By Sean Callahan, News Editor
176 years ago, in 1846, Saint Vincent College was founded by Archabbot Boniface Wimmer, a German and Benedictine monk. This year, SVC celebrated its founding on Nov. 17 with a variety of events, including Vespers and the Honors Convocation, a Thanksgiving dinner, a performance from the Marching Band, and a firework display.
Founders’ Day celebrations began with the Vespers and Honors Convocation in the Saint Vincent Basilica at 3:30 p.m. All classes from 3 to 7 p.m. were canceled, and all SVC community members were invited to attend. Students, seminarians, faculty and staff all processed inside in formal attire.
Father Paul Taylor, President of Saint Vincent College, addressed the community and presented several education awards to Benedictine sisters and Rev. Augustine Curley, Abbot of Newark Abbey, N.J. Curley then reflected on the journey of Boniface Wimmer to what would become Saint Vincent College.
Dr. Jeff Mallory, Executive Vice President, and Dr. John Delaney, Vice President of Academic Affairs, also introduced other awards, including excellence in graduate programs, to community members.
The Thoburn Excellence in Teaching Award, voted upon by members of the Saint Vincent Community each year and presented at Founders Day, was awarded to Dr. Tracy McNelly, Associate Professor of Education. McNelly received her undergraduate degree in Secondary English Education from Duquesne University, and postgraduate degrees from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and the University of Pittsburgh. She has over eight education certifications.
McNelly expressed thanks to students, fellow faculty and staff, and her department for their support. She emphasized the importance of relationships in her field, and spoke to this by simplifying guidelines she provides her own education students.
“In order for learning to occur, we must first take care of our students. They need to know they are supported, valued, listened to, and that they belong,” McNelly said. “Relationships lead to everything good.”
She then ended her speech with a Fred Rogers quote for the SVC community: “If we know that people care about us, we will bend with the wind, but we will not break.”
The Center for Catholic Thought and Culture was then provided with the 2022 Projektenmacher Honor Award. The center is directed by Dr. Jerome Foss, Associate Professor of Politics. Other members include Dr. Michael Krom, Professor and Chair of the Philosophy Department, Dr. Lucas Briola, Assistant Professor of Theology, and Samantha Firestone, coordinator for the center. Firestone was unable to attend the convocation but was credited as a part of the center staff being recognized.
Foss provided remarks following the surprise announcement of the award, including his thanks for support from fellow professors, especially those in the center. He also commented on what he felt was the importance of Founders’ Day. “Founders’ Day is a day for us to remember those who came before us and established a group of students who pursued truth, goodness, and beauty,” Foss said. “It’s also a day to recommit ourselves to that vision.”
The day ended with several events in the evening. The Thanksgiving dinner was served in the Carey Center Gym at 5 p.m., followed by a firework display at 6:30 p.m. and a lighting up of Melvin Platz. SVC community members crowded together above the Shack and in front of the Carey Center to observe the fireworks and lighting up of Melvin Platz. All community members were then invited to view a 7 p.m. performance by the Concert Band in the Carey Center Lounge.