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May 20, 2022, Adrian, Michigan – The Adrian Dominican Sisters stand in support and solidarity of the May 18, 2022, statement by the National Black Sisters’ Conference deploring the “irrational act of violence” against 10 innocent people in Buffalo on May 14, 2022, and calling on people of faith to speak out for justice. The statement follows.
As the National Black Sisters' Conference we stand in solidarity and in grief with the families of the deceased; the good citizens of Buffalo, and people of good will around the world, who are grieving this senseless taking of innocent life in the name of white supremacy.
We are outraged and saddened by this irrational act of violence, which has caused untold suffering and loss for our nation and the loved ones of the deceased. We speak their names that we might honor and never forget them.
Aaron Sutter, 55; Pearly Young, 77; Celeste Chaney, 65; Ruth Whitfield, 86; Deacon Heyward Paterson, 67; Katherine Massey, 72; Roberta Drary, 32; Margus Morrison, 52; Andre Mackneil, 53; and Geraldine Talley, 62.
They were ordinary people, who cared about their families, communities, and in large and small ways, tried to be responsible citizens and good neighbors. Now, countless lives have been shattered and are irreparable because of one act of hate-filled violence.
As people of faith we must cry out for justice! We stand in solidarity and prayer with the families of the deceased and we demand that our nation, once and for all, ACT to end gun violence, which is destroying communities of color; to denounce white supremacy and all groups that espouse hate and perpetuate violence against African Americans, people of color, the LGBTQ+ community, the Jewish community, the disabled and anyone, who is labeled "different" and therefore unworthy to exist.
If we do not ACT NOW we will surely witness the demise and perhaps even the destruction of our nation, which professes to be “one nation under God with liberty and justice for all.”
It is time that we begin to live these words and not simply give lip-service to them.
It is time that we eradicate the cancers of racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, and xenophobia.
It is time that we become the nation that our founders dared to envision even while enslaving Africans and annihilating Native Peoples.
We call upon our Catholic Bishops and all leaders of faith to work as diligently to protect the lives of the living as the lives of the unborn.
We call upon President Biden, Congress, and the Attorney General of the United States to pass sensible gun-control laws and to punish the perpetrators of hate and violence to the fullest extent of the law.
Finally, we call upon all people of good will to speak truth to power, and to work unceasingly for justice.
We must ACT NOW for tomorrow may be too late.
United in the struggle for justice,
Sister Josita Colbert, SNDdeN
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