Message from the President

Forward Magazine Spring/Summer 2019


Dear Alumni and Friends,

I would like to begin my message to you by quoting from the remarks made by Sr. Catherine Meinert, Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill, at our 101st Commencement on May 11th. “Graduates, you recently celebrated the 100th anniversary of the founding of this Catholic institution of higher education.  You have been told again and again how the sister founders of this university were pioneer women who were willing to risk everything for the success of this institution.  We stand on their shoulders! The Sisters of Charity founded this Catholic institution in 1918 and hundreds, no; thousands of young scholars have graduated and bear the name Setonian. 

Yet, the theme of that yearlong celebration was 100 years forward!  We cannot just look at what was accomplished, but we must be the ones to continue that legacy of risk taking and caring for others.  Yes, the roots of the tree are the Sisters of Charity, the tree is Seton Hill University, and the alumni are the leaves and blossoms that bear the name Setonian.”

Sr. Catherine’s timely remarks remind us that our past serves as the foundation on which we will build Seton Hill’s next 100 years.  With our eyes on the future we are prepared to overcome challenges and take advantage of opportunities. 

Today, I would like to share with you how we have begun the work of building on the secure foundation established by our founders and their successors.  As we look to the future we recognize that Seton Hill, along with all other institutions of higher education, continues to be challenged by the issues of student access and affordability.  Currently 40 percent of Seton Hill students are the first in their families to attend college, 33 percent of our students receive federal Pell Grants, and overall 99 percent of Seton Hill students receive some form of financial support. Recognizing that affordability remains an issue for families, we work tirelessly to keep Seton Hill tuition as low as possible. However, the majority of our students still need additional financial support.  The outpouring of support we received from our alumni and friends through the Centennial Campaign for Student Scholarships (over $10 million raised for 119 new or existing endowed scholarships) will have a long-term impact on the lives of deserving students.  To our donors, I offer my most sincere thanks and gratitude – your generosity ensures that future generations of talented students will have the advantage of a Seton Hill education regardless of financial need.

We must also ensure that a Seton Hill education is relevant and will, in the words of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, “fit our students for the world in which they will live.”  To that end we will continue to develop and implement new academic programs and update existing programs. At Seton Hill we will remain an institution that provides programs that meet the needs of our region and our country, and that completely prepares our students for success in their chosen fields.

In this issue of the Forward you will find detailed information on exciting new academic programs, however, I would like take a moment to highlight our new Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing (BSN).  This fall we will welcome our first class of 24 students in the new Daniel J. Wukich School of Nursing. Named for Seton Hill Trustee and Quest Healthcare Development Founder and CEO, Daniel J. Wukich – who provided a generous leadership gift to begin the program – the Wukich School will allow Seton Hill students to earn a BSN, which is the standard for entry-level nursing positions at hospitals and healthcare systems nationally and throughout our region.

Seton Hill’s Nursing program is steeped in the university’s historic rigor in science which began with our very first science courses as a four-year college in 1918.  The program offers comprehensive preparation for students and ensures that all students will be in a clinical setting by their sophomore year of study.  It also offers multiple opportunities for experiential learning at well-respected medical facilities including University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) sites such as Children’s Hospital, Allegheny Health Network (AHN) sites, Excela Health sites, and assisted living facilities such as the William Penn Care Centers.  Last, consistent with Seton Hill’s thoughtful integration of technology across the curriculum as an Apple Distinguished School, our school of nursing will feature the use of: virtual technology for case management, interactive mannequins, smart medical carts to deliver medicines or medical supplies, and digital charting.  Seton Hill’s nursing program is designed to graduate nurses with the expertise needed to help alleviate the shortage of BSN trained nurses that threatens our nation’s health care industry.

Through the Seton Hill Office of Academic Innovation and Planning, we are able to rapidly launch new academic programs that align with workforce needs.  In the last three years Seton Hill initiated new undergraduate degree programs in:  Nursing; Cybersecurity; Data Analytics; Educational Studies; Global Studies; Health Science; Commercial Music; as well as minor degree programs in Medical Spanish and in Health Science. 

New MBA specializations in Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination as well as Project Management provide advanced educational opportunities for future leaders in business.  A new MBA specialization in Healthcare Administration enhances the skills of administrators adapting to the rapidly changing world of health care.  A Master’s Degree in Education with a specialization in Innovative Instruction provides teachers and other professionals insight into the current trends in education and training, including mobile technology, e-learning and wearable technology.   

“Fit for the World: The Seton Hill University Career Readiness Plan,” regionally and nationally recognized as a Model of Excellence by University Business Magazine, blends targeted and personalized career preparation work with a liberal arts education.  The “Fit for the World” program supports our students throughout their time at Seton Hill in a variety of ways beginning in the freshman year where they complete FOCUS 2, a career and education planning system which helps students confirm or identify an academic major, and create a college-level résumé.  During the next three years students have the opportunity to interact with you, our dedicated alumni, through our Career Connections Program, which provides Seton Hill students the opportunity to connect with professional alumni at 40 organizations nationwide. We are so grateful to those of you who volunteer to participate in this program by sharing your professional experience, workplace wisdom and career-related advice with our students. 

The capstone of the program occurs during students’ junior and senior years as they begin to explore a chosen career path through experiential learning opportunities including Internship, Research, Clinical Rotations, and Study Away, Study Abroad.  The Director of the Career and Professional Development Center also conducts a session to prepare seniors for their first job, which includes the completion of a professional résumé and a video mock interview.  The results of this program are evident in a survey of the Class of 2018 which show that 98 percent of our bachelor’s degree recipients were working or enrolled in graduate school within six months of graduation, while 99 percent of our master’s degree recipients were employed or pursuing further study. 

As always, I thank each of you for your extraordinary support of Seton Hill.  Your continued involvement in the mission of our university is a wonderful testament to Seton Hill’s past, and a promise for our future.  By your devotion, you help ensure our students are prepared to transform the world in the tradition of Elizabeth Ann Seton and the Sisters of Charity of Seton Hill.

Hazard Yet Forward,