Archbishop Rodi, Provincial Fr. Mercier, Members of the Spring Hill College Board of Trustees, Members of the Spring Hill Jesuit Community, Faculty, Staff, Students, Spring Hill Alumni and distinguished guests,
I am deeply humbled and greatly honored to accept this appointment as the 37th president of this College we love so dearly. I am deeply humbled by the awesome responsibility with which you have entrusted me. I am greatly honored by your confidence that I can succeed in this monumental role and undertaking.
Everyone could use a friend like the Friends of the Spring Hill College Library. Established in 1990, the organization has raised more than $500,000 for the library in its 25-year history. In 2015, in celebration of its quarter-century of service to Spring Hill College, the Friends presented the Burke Memorial Library with a $25,000 gift to be used to enhance library services.
With three college-aged children, Dr. Tom and Karen Novak visited 23 campuses looking for the right school. What attracted their daughter, Kim, to Spring Hill College was the small size, its location in the south and Catholic affiliation. “It was everything we were hoping for,” said Tom. “Everybody looks out for our daughter. It’s almost as if we have extended family over there.”
At the inauguration of Dr. Christopher P. Puto in September, Dr. Leigh Ann Litwiller Berte extended greetings to those gathered on behalf of the Spring Hill College faculty. Dr. Litwiller Berte is an associate professor of English and writing; she was also honored as the 2015 Teacher of the Year.
Spring Hill College Magazine sat down with SGA President Conner Bueche to get his thoughts on the inauguration of the College’s first lay president, as well as the advice he’d offer Dr. Puto in his first year at the College.
While Conner Bueche didn’t have any idea that his term as SGA president would include speaking at a presidential inauguration in September 2015, he was happy to welcome Dr. Christopher P. Puto on behalf of the students with a speech that focused on growth, success and prosperity.
It’s an opportunity he calls a “wonderful happenstance of good luck” and a job he’s been preparing for his whole life.
Dr. Christopher P. Puto ’64 took the reins as the 37th president of Spring Hill College in June 2015 and was formally installed at the inauguration ceremony in September. Inauguration week evoked a whirlwind of emotions for the College’s first lay president. As the big day approached, he felt “first, a sense of excitement that this is really happening, and second, a tinge of anxiety that I hope I don’t foul it up somehow.”
Megan St. Germain '15 and Erinn Vogel '15 understand the importance of fundraising.
Both communication arts majors, St. Germain of Baton Rouge, La., and Vogel of Milwaukee, Wis., have worked in Spring Hill's Advancement Office, getting to know the ins and outs of the College's fundraising, alumni relations, and communications and marketing efforts.
In this, my last letter as president of the College, I want to share my deep sense of gratitude for where we find ourselves as an institution completing 185 years of living the mission of Jesuit and Catholic education on this Hill.
Dr. Michael Kaffer '61, Professor Emeritus of English
(53 years of service)
One year after graduating from Spring Hill in 1961, Kaffer embarked on his teaching career as an instructor in the English department. In 1966 he took a three-year hiatus to complete a master's degree in English from Louisiana State University - Shreveport, and returned to Spring Hill in 1969. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in education administration from the University of Alabama in 1985.
The Spring Hill College Board of Trustees announced in February the election of Dr. Christopher Puto as the 37th president of Spring Hill College. Puto began his post officially on June 1, and he will be formally inaugurated Sept. 15. He succeeds the Rev. Gregory F. Lucey, S.J., who is continuing to serve the College as chancellor focusing on mission and identity.
One's vocation might take him no further than his own neighborhood, or it might send him to the other side of the world. In the case of three Spring Hill College alumni, their vocations led them back to The Hill.
At a time when the College needed them the most, Jim McKinney '69 and John '68 and Mary Lou '70 Barter used their business acumen and philanthropic strategy to get the College's financial situation back on track.
In fall 2014, Spring Hill College joined NetVUE, the Network for Vocation in Undergraduate Education, a consortium of more than 100 colleges and universities working towards helping undergraduates engage in vocational discernment. Interestingly, this group, despite its scholarship, program development, and the myriad efforts of its member institutions, has no official definition of vocation, although all agree that vocation is much more expansive than simply "career."
A small act of kindness can leave a lasting impression.
Bill Holley was just a child in the 1930s when his parents divorced, leaving him and his mother destitute. As a teenager, he worked odd jobs after high school to help make ends meet. He would ride his bike from his home on St. Joseph Street in downtown Mobile to Murphy High School, and after school to Albright & Woods Drug Store at the foot of Spring Hill, where he worked as a soda jerk.
My days at Spring Hill College are blessed with the beauty of life on campus. The Hill adds dimension to our students' lives. It gives them pride in the roots they form here, a common ground when they come across fellow alumni one day. Our picturesque campus provides an environment in which our students grow during this truly transformative time in their lives.
Michael P. Coghlan was recently elected as chairman of the Spring Hill College Board of Trustees. He served on the board from 2002 to 2011 and was re-elected in 2013. He replaces Jim McKinney '69 as chair.
"Yellow Day," a faith-based feature film and fairy tale, premiered Sept. 16, at the Mobile Civic Center Theater. The film is a blend of animation and live action. The live-action scenes were filmed over the course of 20 days in the summer of 2012 in St. Joseph Chapel and Mobile's Camp Grace.
Dr. Thomas M. Kelly, professor of theology at Creighton University, presented "Remembering the Jesuit Martyrs: A Faith That Does Justice" to the Spring Hill community Nov. 17. His talk focused on the events leading up to the Jesuits' massacre and why their work with the poor and marginalized made them targets of the Salvadoran military.