DePerro inaugurated as 21st president of SBU

Photo Credit: St. Bonaventure University Flickr

By Kelly Haberstroh

On Friday, Nov. 3, almost 1,000 people attended the formal inauguration of Dr. Dennis R. DePerro as the 21st president of St. Bonaventure University.

The ceremony began with “Procession of the Chosen” by Larry MacTaggart, performed by Dr. Les Sabina and the concert band. Delegates representing other colleges and universities, university trustees, administrators, three past presidents, faculty representing universities, resident assistants and student leaders, friars and sisters processed in with DePerro.

The first of 13 speakers, Richard J. Malone, bishop of Buffalo, said an opening prayer before he said, “[DePerro] is a man of deep personal faith and tangible zeal for Catholic education.”

He spoke about how DePerro has prioritized Catholic higher education because his Jesuit schooling enhanced his Franciscan knowledge. During his 35 years in college administration, DePerro emphasized the importance of students, studies and service, Malone said.

He also talked about how DePerro will support the vision to continue to become extraordinary.

Following Malone, Sen. Catharine Young spoke on DePerro’s behalf. She said, “He has impeccable academic credentials and an impressive record of achieving results. He is the right person to lead us forward with passion and loyalty.”

Mary Rose Kubal, a representative of St. Bonaventure’s faculty senate, said that DePerro has decades of experience when it comes to successfully leading admissions and overseeing excellent programs at Le Moyne College.

She said he recognizes the serious challenges facing our university right now. “He joined at a unique moment and is ready to make changes necessary not only to survive, but to thrive,” Kubal said.

The part of DePerro’s curriculum vitae (CV) she found to be most impressive when searching for the new president was the language he used when describing his experience. She said the word “served” appeared 14 times, “member” six times and “committee” 24, which gave her an optimistic view of his potential as president because his service was impressive and he seemed like a team player.

Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., president of Siena College, said how DePerro has encouraged the university mission to be faithful while establishing a nurturing community with a shared commitment of learning to learn.

After knowing him for 35 years when he began as a young admissions counselor, Dr. Gerard J. Rooney, president of St. John Fisher College, introduced DePerro by calling him a man of high integrity and strong moral values.

Robert Daugherty, member of the Board of Trustees, was involved in the presidential selection process. He said Jack McGinley told him to make sure the board is unanimous, and “we were in our hearts, minds and vote.”

“Dennis DePerro is smart, insightful, passionate, funny, likeable, collaborative and dedicated,” Daugherty said. “He’s the authentic real deal. What you see is what you get.”

When DePerro gave his presidential address, he emphasized his goal to not only help students learn, but helping students learn to live good lives.

He also thanked the 13 people before him and everyone who traveled to celebrate. “I never imagined in my wildest dreams I’d stand here as the 21st president,” he said.

 

 

 

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“Nobody” author discusses vulnerability in keynote address

Images courtesy of Danny Bush

By Kelly Haberstroh

Dr. Marc Lamont Hill gave an impassioned address to St. Bonaventure University students on the importance of acknowledging social issues as the first step to solving them.Hill 2.jpg

On Sept. 26, Dr. Joseph Zimmer, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs, introduced Hill by referring to him as one of the leading intellectual voices in the country, who also worked on campaigns to end the death penalty.

His primary value is the poor and marginalized in our society. These ideas reflect what he discusses in his bestselling novel, “Nobody: Casualties of America’s War on the Vulnerable, From Ferguson to Flint,” required for the freshman class, and his speech. Continue reading ““Nobody” author discusses vulnerability in keynote address”

Hip hop team develops Halloween themed show

[Image courtesy of Kathryn McTyre from the SBU Hip Hop Facebook page]

By Kelly Haberstroh

The SBU Hip Hop team collaborated with ASIA and LASO to host a Halloween themed show on Wednesday, Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.

Peter Bertoldo, Emily Flynn and Meaghan Tederous came up with the theme and name for the event because they wanted to make each dance representative of a classic Halloween television show or movie.

The three had thrown around a lot of ideas for iconic Halloween films and decided on a select few. They all thought the name, “Halloween Through Your Screen,” would match the concept well and decided to show a trailer for each film depicted prior to the dances.

Continue reading “Hip hop team develops Halloween themed show”

Bona’s welcomes therapy animals on campus

[Image retrieved from sbu.edu]

By Kelly Haberstroh

With an increasing amount of students diagnosed with anxiety or depression in the past couple of years, the need for a therapy animal on campus has become more essential.

Two students with therapy animals on campus were diagnosed with anxiety. Nathan Cass, a junior visual and performing arts major, said he was depressed and had been contemplating suicide a couple of times. RaeAnn Thomas, a sophomore psychology major, would avoid studying for tests because she was having panic attacks in her dorm room.

According to the students, both housing and disability services have been accommodating about the process of students moving a pet into their dorm.

Continue reading “Bona’s welcomes therapy animals on campus”

EDGE program prepares for second year

[Image retrieved from sbu.edu]

By Kelly Haberstroh

As the EDGE prepares to start up for its second year, the Career and Professional Readiness Center (CPRC) decided to make some changes to the program. In comparison to last year, they plan to have more interactive and hands-on seminars with more opportunities to practice the skills they’re learning how to improve.

The EDGE is an opportunity for sophomores, juniors and seniors to have an advantage when applying to internships, graduate school and the workplace. The CPRC started the program last year after students who went into internships and jobs found that, while they had a great foundation, they were lacking some professional skills.

Continue reading “EDGE program prepares for second year”

90’s night benefits Embrace It Africa

By Kelly Haberstroh

[Image courtesy of newspring.cc]

Embrace the 90’s was a fun and nostalgic way to kick off Spring Weekend and donate money to help organizations involved with Embrace it Africa.

Sponsored by the Campus Activities Board, the event was hosted in the Rathskeller on April 28 by Embrace It Africa and Rotaract.

The idea for the collaboration came from Rotaract, who contacted Embrace it Africa to co-host an event together. Campus Activities Board later became involved after discovering the two clubs planned to have their event at the same time as their scheduled 90’s night.

Continue reading “90’s night benefits Embrace It Africa”

Res Life hosts #RaceMatters discussion on ‘Whiteness’

By Kelly Haberstroh

[Image retrieved from voxygen.net]

Dr. Anne-Claire Fisher of the School of Education led a talk on March 21 with Nichole Gonzalez, Executive Director for Residential Living & Conduct and Chief Judicial Officer, as part of the Civil Dialogue series for #RaceMatters. Both Fisher and Gonzalez addressed sensitive issues, such as whiteness, on our campus.

Gonzalez introduced the conversation by addressing the importance of having a safe environment for students to learn how to talk about these kinds of topics. “Until we make mistakes, we are not going to learn,” said Gonzalez. “No questions are off-limits. We want to make sure that everything is out there.”

Fisher has lived in many countries throughout the world, which she feels has had an impact on her views about race. Since she has moved around a lot, she had to constantly leave her comfort zones and reinvent who she was.

Fisher, who is half French and half English, was born in Africa and lived there until she was eleven years old. She has lived in multiple countries in Africa, Europe, Southeast Asia, and Australia. “From a young age, I became aware of many different types of dissidences,” Fisher said.

Due to her diverse background and colonial ancestry, Fisher had been questioning her identity. “Early on, I started thinking about, ‘Who am I? Where do I belong?’ said Fisher.

Her response to this question was, “Africa is my country.”

Fisher also touched upon discrepancies between the children being taught and the people teaching them. Right now, the teaching population is white and middle class, while the student population is more diverse. Studies show that there are more kids in kindergarten who are racially diverse than there are white. This raises issues of inequity, such as disproportionality, according to Fisher.

Fisher believes white people have a difficult time talking about race because they are afraid, because it is not something they are accustomed to.

“In this culture, people here are just taught not to bring up controversial topics,” said Fisher. “The idea of civil dialogue is important and beneficial because there really is not a place here to have that conversation. We need more experience talking to one another. There is a huge fear of conflict.”

Jessica Laursen, junior and journalism and mass communication major, said, “Important conversations like these need to happen. Whiteness has been looked over and not everyone understands it.”

Laursen continued by saying, “We are a step ahead of a lot of universities, where we create a safe space for people to ask questions.”

Despite the fear of offending people and saying something incorrectly, Fisher pointed out that there has been more talk of these issues in light of recent events. “Since Trayvon Martin, people have really started addressing some of these issues publicly.”

Another issue that was also touched upon was the concept of whiteness as absence of color. Fisher felt that this was too simplistic. “Whiteness is more complex than just being non-black. Blackness is a lot more complex than just being non-white. We need to get away from binaries,” said Fisher.

The concept of people wanting to be colorblind by not noticing race and simply seeing a person was also mentioned. When asked about her thoughts on this, Fisher responded by saying, “I think it is insulting. I think we need to see the color.”

By failing to recognize diversity, you deny the person’s identity and they become invisible. “Being colorblind is not the solution. There is this illusion of equality, but there is no equality. There is equity, but equity is not equality,” commented Fisher.

JW Cook, junior and political science major, said, “There are a variety of students on campus and this impacts everyone. It’s important to heighten people’s awareness of these issues.”

On the topic of acknowledging whiteness and white privilege and whether or not it is discriminatory, Fisher said, “We have to embrace color and then try to figure out ‘what do I do with this?’ Then we can become an ally in an intelligent way.”

On the possibility of implementing ways to open up conversation between races, Fisher also said that it is important to create safe places with facilitators that would teach students how to have discussions on loaded topics. By doing so, people will become aware of what’s offensive or not.

“You cannot help where you are born and how you are raised,” Fisher said. “You need to start thinking deeper and questioning ‘what is?’”