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The Call Toward Tomorrow

Dear UST Colleagues and Community Members,

I write with exciting news. Last Thursday, just as the morning sun rose over the city skyline and glistened  brightly from the dome of our beautiful chapel, 30 members of the University community assembled in the Carol Tatkon Boardroom in Malloy Hall. The group, a broad mix of UST faculty, staff, friends, directors, and alumni, came with enthusiasm and commitment for their purpose. As the Strategic Thinking Oversight Committee, they will help clarify a bold, transformational, and durable vision, shaping how we conceive the promise ahead for decades in the life of the University of St. Thomas.

Curtis Huff, chair of the Board’s Strategic Planning Committee and chair of this process, helped kick off this first meeting. Three values that are clear right from the outset are transparency, imagination, and the desire to embrace and move beyond the challenges of the moment. In my opening remarks I noted that 55 years ago this week, St. Pope John XXIII launched the Second Vatican Council with a call for the Church to speak to the modern world in hope. I also noted that 100 years ago this week, 70,000 people stood and knelt in a field in Fatima, Portugal as they witnessed the miracle of the sun. My reflection is that The Call Toward Tomorrow is a time for us to look always forward with the hope that does not disappoint, to a future open to the miracles of our time!

The Call Toward Tomorrow, an integrated planning process, will unfold over the balance of this academic year. Please start now and continue through the weeks and months ahead, to pray for, talk about, and share thoughts on the common vision, the dream, and the story that will unite and propel our beloved University of St. Thomas.

I propose a new way forward, a “culture of encounter,” as an approach for us — you and me — to be our best with each other. Recognizing that each of us is imbued with gifts to share and to be respected, we can emerge from the clouds of doubt and distrust that can separate and distort our unity. Gone is the fear that stymies growth, initiative, ownership, and innovation. In its place is our true nature, friendship, that restores, builds, and advances.

Our questions are big ones. They call us to understand the lived reality of students and the pressures of our world, not borne of nostalgia. At the same time, they beckon us to new possibilities, formed from imagination and fearless dreaming. With big answers to big questions and the immutable truths of faith, our vision will sharpen and lead UST to a bold future of unprecedented success.

The Call Toward Tomorrow website provides reflections from our process leaders and will continue to be updated with the names of the Oversight Committee members and more as we move ahead with this planning process. I invite everyone to engage in the process and to make suggestions directly using the website’s suggestion box.

Thank you in advance for “opting in” together this year as we discern The Call Toward Tomorrow and build a bright and shining future for the University of St. Thomas.

In unity and peace,

Richard Ludwick

About the Author — Dr. Richard Ludwick

AvatarRichard L. Ludwick became the 9th president of the University of St. Thomas on July 1, 2017. He previously served as president of the Independent Colleges of Indiana, the nation’s oldest association of 31 private, nonprofit colleges and universities enrolling more than 100,000 students. In that capacity, he led strategic initiatives in public policy at the state and federal levels, spurred innovative, intercollegiate collaborations, and successfully executed multi-million dollar philanthropic campaigns.

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