You know the old saying, “Truth is stranger than fiction.” Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that someday I would be writing these words as the president of Siena College. But when Fr. Kevin Mullen was chosen to lead Siena’s founding institution, the Franciscan province of the Holy Name of Jesus, I was more than willing to forego a planned sabbatical to accept the position of his replacement. I did so because, as a graduate of a Franciscan high school and an alumnus of St. Bonaventure University, I believe in Franciscan education. I believe in the enduring relevance of the centuries-old Franciscan intellectual tradition. I believe in Siena College on whose board of trustees I have had the privilege to serve for the past four years.
I believe in Siena College on whose board of trustees I have had the privilege to serve for the past four years.
I suspect that never in their wildest dreams did the seven friars who first came to Loudonville in 1937 imagine what Siena would become in its brief, 77-year history. The campus has quadrupled in size, the student body grown more than 30-fold. The Capital Region’s commuter school has become a largely residential college attracting students from 22 states and 20 nations. And the 74 graduates who crossed the stage at Siena’s first commencement have mushroomed into 33,000 alumni who proudly apply their Siena education to the challenges they face each day. In my regular visits to campus over the years, I have found Siena’s growth nothing short of astonishing. None of this would have been possible without people like you.
Truth is stranger than fiction, and the reality of Siena has far outstripped the dreams of its founders. But what about its future? Education costs are rising, the pool of high school graduates is shrinking, the need for new programs to prepare our students for a rapidly changing economy is growing ever more acute, and the resulting demands on the resources of a small, Catholic, liberal arts college like Siena are multiplying.
Will the “impossible dream” of Siena continue to be fulfilled beyond all reasonable expectations? Through your generous support of Living Our Tradition: The Campaign for Siena College, you can make the answer to that question a resounding “yes.”
Br. F. Edward Coughlin, O.F.M., Ph.D.