President Petillo Addresses Enthusiastic University Audiences

News Story: April 1, 2011
President Petillo with seniors, from left, Kelly Leather, Mario Valenti,
Sam Dowd and Matthew Choiniere following the student address. Watch a video of his address with students.

Dr. John J. Petillo, who was formally appointed the sixth president of Sacred Heart University on Monday, March 28th, began his presidency last week by meeting with faculty and staff on Tuesday afternoon and with students on Wednesday afternoon. Both assemblies in the Chapel drew enthusiastic responses and provided the opportunity for a wide range of questions and comments.
Dr. Petillo opened his remarks in a similar way each day, by emphasizing that the University has a single priority: its students: “Everything we do revolves around them. Service to students is at the heart of our mission, and that isn’t confined to 15 hours a week in the classroom either. Our presence is critical.” Although the school may thrive in multiple ways, it will be measured by the academic quality it provides and how fully it engages the student body in the process of learning, he said. He repeated his pledge to make this an open and accountable administration, one that is built on collegiality and transparency.
The new president thanked everyone in attendance for the warm reception he had received and encouraged them to participate vigorously in the plans to create a strategic plan for the next five years.

Congratulating President Petillo are, from left, Drs. Stephen Brown and Mary Trefry of the WCOB,
and Drs. Gail Nordmoe and Ed Hendricks of the Isabelle Farrington School of Education.

He struck a hopeful tone in his remarks, acknowledging the many challenges before us but confident in the will of all concerned to make the years ahead the University’s best. The students, in particular, had questions that ranged over all the issues SHU is facing. Subjects were raised on issues as varied as academic programs, athletic schedules, evening programming, Greek life and community service.
Students asked about facilities such as the Ryan-Matura Library, whose first floor, he indicated, would undergo a complete transformation over the summer to provide a more welcoming “user-friendly” atmosphere and will include the installation of a cafe. Other issues involved parking, the best way to include non-traditional students in campus life, and the school’s Catholic identity. Regarding SHU’s unique mission, Dr. Petillo reported on progress in communicating the mission to professors so that they will, in turn, be able to share it with their students. The Q&A provided a point-by-point outline, in fact, of the huge spread of student interests.
Dr. Petillo became dean of the Jack Welch College of Business in March 2009 and was named interim president in October 2010.

To watch a video of President Petillo's student address, CLICK HERE.