Every year, we present an annual theme to focus on and guide our activities at the College. When President Foley first announced the campus theme of “voice” last year, he said the goal was to get the Mount Aloysius community to think about and develop their own voices. The guest speakers, events, Connections classes, and even Freshman Orientation were intended to get students to start to understand others’ voices as well as their own. After a year of “voice,” we would have to say it was a success!
Click on the events below to see how the theme of “voice” was explored across campus during the 2015-2016 academic year.New Student Orientation
New Student Orientation (August 2015) again featured the yearlong College theme as a focus in its programming. The theme was treated in comedy skits and in interactive empowerment sessions based on community building and personal sharing. “Be the Voice” was the theme for Orientation’s community service session and projects. Residence halls sponsored themed bulletin boards that served as a focus for group discussions. The editors and staff of the Belltower dedicated their Orientation issue to articles exploring the cultivation and expression of voice.
Articles: “Finding Your Voice” – Belltower
In the Freshman Connections Seminar (August 2015), the common read for new students this year, The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez, was incorporated into the curriculum of the Connections seminar. The book relates the stories of immigrants from various countries in Central America and gave students a chance to explore the difficulties immigrants face developing their personal voices in a new culture, and making their collective voice heard in society at large.
The Little People’s Place began the year with stories that modeled the concept of voice. These stories provided a springboard to thinking about the many ways we use voice—in praying, in singing, and in talking—here special emphasis was placed on the power of kind words. The large Little People’s Place display board was also dedicated to the theme and serves as a teaching tool for our youngest students. Then, they continued to explore their voices and the voices of others throughout the academic year.
In September, Dr. Daniel R. Porterfield, President of Franklin & Marshall College, delivered the 2016 Convocation address. In his remarks, Dr. Porterfield drew on personal experience to illustrate the power of voice and the “widening circles of good that can come when we develop our voices.” Defining voice as how we “express ourselves, how we create ideas, what we value, what we choose, how we act,” Dr. Porterfield suggested four practices to help students develop their unique voices: listening, learning, language and leading.
Dr. Porterfield’s Full Remarks:
Monograph: Daniel Porterfield, Ph. D.
Ms. Erna Roberts delivered a Mercy Week lecture in September on her experiences as a war refugee forced to flee her native Latvia after successive occupations by the German and Russian armies. Ms. Roberts shared the many harrowing stories that comprised her experience of World War II from survival of invasion, flight from Latvia as a war refugee, and her eventual resettlement in the United States. In sharing her story, the 98-year old Ms. Roberts literally gave voice to the many thousands of her contemporaries who did not survive the war.
Articles: “Speaker Erna Roberts” – Belltower
The Rev. Mark Reid Pastor of Queen of Archangels Church in Clarence, Pa., in his homily for September’s All College Liturgy, explored the idea of voice by considering the story behind the Natalie Merchant song “Gold Rush Brides.” This song was inspired by the diaries of everyday pioneer women who crossed the continent and settled the West. Fr. Mark used their powerful testimonies to make the case that everyone has voice worth sharing. He offered students four suggestions for developing their voices: continuous learning, questioning of authority and assumptions, critical thinking, and finally, sustaining a sense of childlike wonder.
Articles: “All College Liturgy” – Belltower
Monograph: Father Mark Reid
In September, Pulitzer-Prize winner and Executive Editor of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette David Shribman helped mark the campus celebration of Constitution Day with an address on “Presidential Voices: What Past Presidential Speeches Tell Us about the Politics of Today.” Mr. Shribman explored quotes from 10 American presidents to demonstrate how, in spite of the political battles and the opposition of their day, each was able to employ his voice either in defining or defending American ideals that continue to shape us as a people.
Monograph: David Shribman
Throughout September and October, Vox Nova offered a fall concert entitled “Our Irish Voice,” a tribute to our Mercy founders. The gallery space of the ACWC hosted the exhibit “The Heart’s Voice,” a collection of 21 works by artist Diana S. Boehner that explored the image of the heart as metaphor for physical, emotional, and spiritual dimensions of self.
In November, the Academic Honors Society Committee sponsored a multi-discipline faculty symposium entitled, “More Than Just Words: Unexpected Voices.” Chris Burlingame moderated the discussion which included contributions to the topic from Nathan Magee, Theatre Director and Assistant Professor of Fine Arts, on the arts; Kierstin Muroski, Assistant Professor of American Sign Language and English, on American Sign Language; and Juan Diaz, Assistant Professor of Science and Mathematics, on voice in a second language.
One of the most interesting takes on the yearlong theme of voice came out of the Digital Grotto which put “voice” to video. The Grotto team conducted periodic interviews during the year with students and other community members to capture notions of voice and to hear how those ideas may have evolved over the course of the year. The video was posted to the College website and updated throughout the year.
Trustee Adele Kupchella focused her December Graduation address on the key role of the inner voice in a fulfilling life. Sharing insights from her personal history, Trustee Kupchella underscored the importance of being in tune with one’s inner voice—listening to what our minds, bodies and souls are telling us.
December Graduation Highlights:
Adele Kubchella’s Full Remarks:
Monograph: Adele Kupchella
Sr. Dr. Karen Schneider, RSM, MD, gave February’s 2016 Moral Choices Lecture entitled “Voice and Advocacy in Healthcare.” Sister Karen, Assistant Professor of Pediatric Emergency Medicine at Johns Hopkins, shared lessons from a 20-year career bringing medical care to the poor of Africa, South America and the Caribbean (including Haiti in the weeks following the earthquake). Sr. Karen shared the personal story of following her inner voice to embrace a career that allows her to pursue both a professional calling and her call to mission as a Sister of Mercy. Sister Karen invited students to consider becoming advocates for the poor by making a moral choice in favor of mercy.
Moral Choices Lecture Highlights:
Sr. Karen’s Full Remarks:
In March of 2016, Neil McCarthy, Huffington Post contributor, and former Assistant U.S. Attorney, delivered the Spring Honors Lecture on the topic, “Voices of Immigration Old and New.”McCarthy opened his address on “Americas’ immigrant story” with five quotations– five voices—on immigration ranging from the 18th century to today’s 2016 presidential campaign. They illustrated the contradictory story of the United States as a nation built on immigration but home to a strong anti-immigrant tradition. Citing earlier ethnic groups that suffered and surmounted intolerance, McCarthy argued for the open immigration policy which, contrary to some popular myths, has enriched and strengthened the nation. Noting that immigration fosters diversity and diversity overcomes intolerance, McCarthy concluded that immigration is the solution it has always been, not a problem as some claim.
During May’s commencement ceremony, Dr. Tori Murden McClure, minster, lawyer, author, adventurer and President of Spalding University, Louisville, Kentucky addressed the 2016 graduating class on the theme of “voice.” She outlined the development of voice from the cries of infancy, to the adolescent struggle to define and articulate self, through to the realization of a voice that can engage the world on the side of justice and human dignity—a mature voice that, thanks to their education, the graduates now possess. Dr. Murden McClure urged graduates to be people whose voice is always in transition: to be learn-it-alls and not know-it-alls, people ready to integrate critical intelligence with moral action in a world crying out for educated voices.
Dr. Tori Murden McClure’s Full Remarks: