With the issuance of a letter on October 27, from Sister Patricia Siemen, OP, JD, Prioress of the Dominican Sisters of Adrian, Michigan, and Thomas G. Wenski, Archbishop of Miami, the exploratory process we engaged in with St. Thomas University has concluded.
My heart overflows with great admiration and gratitude for the dozens of Barry staff, faculty, administrators, trustees and alumni who participated in the process from mid-May through September. They served as co-chairs, members, and project managers of the Steering Committee, five task forces, and a variety of task force sub-committees in addition to fulfilling their daily responsibilities. I am pleased and proud of the contributions made by Alumni Board member, Dr. Carmen Blanco Marinelli, Barry College Class of 1976.
It is abundantly clear to me, Sister Pat, and the Barry Board of Trustees that everyone from Barry who engaged in the process was faithful to the charge we received last March to “explore a strategic alliance with St. Thomas University.” The process was demanding and time-consuming; Barry’s representatives served with integrity and generosity, always giving witness to Barry’s mission, identity, and institutional core commitments, especially “collaborative service” and “inclusive community.” This exploratory process included in-depth analyses of all facets of both institutions, including academic programs, student services, enrollment, athletics, alumni, technology, facilities, institutional and program-specific accreditations, personnel and finances. The reports we generated and the discussions in which we took part are of great value to us as we continue to examine our institutional strengths and explore new strategic directions and initiatives to enhance the academic, experiential and financial life of the University.
Even though the exploratory process did not result in a strategic alliance with St. Thomas University, Barry is well-positioned and committed to fulfilling all of the characteristics of Catholic higher education in the Dominican tradition as we have for the last 78 years. We continue to be strengthened and empowered by one another, our students, over 65,000 alumni across the globe, and our supportive community partners and benefactors.
I close with an excerpt from a prayer we adapted entitled Moving Into the Future Prayer: Blessing for Moving On (edited from Abby Willowroot 2009) “Gracious and loving creator, bless this new day and Barry’s future with continued success. Allow our hearts and minds to say goodbye to the exploratory process with humility and grace. Open our hearts so that we may be ready to say hello to a new beginning. Free our spirit to accept new ideas, new opportunities and new challenges. Bless Barry as we begin this journey forward. May we be equal to the task ahead of us, ready to renew ourselves. Make us strong enough to succeed, flexible enough to grow and change as needed, optimistic enough to see new opportunities as we move into the future. We accept and welcome the challenge before us. With your guidance, we are ready.”
Class of ’62