A Message from President Petillo: Welcome to the New Academic Year

News Story: September 1, 2011

Dear Sacred Heart University Community,                                    
I want to take a few moments to welcome you to the start of a new academic year at Sacred Heart University. We have a lot to be proud of as the past academic year was one of great accomplishment and recognition for us. Highlights from our many achievements were: 

  • We received accreditation for the Isabelle Farrington School of Education from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) and subsequently established the Isabelle Farrington College of Education.
  • We continue to be rated among the best by U.S. News & World Report and The Princeton Review.
  • One of our students, Kelly Leather ’10, was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship.
  • We received the inaugural NEC Building Communities Award, which recognized the institution in the New England Conference that demonstrated the highest dedication to making an impact in the community through the efforts of its student-athletes, coaches and administrators. 
  • We are completing construction of the new 46,000-square-foot Student Commons, which will open in the early spring. And we completed major renovations of the first floor of the library, a number of our science laboratories, and added new classrooms at the Oakview Campus.

Of course, we will not rest on our laurels, and I know you are as excited about this coming year as I am. This year, we will fund 10 new full-time faculty positions across the University in our continuing effort to enhance the academic experience of all students and maintain our 13-to-one student-to-faculty ratio.
We are expecting 3,466 undergraduates on campus this fall with more than 1,000 freshmen. In keeping with our Academic Excellence and Distinctiveness goal with its focus on improving the quality of faculty and students, the average SAT score of the incoming class is 1100, which is up from last year. The average high school GPA is 3.3, and 30% of incoming students had GPAs higher than 3.3.
We are also offering several new programs this fall. These include:

  • Master of Arts in Communication – This is a one-year, 33-credit program with three areas of concentration: Corporate Communication & Public Relations, Digital/Multimedia Journalism and Digital/Multimedia Production.
  • Master of Science in Environmental Systems Analysis and Management – This degree is grounded in the sciences, and will introduce students to the complex interactions between the living and non-living portions of the environment and the dramatic role that human activity has on the future of our natural resources. 
  • Thomas More Honors Program – This program, which is reserved for Sacred Heart’s brightest and most committed students, has been revamped for 2011. One change is that all incoming Honors freshmen, with the exception of commuters, are required to live with other Honors freshmen roommates in dedicated Honors housing. That housing, Roncalli Hall, boasts newly-renovated Honors study and lounge spaces, state-of-the-art media equipment for use in co-curricular and social activities and much more. 
  • Freshman Seminars – This pilot program will be writing-intensive and will be taught by full-time faculty who also serve as freshman advisers and mentors. Two examples include “The Mystery of Human Consciousness," taught by Dr. Tom Terleph this fall and "Prophets of Rage in American Rhetoric: From Thomas Jefferson to Jay-Z," taught by Dr. Anita August in the spring.  

We will continue our focus on social responsibility and community involvement for both students and staff. Last year, we donated 45,000 hours in community service, and this year’s goal is an aggressive 50,000, which I have no doubt we will achieve.
Of course, there will be challenges – both expected and unexpected. But I am confident we have the right team in place to overcome anything that comes our way. I am looking forward to working with all of you over the next year as we strive to achieve our mission and goals. This promises to be an exciting year – truly a year of new beginnings.
With warm regards,
John J. Petillo, Ph.D.