Memorandum from President Lyons
April 2, 2008
Dear Campus Community:
During the 2005-2006 academic year, four working committees of university colleagues from across the campus initiated action plans in support of our Strategic Directions. These included Internationalization, Integrated Learning, Inclusion and Diversity, and Catholic Social Thought. As most of you know, the university has witnessed developments in each of these areas: the creation of the Presidential Advisory Board on Inclusion and Diversity, the development of first year and second year student programming, and, now, the launching of a new initiative to promote further understanding and practice of the principles of Catholic Social Thought.
The Catholic Social Thought (CST) Strategic Directions Committee, so ably co-chaired by Sister Virginia Rodee and Professor Steve Conroy, deserves our gratitude for their excellent work over the past three years. As many of you may recall, the committee created sub-groups to explore avenues for engaging the campus in dialogue. The purpose was to identify campus programs and services that support USD's core values, and to survey other Catholic institutions about their values-based programs. The outcome was an increased awareness of the extensive amount of CST-related activities taking place on our campus and the numerous units and organizations involved in sponsoring these activities. These units and organizations include the Romero Center, the Center for Christian Spirituality, Community Service Learning/CASA, CHR@USD, the Institute for Peace and Justice, the Trans-Border Institute and others.
The objective now is to transition to an institutionalized structure which recognizes the pervasive nature of CST-related activities on our campus, and provides a platform for the future growth and coordination of these activities. My Executive Council and I will convene and coordinate the leaders of the various units on campus doing CST-related work. We will meet regularly with these leaders to facilitate planning, coordination, and the identification of campus-wide opportunities. In addition, the Director of the Romero Center, Kelly Martin, has agreed to assume the responsibility of gathering and communicating information regarding all CST-related activities on campus to the USD community.
Thanks to private gifts from the Dan Murphy Foundation, trustees and others, we are also pleased to announce a related initiative: the creation of the Center for Catholic Thought and Culture (CCTC) that will offer the university community additional opportunities to explore and engage the rich heritage and continuing contributions of the Catholic Church's intellectual, social and cultural traditions. To date, we have raised sufficient funds to begin the Center by establishing a one million dollar endowment toward our three million dollar goal. I have asked Provost Julie Sullivan to oversee the launching of the first phase of the Center this summer with a part-time faculty director who will, during his/her first year, develop and offer workshops, seminars, travel and cultural programs specifically designed for faculty. It is expected that, as additional funds become available, a much broader range of university and regional participants will benefit from the Center's offerings.
I am grateful to all who have worked so purposefully and well over the past several years to bring these plans to fruition. The collegial nature of our work is itself a great witness to the vitality of our commitment to community and what good can be achieved for others through these efforts.
Mary E. Lyons, Ph.D.