

Best regards, 

Katie Conboy, Ph.D. 

President, Saint Mary’s College

Aug. 15

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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