2015 was a year that exemplified our mission of developing extraordinarily well-prepared graduates.
Among the highlights of the past year:
Irish Taoiseach and Prime Minister Enda Kenny praised President John L. Lahey for educating the world about the horrors and avoidable tragedy of Ireland’s Great Hunger during a Sept. 24 visit to the university. “Bless you for what you’ve done,” Kenny said to the students, faculty, Irish dignitaries and members of the international media who filled our Mount Carmel Auditorium. During his visit, he was also awarded an honorary doctorate of humane letters for his leadership and service to the people of Ireland and the world. “I commend you for your interest in Ireland’s history and your sponsorship of the County Cork program. I accept this degree on behalf of the millions who lost their lives in the Great Hunger, for those who made their home in your country and also for those who lost their lives on their journey across the Atlantic.” During his visit, he toured Ireland’s Great Hunger Museum at Quinnipiac University and met with several dozen students, alumni, faculty and staff.
Our Mount Carmel and York Hill campuses were filled with campers this summer as students in our occupational and physical therapy programs gave youth with limb-loss the opportunity to look past their disabilities and just have fun with other children and teens. “This camp is a place where the kids see people just like them. They don’t have to be afraid of anything. They can go out and have fun,” said doctor of physical therapy student Avani Patel, one of the camp organizers who spent more than two years organizing the July event. Each of the 28 campers was paired with one or two Quinnipiac student volunteers to assist in developing life skills and building their motor skills and balance, often through games. The campers participated in discussions about the types of prostheses that are available for different activities. They also tried new sports in the bike, running and sled hockey clinics. On a field with a backdrop of puffy clouds and Connecticut’s rolling hills, children ran, sidestepped, jumped and sometimes tumbled in the grass. Each child got back up with renewed determination. “The younger kids seeing the older kids do something, they realize, ‘Oh, I can do that.’ And the older kids might see the younger kids doing something they didn’t think possible,” Courtney Miller said. “Everyone is learning something new from each other.” The stage is set for a wider interprofessional event in the years to come, said Donald Kowalsky, associate professor of physical therapy, who provided faculty assistance to the organizers. “We have so many students from other disciplines who can get involved next year.” Four current volunteers are in line to be the organizing team for the camp in 2016. “Raising awareness in the community about limb loss is also critical,” he said.
Music echoed throughout our Mount Carmel and York Hill campuses this year as Jason Derulo, Jamie Lynn Spears, Josh Thompson and Tyler Hilton rocked the university at a pair of Student Programming Board concerts. And, as thousands of our students sang along, four-dozen students savored their unique opportunities. Jessica Loeser ‘15, who earned her bachelor’s degree in public relations, realized a life-long goal as Derulo performed in our TD Bank Sports Center. “This position was an absolute dream come true,” said Loeser, who hopes to pursue a career in the music industry after completing a master’s degree from our School of Communications. “There are so many pieces that come together to create something like this.” Previous performers include Billy Joel, Chicago, the Ramones, Dave Matthews, Dane Cook, Third Eye Blind and Ke$ha.
It was a milestone year for our Athletics teams. Among the highlights: our women’s rugby team won the National Collegiate Varsity Women’s Rugby Association National Championship; our women’s basketball team earned its second NCAA Tournament appearance; our field hockey team won its second Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Regular-Season Championship in three years and accepted an invitation to join the BIG EAST Conference; our women’s cross country team won the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference Cross Country Championship; our men’s ice hockey team enjoyed a 17-game unbeaten streak in the fall, posting a 15-0-2 record for the sixth longest streak in NCAA Division I men’s ice hockey since 1970, and advanced to the NCAA Tournament for the third consecutive year, and fourth time in program history; our women’s ice hockey team won its third consecutive Nutmeg Classic and its fifth in the last six years and qualified for its first NCAA Tournament after setting a program record with 26 wins, 15 ECAC Hockey wins, and its highest ranking in program history when it ascended to No. 3 in January; our men’s tennis team had six student-athletes selected for the ITA Regionals, a program record; our baseball team tied its program record with 29 wins while also qualifying for postseason play for the first time since 2008; and our women’s tennis team won its eighth conference championship in program history and made its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance. What a year! What incredible athletes and coaches!
Success starts by setting a goal, Daymond John, a fashion entrepreneur, author and co-star of ABC’s hit reality show, “Shark Tank” told our students in October. “You can’t hit a target you can’t visualize,” he advised. With an entertaining slideshow and a DJ adding music throughout the presentation, he recounted his path to success. He described how, with no formal business training, he created a global fashion empire with retail sales exceeding $6 billion dollars and landed a starring role as an investor on “Shark Tank.” Before the public lecture, the titan of industry answered questions from School of Business students. He encouraged junior Brittany Hayles, who aspires to open a clothing store, to use social media to build a following of potential customers and to share her expertise in fashion. Brittany was impressed with his advice and in particular his emphasis on setting goals. “If you don’t set a goal, you’re basically telling yourself you can’t do it,” Brittany said. “You set a positive goal and you’re telling the universe you can.”
We met more than 2,000 incredible individuals among our incoming classes of undergraduate, graduate, law and medicine students, which was in line with our growth plan approved by the Board of Trustees during the 2007-08 academic year. Currently, the university enrolls nearly 10,000 students across our College of Arts and Sciences and Schools of Business and Engineering; Communications; Education; Health Sciences; Law; Medicine; and Nursing. “We are pleased that the demand for our brand and the prestige of attending Quinnipiac University is resonating with our students and their parents,” President John L. Lahey said. “Our success in developing academic programs that are attracting more students has not gone unnoticed by respected organizations like the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, Moody’s Investor Services and Standard & Poor’s. The university community should be very proud of these accomplishments.” As we look to the future, growth will likely take place on our North Haven Campus. In the past six years, we have moved four of our academic schools – Schools of Health Sciences; Nursing; Education; and Law – to the North Haven Campus and built the Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine there.
Several hundred students came out to give a child with cerebral palsy a real life Cinderella story. Haley Swartz, who wanted to earn more than an A in her entrepreneurship class, dreamed of making a difference in someone’s life — and did she ever! With the help of her class partners, Philip Cenatiemp and Kevin Smolar, Haley transformed a 5-year-old’s wheelchair into a carriage using insulation, cardboard, felts and a few dozen lights. Students and faculty from every corner of the university came out to see that Kendall would be that princess that they all knew she was. Maneuvering her crown-topped chair through the cheering Bobcats, Kendall received all the pomp of any princess! “She had the biggest smile on her face when she first saw it,” Haley said, still glowing from her accomplishment. The girl’s dad said he couldn’t adequately express his appreciation. “For her to have the opportunity to be a normal kid and do what every other 5-year-old can do is phenomenal,” he said. “It’s a great feeling. They took a simple classroom assignment and went the extra mile creating a moment we soon won’t forget. It says a lot about each of them.”
We made major strides forward in our mission to advance the study and practice of rehabilitation medicine – with a particular focus on veterans. We welcomed Dr. Robert Krug, president and CEO/medical director of Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital in Hartford, as the William and Barbara Weldon chair and director of our new Frank H. Netter MD School of Medicine Institute for Rehabilition Medicine and Center for U.S. Veterans Rehabilitation. “Dr. Krug is a national leader in rehabilitation medicine and his contributions as a practitioner and researcher will help make the institute a center for innovation,” said Dr. Bruce Koeppen, founding dean of our School of Medicine. “In a collaborative and interdisciplinary fashion, we will build upon the strong academic and professional programs already established at Quinnipiac in developing novel and innovative approaches to delivering vital rehabilitation services to our Veterans and others in the community,” said Krug, who is board certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation. “Through education, clinical training and research, we will look to be a national leader in medical rehabilitation ensuring that during this unprecedented time of health care transformation our students are equipped with the skills necessary to thrive in the new value based health-care environment.” Under his leadership, the institute will launch the Center for U.S. Veterans’ Rehabilitation, providing long-term, sustainable approaches to address the health care needs of veterans. By drawing upon the rich resources of Quinnipiac, Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital, Connecticut’s only free-standing acute rehabilitation hospital, and other clinical partners, the institute stands to become a nationally recognized center addressing the needs of veterans. Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital will be a principal affiliate for the new institute at Quinnipiac. The university has also been named among the best four-year schools in America – and best in Connecticut – for veterans to attend. We have also recently completed a special veterans lounge within our Center for Communications and Engineering.
We are proud to have reached a five-year agreement that will allow for an exchange of students, faculty and staff with Maynooth University, beginning in January. “The partnership with Maynooth University will build on existing academic and cultural exchanges between Quinnipiac University and various institutions in Ireland,” said Mark Thompson, executive vice president and provost at Quinnipiac. “This new relationship will be unique in that it will provide an opportunity not simply for students, but also for faculty, librarians and other members of the Quinnipiac community, to spend time at an Irish university. This exchange program will be mutually enriching for both universities’ communities.” Philip Nolan, president of Maynooth University, said, “We are delighted to be partnering with a university that shares both our commitment to the exchange of ideas and conversation that can result from meaningful international partnerships, and one that has a clear appreciation for the unique bond between Irish and American institutions of higher education. The partnership between Maynooth University and Quinnipiac has the potential to be multifaceted and really quite distinctive, and I’m pleased we can offer the chance for both students and staff to reap the benefits of this relationship.” Each university will use its study abroad criteria to select students to participate in the exchange program.
We are proud of our alumni who continue to use the skills they developed at Quinnipiac to make the world a better place. Take Andrew Larkins ’14. Andrew was eager to inspire a love of learning in the schoolchildren he met during an alternative break trip to South Africa in January 2014. After seeing how much the children lacked in school supplies, resources and opportunities – with more than 50 students from two grades squeezed into a single room – he knew inspiration was not enough. A year later he returned with a gift both powerful and practical: a space to learn. As a course project during his final semester at Quinnipiac, Andrew, assisted by three other students, organized a three-week crowdfunding campaign that raised $15,000 to pay for a desperately needed classroom for the Vaatjie primary school, 30 minutes outside of Cape Town. In December, Andrew and one of his teammates, 2014 graduate Cory Hibbeler, paid their way back to South Africa to ensure the classroom arrived. “We developed these incredible relationships with the children,” said Andrew. “I didn’t think the students would believe what I had to say unless I showed that I genuinely cared about their education and their success in life. The only means of eradicating the cycle of poverty is for the children to get an education. We hope this classroom will give them the space to excel.” The best part about the class was that the students created something tangible and that will benefit a community, Andrew said. “We learned in the classroom but we made a difference outside the classroom.”
The Quinnipiac University Poll is proud to have further bolstered its reputation as an unbiased, leading gauge of voter sentiment throughout the country by being selected for inclusion in the United States Library of Congress. The poll will be archived under the Public Policy Topics collection. Selected for its social significance, the Quinnipiac Poll is considered by the library an important part of this collection and the historical record. It is one of very few polls being archived. “It’s a momentous honor for the poll,” said Doug Schwartz, executive director of the poll. “Our inclusion demonstrates our ability to accurately measure American’s views on elections, public officials and public policy on issues such as taxes, the economy, legalization of marijuana and same-sex marriage.” The Library of Congress is the United States’ first established cultural institution and the largest library in the world. It provides the federal government and American people with a diverse and enduring source of knowledge to inform, inspire and engage for generations to come.
Our School of Law continues to make strides forward, most recently winning the American Bar Association’s annual Criminal Justice Advocacy Competition. Our winning-student team consisted of Catherine Blair, Kara Moreau, Sheldon Poole and Caroline Watson, all third-year law students. “Their dedication has been consistently exceptional and has stayed at that level for years now,” said Ryan O’Neill, adjunct professor of law and one of the coaches for the Mock Trial Society. “We have seen a substantial improvement in the school’s reputation and competition teams. It keeps us moving in the right direction.” Quinnipiac went undefeated in the entire competition and won all four of its trials – the first time that has happened since 2013. The team has taken the top prize at the competition three of the last four years. “The fact that the Quinnipiac Law team prevailed is a testament to the students’ hard work and to the excellence of experiential learning opportunities at the law school more generally,” said Jennifer Gerarda Brown, dean of the School of Law.
Categories: Albert Schweitzer Institute, Alumni, Athletics, Central European Institute, College of Arts and Sciences, Frank H Netter MD School of Medicine, Ireland's Great Hunger Museum, Office of Multicultural and Global Education, School of Business and Engineering, School of Education, School of Health Sciences, School of Law, School of Nursing