For more than 50 years, Sacred Heart University has been hard at work earning the respect and loyalty of tens of thousands of students and parents and alumni. From an initial enrollment of fewer than 200 students in 1963, we have grown to a student body of close to 7,000, with dozens of challenging academic programs across a wide variety of disciplines. Welcome to our University. Welcome to our family.
What is immediately evident to visitors – especially those who have not been on campus for a while – is the energy and vitality of this special place. Let me share some of the exciting things that are happening here.
Our vision for the University over the next four years includes expanding and improving our facilities both to accommodate our growing population and to ensure our students have access to state-of-the-art facilities where they can fully prepare for future employment through hands-on learning experiences. To that end, the Frank and Marisa Martire Business & Communications Center is nearly complete, and we expect classes to begin there in early 2015. We are also completing our Student Success Center and have completed the plans for a world-class building to house the College of Health Professions with an expected completion date of 2017. We are breaking ground soon on our new dormitory in the North lot and expect to be housing students there by 2016. And once we take possession of the Jewish Home for the Elderly in 2016, we expect to have additional housing for upperclassmen. Future plans also call for a new Public Safety and WSHU Public Radio building on Park Avenue.
Among our top priorities are academic excellence and innovation. We have a world-class faculty who not only have degrees from the greatest educational institutions around the country, such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Georgetown and the University of Notre Dame to name a few, but have been recognized nationally and internationally through honors, awards and invitations to speak at prestigious conferences. For example, two of the past three winners of the Connecticut Professor of the Year Award as chosen by the Carnegie Foundation and CASE, are among our faculty. Members of our faculty members have also received Fulbright Scholarships and honorary degrees from other universities, and they have received millions of dollars in grants, allowing them to bring innovative programs and state-of-the-art equipment to the University.
Sacred Heart has been accredited by the New England Association of Schools and Colleges. We have also been accredited by the highest authorities in each of our academic disciplines.
Among our top priorities are innovative programs, expanded global learning opportunities and focus on high-impact practices. Some examples of the innovative and transformative programs available to students include the First-Year seminar, which stresses mastery of the writing and communication skills needed for academic and career success; the Freshman Fall in Rome program that enables students to spend their first semester at our partner school—John Cabot University in Rome; and our problem-based learning lab program that allows students to work with outside companies to come up with solutions to real-world problems. There are also opportunities for all students to study abroad, not only at our international campuses in Dingle, Ireland, and Luxembourg, but at locations all around the world.
SHU offers more than 50 associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral programs. Our innovative programs teach the skills employers value. They not only teach students how to think, but how to do.
This is a friendly, welcoming place, with a deep sense of community. Our students, faculty and staff contribute more than 50,000 hours to community service annually—much of it locally. Our mission has always been to do more than prepare our students academically; we want to encourage these young men and women to work and live and make contributions to the human community for the rest of their lives.
From the day we opened or doors in 1963, we have been pioneers in the way we have offered a comprehensive liberal arts education that is rooted in the Catholic intellectual traditions. We have never rested on our laurels, and we continue to grow and transform in the best interest of our students. That can be seen not only in the new facilities described above, but also in the introduction each year of new programs that provide the skills that today’s employers are seeking.
I invite you to explore these pages carefully and discover for yourselves the great riches to be found here. However, the real keys to the Sacred Heart experience lie within each of our students and faculty members and staff. Speak to them, and you’ll quickly discover their dedication to helping students flourish and grow in body, mind, heart and spirit. Talk with our students and you will meet active and engaged learners who are breaking new ground and engaging in the world with a purpose as they seek to find powerful and effective ways to improve the lives of others. If you are ready for a transformation, our vibrant, supportive community is here to help you realize your full potential and propel you into a rich, successful life.
John J. Petillo, Ph.D.