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June 14, 2022, New Haven, Connecticut – Sister Katherine Frazier, OP, newly named Director of the Dominican Youth Movement (DYM), hopes in her new position to continue to foster the bonds of the Dominican family across North America – and to help the Dominican family to engage with its youngest members.

Begun in 2015, the DYM brought together five programs under one umbrella to be more effective in outreach to more than 4,000 young people from high school through young adult years. Individual programs include: 

  • Youth Preaching Workshops, weekend experiences which introduce high school-age youth to the Dominicans and to the idea of preaching the Word; 

  • Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference, a week-long experience that teaches representative students from Dominican high schools how to preach with their lives; 

  • Dominican College Preaching in Action Conference, an annual conference for students from Dominican colleges and universities; 

  • Dominican Young Adults USA, an organization of chapters – many based in Dominican colleges and universities – that give young adults the opportunity to explore Dominican life; and 

  • Dominican houses of hospitality, places where young adults can live in intentional community with vowed Dominicans and Associates.  

Sister Katherine Frazier, OP

Sister Katherine succeeds Sister Gina Fleming, OP, a Dominican Sister of Amityville, and will spend time with her in August to learn about the ministry. Much of Sister Katherine’s ministry will be remote, and she is discerning where to live that would best serve the DYM. 

“First and foremost, I hope that we’ll be able to continue to foster those bonds of the Dominican family across the country among our institutions,” Sister Katherine said. “How can we really introduce young people to the breadth of the Dominican Order – whether nuns or Sisters or laity or Associates – really giving them a glimpse of how diverse it is and how they fit in as people who have been formed with these same ideals?”

Sister Katherine sees the importance of finding where the young Dominicans are and going to them. “My experience of young people, especially high school students, is they don’t really have control over their schedule – so how are we going to them?” She hopes to work with the Dominican family in its outreach to the younger people who feel called to the Dominican Charism. 

“I know this is not a ministry where I can do everything by myself,” she said. “I want the larger Dominican family to provide opportunity to engage with young people … This is something I’m excited about: working on behalf of all the Dominicans across the United States.”

Many members of the Dominican family have reached out through their involvement with the high school and college conferences. Sister Katherine has been a part of both as a volunteer and as an adult leader from Regina Dominican High School, an all-girls school sponsored by the Adrian Dominican Sisters and located in Wilmette, Illinois. One of the practices at the high school conference, she said, is for students and adults from each school to create an action plan – ideas for bringing their experience of the Dominican spirituality to their schools during the next school year.

The question, Sister Katherine said, is how to continue to engage the high school and college students after their experiences at the conferences. The Regina Dominican students “had such a wonderful experience at the conference that they were wondering how they could find ways to capture that excitement so they could have that energizing experience at their school,” she said. “That is something we can look into. How can we create experiences for students who have been to the conference to engage with others who are also being formed in that Dominican Charism?” 

Sister Katherine pointed to other examples of ways that Dominicans can reach out to young people. During her years of ministry at Regina Dominican High School, she organized a pen pal program between the school’s homerooms and the Sisters who had once ministered at the school. But, she added, engaging with young people is as simple as “showing up at a parish church and being willing to talk to the young people. Those are things that many of us are capable of doing.”

Sister Katherine has learned much from her work with young people. “Young people bring a different perspective,” she said. “They’ll ask a difficult question – ‘Why are we doing it this way?’ – and help you to engage with who we are on a deeper level. I think that is the gift that I have experienced working with young people, as well as the opportunity to be around their energy, to learn about their sense of humor and what gets them excited and helps them to be passionate.”

She hopes to bring the Dominican family and the younger Dominicans together, perhaps through presentations in which Dominican Sisters speak to the youth about their ministries, how they were called, or their relationship with God. “If I can find ways of bringing the experience of older Sisters to people who are still trying to wrestle with those decisions, that would help to bridge the gap,” she said. 

 

Feature photo: Sister Katherine Frazier, OP, right, with Regina Dominican High School’s Dominican Preachers, students who attended the Dominican High Schools Preaching Conference. File Photo, Courtesy of Regina Dominican High School


By Liesel Riggs
Director of Marketing and Communications, Siena Heights University

May 20, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD, announced her retirement from her ministry as President of Siena Heights University, effective at the end of the 2022-2023 academic year. Her last day will be June 30, 2023. 

Sister Peg has served as President of Siena Heights University for 16 years and will complete her 17th year at the time of her retirement. She was named the 10th President of Siena Heights University in 2006. 

Sister Peg received a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Wayne State University in Detroit and master’s and doctorate degrees in social work from Barry University in Miami, Florida. She did her post-doctoral work at the Institute for Educational Management at Harvard Graduate School of Education in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and completed post-doctoral classes at Barry University.

"My goals when I arrived on campus in 2006 were to develop the campus, develop trusting relationships with the people of Siena, and to grow enrollment,” Sister Peg said. “I have done my best to do so. Now it is time for someone else to take Siena to the next level. I have all the faith in the world that Siena will continue to grow with its new strategic plan, the STEER process, and the new program starting this summer for retention, Moving the Needle. And I know that my leadership team and the faculty and staff are committed to see Siena Heights grow into its future.”

“It is with mixed emotion that I learned of Sister Peg’s retirement,” said Dusty Steele, Chair of the Board. “As President, her accomplishments were many, but nothing more significant than the multitude of relationships she developed with students, faculty, staff, and members of the greater community. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, we greatly appreciate all she has given Siena Heights University and we are grateful to have her leadership for the next year.”

A few notable highlights of Sister Peg’s tenure include:

  • The freezing of tuition rates for its Adrian campus undergraduate students for the 2008-09 academic year, a move almost unprecedented for small, private universities.

  • The establishment in 2009 of a nursing program. The fully accredited program now has pre-licensure, RN to BSN and MSN degree paths. Siena Heights University also established new majors in 2017, such as exercise science, cybersecurity, and agroecology.

  • The establishment in 2010 of a football program, followed by other new co-curricular programs, such as bowling, lacrosse, cheer and dance, and marching band.

  • The building and dedication of new buildings, including the O’Laughlin Stadium and Dawson Field for the football program in 2011; the McLaughlin University Center in 2013; the Spencer Performing Arts Center in 2018; the Centennial Mall in 2019 to mark the University’s 100th anniversary; and the Patricia A. Erickson Enrollment and Welcome Center in 2020.

  • The “On Higher Ground” campaign in 2012, which helped Siena Heights University raise more than $19 million in gifts and pledges – surpassing its original goal of $13 million. 

  • Record enrollment on the Adrian campus in 2016, surpassing 1,000 full-time undergraduate students. 

  • The introduction in 2021 of the SHU Global brand, the student experience of educating professional working students. This includes undergraduate and graduate students at one of Siena’s several Michigan locations, as well as the national ranked Online Program.

  • The beginning of the “Being Bolder, Reaching New Heights” five-year strategic plan in 2022. This includes initiatives ranging from areas like innovation to marketing/branding to diversity and inclusion. All these efforts are focused on making a better university and will position Siena Heights University for a sustainable future. This comprehensive plan also includes a university-wide formal examination of the university’s curricular and co-curricular activities.  Representatives from all areas of the university, including the strategic plan partner, Credo, are involved in the process.

These accomplishments were made possible with the help of Sister Peg’s President’s Cabinet team and the Siena Heights community, a testament to her collaborative leadership style and her focus on facilitating change rather than imposing it.

“We still have a great deal of work to do this coming year to assure Siena’s sustainability,” Sister Peg said. “I will continue to work as hard as I ever have this coming academic year. The 2022-23 academic year will be a busy one for all of us as we continue to implement all the plans we have made for Siena’s future as we move into the next 100 years!”

The Siena Heights University Board of Trustees will begin the presidential search this summer.

 

Feature photo: Sister Peg Albert, OP, PhD, lights the torch during the dedication of Siena Heights University’s Centennial Mall, August 2019. Photo Courtesy of Siena Heights University Marketing and Communications Office


 

 

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