From the President
Spring is the time of year when all institutions of higher learning take stock — of the outcomes of their graduating class, the profile of their incoming class and the lessons each offer. This perpetual process connects what our graduates teach us about the times we live in and our efforts to meet the expectations of students to come.
Today’s college students are among the first of their generation, Generation Z, to pursue higher education. It is true that there are real and distinct generational differences, and with each new cohort, universities feel and adjust to the shifts. But I would argue that comprehensive universities, such as Saint Joseph’s, with extensive business and professional offerings, are and always have been best equipped to address the changing needs of any generation, no matter the social, economic or political forces that shape them.
The foundations of learning how to think — a hallmark of liberal education — are connected to core competencies highly valued in today’s workforce like critical thinking, problem solving, work ethic, collaboration and communication skills. These proficiencies serve our graduates well in the work place — year after year and generation after generation — whether they majored in accounting or philosophy.
The alumni you will read about in the cover story of this issue of Saint Joseph’s University Magazine, nearly all millennials, prove that an SJU education lays a solid foundation on which to build not just a career, but a life.
The roles these alumni hold run the gamut from pharmaceutical executive and financial analyst to head chef and assistant high school principal — roles that require varying skill sets and training. But when asked what drives and sustains them, their answers echo a deep appreciation for their liberal arts education and the values embedded in the Jesuit tradition: adaptability, courage, justice, curiosity, an empathetic mindset, a focus on the greater good, a commitment to lifelong learning, happiness, connectedness.
When I have the opportunity to talk with our alumni, I am almost always reminded of something one of my mathematics professors, Joseph MacDonnell, S.J., said about the Jesuit philosophy of education:
“We want our students to leave us wanting for others the same good things they want for themselves.”
This is our legacy, no matter the generation.
Mark C. Reed, Ed.D.