Letter From the President – Summer 2018

Dear Friends and Alumni,

Summer is upon us. Another school year has passed. The 93rd class of Saint Mary graduates crossed the stage to receive their diplomas and our Saint Mary alumni family has 378 new members. I could not be more proud of these Saint Marians. They will better our world as teachers, nurses, physical therapists, actuaries, and graduate students. In their varied paths, they will all walk the Saint Mary way with integrity, excellence, and faith.

Graduation also forced us to say farewell to three faculty who served Saint Mary so long and so well, Van Ibsen, Dr. Joy Raser, and Dr. Patti Carnahan. After 38 years, Van brought his final load of lumber into the theatre using the fire escape this April (the one “job” he said he will not miss). Van has shaped the lives of students on and off the stage for nearly four decades. He is the mission in motion! Joy served as a professor of English for 18 years, and Patti helped our students move to the other side of the desk as she educated them so brilliantly to become teachers. We will miss them.

As many of you may know, we also had to say a tragic goodbye to one of our own, Christian Yanos, a digital communications major from California. In early March, Christian collapsed on the football field in front of his team and was declared dead an hour later at St. John’s Hospital.

We later learned the cause was a genetic heart condition. His sudden death shook our campus community—but together, we grieved, we cried, and we prayed. Then, we prayed some more. I cannot imagine leading a community through such a tragedy without the gift of faith.

We were honored to welcome his family to campus in April for a tree blessing, a little spring football, and, most importantly, the sharing of stories. We drew strength and healing from being together. The football team and the campus will long remember the “Yanos Way,” that says the glass is always more than half-full and there is always much to smile about.

It is good to know that as we grow adding students, sports, and new degrees, the Saint Mary way is alive and well. One faculty member remarked, “I don’t know the right words, but the way we walked through the loss of Christian, it is what makes us Saint Mary.” Amen.

Blessings,

Sister Diane Steele, SCL, Ph.D., C’83

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