Yesterday, I had the opportunity to meet with our men’s soccer team who had an outstanding fall season and won the Commonwealth Coast Championship (CCC) for the second time in history. The team, hosted the 1st round of the NCAA Championships, won that game and then went on to face the #3 team in the country.
Although I know very little about soccer, it was incredible for me to watch the team win some very exciting games. The team faced a number of challenges this past season including losing four outstanding seniors. However, they rose to the challenge with 15 different players scoring goals during the season. I also want to congratulate their dedicated coach, Chris Traina, who worked hard to build the organization and ensure that every player knew his role and played it well.
As I talked with the team, I wanted to know what their “secret” was for such a terrific season, particularly given they were ranked in the middle of the CCC at the start of the season. They attributed it to their “team chemistry” and friendships off the field. It’s always rewarding to see a team that rises above expectations and delivers a remarkable outcome.
On December 1, I had the pleasure of having dinner with 11 alumni who have graduated within the past 10 years for a “Young Alumni Dinner.” During the event, I updated these alumni about some of the new developments on campus and solicited their feedback and suggestions for the future. It was rewarding to hear about the positive impact the College has had on these graduates.
Based on their feedback, it is clear that the College does well at preparing our students for their careers. Several commented on the importance of internships and stated that we need to continue to stress this to our students. Several also remarked on the quality of the faculty and staff who clearly influenced their time here on campus and their future success. Our focus on helping our students develop their presentation, collaboration, and critical thinking skills, and their ability to work in groups is paying off as well.
As we look to the future, our goal is to continue to solicit feedback from our alumni through a variety of channels. This dinner was just one such event.
Thanksgiving is an appropriate time for me to reflect upon and express appreciation for the many blessings in my life. Personally, I am most thankful for an amazing family, my husband Dave, our two terrific children (Kristy and Jason) and their wonderful spouses (Brad and Erin), and two grandkids (Grace and Liam), who are the love of my life. Dave and I are fortunate that both of our children live close by, so we will spend Thanksgiving with them.
Most of all I am thankful for our students. The Class of 2015, who came to Nichols with me in the fall of 2011, is preparing to leave us, a bittersweet experience for me. As I reflect back upon my past four years at Nichols, I realize that I am truly blessed to be here, where the level of caring among faculty and staff is remarkable. This makes my job easier in many ways because our students truly come first. These years have been the most rewarding of my professional life, as the College experiences record enrollment and retention levels and sees major facilities projects underway. One quote by John F. Kennedy expresses my sentiments as my family and I plan on celebrating the holiday: “As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to mutter the words, but to live by them.”
I wish you and your family a blessed Thanksgiving. May your life be filled with good things to be thankful for as ours are filled with thankfulness for you.
Here at Nichols, we are always looking for opportunities to develop our female students’ leadership skills. On November 13, the Institute for Women’s Leadership, in cooperation with the American Association of University Women (AAUW), hosted the $mart $tart Salary Negotiation Workshop. Recognizing that women are still underpaid compared to their male counterparts, this workshop was a positive encouragement to our students. The results were evident in the post-workshop surveys. Before the workshop, 25% of those women attending stated they were “not at all confident of their salary negotiation skills.” After the workshop, none of them rated themselves in this category and nearly 50% rated themselves as either “very confident” or “extremely confident.” We will continue to offer these types of opportunities for our female students with the goal that we can help develop the next generation of female business leaders.
Faculty, staff, and current students in bright orange “Movers and Shakers” t-shirts were out in full force this past Friday for the new student move-in. Fortunately, the rain held off for the morning as a record number of first year students were assisted in their move-in by a number of athletic teams including the men’s and women’s soccer teams, women’s field hockey team, and the football team. I loved seeing the football team in their official gear helping out our new students and carrying some heavy items, even flat screen TVs! I was also very pleased to see many members of the Bridge Program pitching in.
Many parents remarked about how efficient the move-in process was. One dad who was wearing a Superman t-shirt remarked that he really didn’t need it given all the volunteers helping out. I also had the opportunity to chat with the Hoey’s who were moving their daughter Catherine in to join her two brothers currently on campus!
Overall, the day was fun, challenging and a great kick off to our new students’ academic career.