FOND DU LAC, Wis.-Marian College’s 12th president, Josefina Castillo Baltodano, J.D., has completed the first six months of her administration with vigorous initiatives and expanded programs proceeding full speed ahead.
“Anticipating continuing success in increasing enrollment calls on us to expand our academic programs and campus facilities,” said Dr. Baltodano at the College’s Convocation Sept. 16. “Every initiative we create will be geared toward enhancing our students’ quality of life and advancing institutional preeminence in the applied liberal arts. Marian will take the lead, forging new educational pathways that meet the needs of emerging generations of students.
“Creating dynamic new partnerships with corporations, foundations, and other educational institutions, and continuing many well established relationships with many local and regional constituents will strengthen Marian. Our future as an exceptional community is dedicated to continuously improving the quality of life for everyone we serve.”
One of those new partnerships benefits Kenosha Unified School District students — with two scholarships for KUSD graduates who aspire to become teachers and graduates majoring in other disciplines.
The 2006–07 academic year began with another traditional undergraduate enrollment record: 1,383 students as of Sept. 1. Total enrollment for the college, including Adult Accelerated and graduate students, now exceeds 3,000.
The 70th anniversary theme, “A Legacy of Excellence,” was part of activities throughout the first half of the 2006–07 academic year, including a 70th birthday party Sept. 8. The milestone year enabled some of the College’s earliest students from 1936 to remember their Marian days, including Sr. Claude Feldner, CSA, 108, an original member of the Marian faculty, and Sr. Mildred Ryan ’41, CSA, 90, a member of Marian’s first graduating class.
Participants in the College’s fifth annual Academic Symposium explored the topic of “Catholic Identity in an Increasingly Divided World.” Keynote speaker Richard A. Yanikoski, Ph.D., CEO of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, discussed his vision of the Catholic college as a place “to try to educate the whole person, which requires a more ethical and meaningful view of life. It needs to be a place where students with different beliefs come together with mutual respect, where they can share their views with each other peacefully.”
Sr. Dianne Bergant ’61, CSA, a professor of Biblical studies at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, focused on Marian’s commitment to diversity: “At Marian we do not tolerate diversity, we embrace diversity. College must teach you how to deal with diversity, and this lesson may not always be taught in the classroom; it is taught by personal interactions.”
Marian received a 10-year reaccreditation from the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, for the College’s bachelor’s and master’s-degree programs. Marian faculty members demonstrated that education is not confined to the classroom. A Biology professor received a National Institute of Health grant to study the pollution of Wisconsin bodies of water and beaches; another professor wrote a book on at-risk learners.
School of Education graduate students learned about issues in eastern Wisconsin — students who graduate from school unprepared for the workforce, employers who can’t find qualified employees, and college graduates who leave Wisconsin to find jobs. Students in the Creating Community Learning Connections course visited numerous Fond du Lac-area businesses to learn concepts from the business world that are applicable to their classroom work.
Marian students also made news. Sophomore Ross Oestreich took a year off school to serve with the Wisconsin Army National Guard in Iraq. Marian’s Chamber Singers toured Austria for 10 days, marking the first international tour by a Marian musical ensemble. A Marian doctoral student presented a paper at Oxford University in England. The annual Presents for Pediatrics toy donation drive — part of four Marian-based holiday donation drives — collected more than 500 gifts for patients at children’s hospitals in Wisconsin.
Marian’s 25th annual Business & Industry Awards featured 3M CEO George Buckley, former CEO of Brunswick Corporation and its Mercury Marine subsidiary in Fond du Lac, talking about creating innovative products.
The Edwin S. Shneidman Program in Thanatology, a joint effort of Marian College, Agnesian HealthCare and the St. Agnes Hospital Foundation, began its first lectures and continuing education classes last fall. The Thanatology program offers a continuing education certificate program in death, dying, care of the dying, grief and bereavement, to advance knowledge about the physical, emotional, ethical and spiritual needs of individuals and families confronting death through research, education and practical experience.
Marian’s Social and Behavioral Science Division began a lecture series on subjects such as self-worth in a consumerist age and police agency policy related to car chases. Marian’s Make a Difference Week began with a speech from a lung transplant recipient and included opportunities to donate blood, bone marrow and long hair for cancer patients. One speaker wrote a book about the Ku Klux Klan based on his meetings with KKK members and attending rallies. A motivational speaker, born without legs, also spoke on campus.
The College’s spring and fall Commencements featured two Marian alumni — manufacturing executive Michael Conger ’04 in May and international watercolor expert Sr. Doris Klein ’71, CSA, in December.
Marian College’s traditions continued throughout 2006, including the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration and the sixth annual Mission & Values Celebration in January, Celebrate Diversity Week in February, the Sabre Show, and the 20th annual Heritage Festival of the Arts in September. The MTV Campus Invasion Tour, featuring three bands, rocked campus in the spring.
The coming year will include the construction of a new baseball field on campus, a joint project of Marian and St. Mary’s Springs High School. Herr–Baker Field is named for former Marian baseball coach Ron Herr and the Baker family, owners of the four-generation Baker Cheese Factory in St. Cloud.
“Following record-breaking levels of enrollment this year, the college is implementing vigorous recruitment and retention efforts that will result in a fully inclusive Marian, from the overall learning environment, to the academic curriculum,” says Dr. Baltodano. “These initiatives will preserve Marian’s 70-year legacy of excellence for traditional, graduate and adult learners in the coming years.”