When President Rhona Free, Ph.D., became the University’s ninth president on July 1, 2015, she joined a group of visionary leaders — women who formed and served the University’s mission since its founding in 1932. Like the University itself, the presidency has evolved over the years to meet the needs of our ever-changing society.
In the University’s early days, the president was the Major Superior of the Sisters of Mercy of Connecticut, a position that oversaw 800 Mercy members. Consequently, the president delegated many executive functions to the dean, who oversaw the University's day-to-day operations and functioned much like the president does today.
Each fall, Convocation welcomes new and returning students in a traditional academic ceremony. Originally, the opening of the academic year was marked by a welcoming Mass. The modern-day Convocation, which began in 1987, blends the spiritual with the academic. Each year, the community gathers in The Connor Chapel of Our Lady and asks for God's blessing and guidance in the coming academic year. Following welcoming remarks by the president, the faculty winner of the Father John J. Stack Teaching Excellence Award addresses the congregation.
Investiture marks a significant event in the life of a scholar. It commemorates the advanced academic standing of members of the junior class by dressing the students in the scholar's garb for the first time. Juniors process to the Chapel in academic gowns and receive their caps from faculty members. The University first celebrated Investiture in 1934 in a ceremony that coincided with the Feast of the Presentation. Following Mass, juniors recited the "Catholic Students Prayer" and received communion. Faculty members and mothers of the junior class were then invited to join the students at a communion breakfast. Although the ceremony has changed over the years, the intent remains the same: Investiture provides an opportunity for the College community to recognize the students' academic advancement and to ask for God's continued blessing.
Since 1978, the University community has celebrated the Advent season with The Festival of Lights. A joyful celebration of music, dance, and liturgy, the festival involves many members of the community as active participants. Students, faculty, and staff read from the scriptures and the University's choir and liturgical dancers perform throughout the ceremony. Sponsored by the Office of Campus Ministry, the Festival ends with a traditional lighting ceremony in which a light is passed throughout the congregation until all hold a lighted candle.
As a tradition, Baccalaureate Mass dates back to the first graduating class of Saint Joseph College. Essentially, it is a Mass held prior to Commencement to celebratethe accomplishments of the seniors. Baccalaureate Mass unites the community in worship one final time to bless the graduating students as they move into the next phase of their lives.
Commencement, of course, is the final ceremony of the college experience. Each May, graduating students receive their diplomas and move into the role of University of Saint Joseph alumni.
Reading Time: 2 minutes The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) has announced the hiring of Karen Nell as its next head coach of the women’s lacrosse program and first-ever head coach of the inaugural field hockey program, which is set to begin competing in the fall of 2020. The announcement was made this afternoon by Amanda Devitt, USJ’s Director
Reading Time: 1 minute On May 7, 2019, Yvonne Joy, DNP, APRN, director of the DNP Program and assistant professor of Nursing, joined Mornings with Ray Dunaway for National Nurses Week. During this radio interview, Joy discussed the University of Saint Joseph’s (USJ) online Doctorate of Nursing (DNP) program, career opportunities in Connecticut, and latest trends in nursing. In
Reading Time: 1 minute In the 87 years since USJ was founded, many things have changed. The college is now a full-fledged university, it has a downtown Hartford Pharmacy program in addition to its bucolic West Hartford campus, and its curriculum has continued to evolve. In the fall of 2017, the women’s institution of higher learning became coeducational. But
Reading Time: 2 minutes Kemche Michalic ’20 is an Accounting major at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ). Since moving to America from the Philippines in 2011, Michalic has accomplished a lot in her personal and professional life. Not only is Michalic happily married, but she’s enjoying life as a mom. Her latest accomplishment was landing an internship as
Reading Time: 2 minutes Kelly Deegan ’19 is a Child Study major at the University of Saint Joseph (USJ). As part of her Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) Internship course, Deegan was given the task of finding an internship to prepare her for a career after college. After searching, she landed one at the Village for Families and
Reading Time: 1 minute Photo from L-R: Nana Kyem, Megan Ricci, Jessica Karwowski, and Tara Moseni Four students from the University of Saint Joseph’s (USJ) Honors Program presented at the 2019 Northeast Regional Honors Council (NRHC) Conference from April 11-14, 2019 in Baltimore, Maryland. The theme of this year’s conference was “Generating Power: Impact. Influence. Endurance.” USJ students were selected to
Reading Time: 5 minutes The following students have been named to the University of Saint Joseph Dean’s List for the spring 2019 semester. Students who are awarded this academic achievement have earned a GPA of 3.50 or higher for the semester, with no grade lower than a “B.” “Time and again, our students prove their dedication to the University’s
Reading Time: 1 minute On April 17, 2019, the Connecticut Immigrant and Refugee Coalition (CIRC) held their 22ndAnnual Connecticut Immigrant Day at the state capitol. This ceremony recognized 19 immigrants living in the state of Connecticut who have made significant contributions to the state and nation, including the University of Saint Joseph’s (USJ) Campus Ministry Music Coordinator Ezequiel Menéndez.