Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Just a few pictures from Commencement 2012

Quaron Pinckney, Frantzy Suffrard, Giselle Regalado with me after Commencement
Marilyn Cormier from the Office of the President and our Commencement speaker Tom Freston '67
Kevin Hunt and his amazing 92 year old Grandfather and Paul Sapia
Mike McKinney gave the student address at Commencement - selected by his classmates, Mike was true to form and gave an amazing address.
Paul Sapia and his family were kind enough to invite me for a celebration of his graduation
Miss Jillian - Jill Monahan from the wonderful Monahan family I have mentioned in previous blogs - Marge and John sure have done an amazing job raising 4 great "kids" - Jill's three older brothers, her sister-in-law Justine, also an SMC alum, her future sister-in-law (congratulations again to Alex and Julie) AND, of course, the love of all their lives, Riley - an amazing little girl who has captured all of our hearts - all were there to continue to share in Jill's success.

Taking some time away to hopefully do some writing BUT, I will be back.....

Take care, be well and please keep all of the members of our military, our veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers.  I can now be followed on Twitter (yes, I finally gave in and set up an account and will now use that to keep providing my students with articles and challenges that I used to give them in class) - if interested, you can find me @drdavelanders


Monday, May 14, 2012

Congratulations and reminders

Commencement begins in an hour and seniors are gathering on the lawn in front of the library for their Class of 2012 picture.  I remember clearly when this group arrived on our campus and marvel at the incredible accomplishments that the Class of 2012 have made over their short four years here.  They have impacted all of us, the SMC community, the greater Burlington community and yes, our world by their compassion, their energy, their ability to understand that THEY have to make a difference in our world.  They WILL BE missed - the emotions were running all over the place yesterday afternoon at Baccalaureate and afterwards at a small dinner for Jill Monahan and her friends at the Doubletree Restaurant.  I got to meet more parents/families and to thank them for sending US their sons and daughters.  WE ARE a better place because of our students and I wish them all of the very best as they leave here and embark on the next phase of their life's journey.  I posted the following on FB as a reminder to them all as they get ready to leave this College on the hill above Winooski, Vermont:

Please remember that you don't have to be Black or Asian or Latino to be concerned about issues of race.  You don't have to be a woman to be concerned about the issues confronting women (including women's health choices) and you don't have to be GAY to be concerned about issues of LGBT folks - you DO have to be human to be concerned for HUMAN RIGHTS.  I also have asked them all to make sure that they are registered to vote this November AND that:  ONCE YOU ARE AWARE, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE.  Hopefully, Saint Michael's College has made them much more aware than they have ever been.

God bless our graduates and we are grateful to your families for sending you to us.

Take care, be well, and please remember to keep all of the members of our military, our veterans and their families in your thoughts and prayers.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Practicum ROCKS and thanks to Mike Samara

Yesterday afternoon I hosted my Practicum class at my home for lunch.  This course is one of the few offered at the College which is two semesters long.  Students spend 8 - 10 hours per week at their internship site (local schools, The Arbors (residential facility for people with Alzheimer's), NFI (Northeast Family Institute), Vermont Children's Hospital, etc.  and two and a half hours one day a week back in class where we process what is happening on their internships.  Last year, 8 of my 15 students had job offers from their sites by the end of the semester and this year 8 of the 16 students have had job offers.  On an interesting note, during lunch, one student's cell phone went off and when he came back in after taking the call outside, he was grinning from ear to ear as he had just been offered (and he accepted) a full-time position working with children with autism which is exactly what he was looking for.  The goal of Practicum is NOT to gain placements BUT it has proven to be a wonderful side benefit for this course.  Because we are one of the very FEW places that offers a year-long experience, OUR students have been receiving graduate school acceptances and full-time employment offers at a much higher rate - schools and employers seem to really appreciate that these students have received a unique experience in their UNDERGRADUATE education.  Very proud of these students.

This afternoon the College comes together for a Retirement Celebration for Mike Samara.  Mike has been our Vice President for Student Affairs/Dean of Students for the past 35 years.  He has been the man mostly responsible for creating such an amazing "learning environment" which supports the IN class learning with many, many OUTSIDE of the class learning opportunities.  Mike is a colleague, has been my boss - mentor - role model and a good friend.  God speed Mike as you leave us and move on to other activities which will be blessed with your active, eager and energetic involvement.  I know that you will be back here in another year in a different capacity - in the meantime take care and be well my friend.