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State of the College: “Commemorate the Past, Live in the Present, and Prepare for the Future”

On Jan. 19, St. Mary’s College of Maryland President Tuajuanda C. Jordan started the spring 2018 semester off by delivering the State of the College address, titled “Commemorate the Past, Live in the Present, and Prepare for the Future.”

Jordan began by reflecting on the Martin Luther King Jr. Prayer Breakfast which the College held on Jan. 15. She outlined the theme for the address as, “service and our responsibility as an institution of higher education in the public sector to lead and guide our communities through service that is inclusive and focused on what we believe to be for the greater good.”   

The first section of the address, Commemorating the Past, focused on the College’s journey to understand its  relationship with slavery to and work to commemorate the slaves who lived in St. Mary’s. President Jordan highlighted the work of the Commemoration Committee, Historic St. Mary’s City, Sotterley Plantation, the Slackwater project and the Unified Committee for African-American Contributions in “helping us establish the foundation for telling the story of the enslaved.” These organizations have been working together to find way to represent the lives of slaves and increase our understanding of slavery.    

In the Live in the Present section of her speech, Jordan encouraged those in the audience  to “continue our efforts to educate and be of benefit to the community.” The college community has over 20,000 volunteering hours Jordan gave a special thanks to the initiative St. Mary’s College Cares led by the Student Government Association to donate non-perishable items to families affected by Hurricane Harvey. Over 9,800 non-perishable items were collected as well as $14,000.

Last year, Associate Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion Dr. Kortet Mensah helped lead the initiative to integrate DiversityEdu into our campus. Over 70 percent of the campus community participated in the passive and active portions of DiversityEdu, and there were over 140 volunteers that helped develop and facilitate DiversityEdu at SMCM, now called DiversitySMCM.

Lastly, President Jordan illustrated how we can prepare for the future. SMCM now ranks as the fifth best public liberal arts college in the nation according to U.S. News & World Report. SMCM is also ranked 6th in The Princeton Review’s Guide to the Top 50 Green Colleges. President Jordan remarked that “these are all good accolades, but we cannot rest on our laurels.”

The effort to turn things around at St. Mary’s comes in the form of Honors College 2.0, and institutional effort announced at the previous State of the College Address. To read more about Honors College 2.0 see the article on page 3.

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