Evening of Gratitude

Remarks at the Annual Evening of Gratitude Donor Recognition Event

Sept. 13, 2018

Trustees, alumni, members of the college leadership council, friends, faculty and staff, and distinguished guests of Merrimack College — 

Merrimack is 71 years old this fall, and I don’t know if our community has had a more momentous year than this past twelve months.

On Monday, we announced the college’s move into NCAA Division I athletics —months after watching our men’s lacrosse team earn the Division II National Championship at Gillette Stadium.

We learned that we have become a top-50 school in our U.S. News category, and were also named one of the “most innovative” schools in the northern United States.

This follows Money magazine’s recognition of us as one of the 10 “most transformative” institutions in the country, based on the success we create for our graduates.

Last spring, we graduated our largest-ever senior class in our award-winning new stadium. And this fall, we welcomed our largest-ever freshman class, of more than 1,100 students.

We opened our fifth school — the School of Nursing and Health Sciences — and earned state approval to begin offering nursing degrees.

And we are moments from marking the culmination of the largest capital campaign in Merrimack history, in which thousands of alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends of the college — including many of you here tonight — have expressed their support for who we are and what we do.

Tonight we have opened and dedicated the Dr. Alfred L. Arcidi Center, honoring one of our earliest alumni and a family that represents three generations of Merrimack education. and tomorrow night, our campus will come together for our annual Block Party, capping the week with fireworks that will be a very public manifestation of the excitement we are all feeling.

When we broke ground for Crowe Hall —the college’s first new academic building in three decades — I observed that Merrimack College was replacing the promise of “we will be” with the reality of “we are” — transforming decades of potential into a present of achievement, and a future of success.

Truly, we have come into our own as an institution and as a community.

These recognitions are not the reasons for our success. They are the results of it.

We are successful because we had a great vision, in our Agenda for Distinction, and worked with discipline and purpose to implement that vision.

We are successful because we have recruited great faculty and staff, nurtured and developed our people, rewarded talent, and invested strategically in academics and facilities — and these decisions brought us greater numbers of students who are excited by the prospects we promise for their future.

We are successful because we did all this by hewing to our Augustinian principles — that we live and learn best when we act as a community; that we are always restless to achieve more and better; that under God we seek, and share, true wisdom.

We are successful because of the support, the vision and the wisdom of those like the families we honor this evening — the Gallants, the Edmundses, and especially the Arcidi family, whose legacy greets everyone who enters the campus of the institution so beloved by their dad.

And we will continue to be successful because we will not rest.

We know the value of hard work, and the rewards for it. We see them very clearly this week.

We will be proud, but never let pride overshadow our mission.

We will celebrate and then turn back to the task before us.

We will do all this, knowing that we are a community.

We are top 50.

We are Division I.

We are transformative.

We are innovative.

We are Merrimack.

I thank you all for everything you do every day for our students and this college. Our future is ever brighter because of you.

Thank you and God bless you all.