The support of donors, along with fiscally-sound budget management and an unwavering commitment to academic excellence, made 2019 a successful year both financially and academically for the University of Saint Joseph. Delivering on our promise to provide values and value to students, the University continued to invest in modernizing campus facilities and updating academic offerings while strategically managing expenses.
Academic improvements included new undergraduate completion programs for a growing population of adult students, and a new undergraduate program in Digital Media and Communication with concentrations available in Sport Media or Spanish Media. We were able to strengthen academic offerings through a Connecticut Health & Educational Facilities Authority Grant that provided funds for the purchase of new laboratory equipment for biomedical teaching and student-faculty research and updated computer science labs.
Highlights from Institutional Advancement include a prestigious $649,000 National Science Foundation award for a STEM Scholars program, significant bequests, dedicated pledges for the reconstruction of our tennis courts, and donor contributions for a range of needs from endowed scholarships to resources for performing arts, athletics, and the School for Young Children. The Blue and Gold Club brought new friends to campus in support of our men’s and women’s basketball teams.
This past year the University received two notable designations: In June, the Conference for Mercy Higher Education granted USJ a certificate of continuing sponsorship after a Mission Integration self-study/site visit process. In March, the Art Museum received the prestigious American Alliance of Museums designation, the highest recognition in the U.S. afforded the nation’s museums, meaning that the Museum meets the National Standards and Best Practice for U.S. Museums.
On campus, 2019 will be known as the year of construction, with new ramps and doors for buildings across campus to improve accessibility, an artificial turf field for the increasing numbers of student-athletes, behind-the-scenes infrastructure improvements to enhance technology capabilities, and renovations to McGovern Hall that will provide students with reconfigured dining service options, more flexible meeting space, and a new bookstore.
Plans to sustain USJ’s growth were realized in 2019 with the generosity and dedication of the entire USJ community, for which we are very grateful. Thank you for your commitment to the University’s future; please stay up-to-date with USJ news by visiting us online or in-person.
Rhona C. Free, Ph.D.
The University of Saint Joseph, founded by the Sisters of Mercy in the Catholic tradition, provides a rigorous liberal arts and professional education for a diverse student population in an inclusive environment that encourages strong ethical values, personal integrity, and a sense of responsibility to the needs of society.
USJ’s Strategic Plan 2020 challenges us to create a vibrant and engaging campus life and provide programs, services, and facilities that meet the diverse needs of the University’s students.
In 2019, the generosity of USJ’s alumni and friends advanced this goal.
An alumna’s pledge of $1 million to support the strategic plan set the tone for a very successful 2019. This individual’s commitment to advancing USJ gave the school the financial flexibility to pursue significant improvements across campus. With the renovation of McGovern Hall and the expansion to the O’Connell Athletic Center, student-focused facilities are undergoing the most significant improvements that we have seen in decades.
A $200,000 grant from the Elizabeth Ferry Spears Foundation allowed USJ to begin the process of redesigning and renovating our tennis courts, which were in disrepair. An additional $50,000 gift from The Richard Garmany Fund, and contributions from several individuals, allowed us to complete the project this fall. Our six new state-of-the-art, post-tension concrete courts are now ready for play. The improvement to this facility allows USJ to add men’s tennis to our already popular women’s program, strengthening student recruitment, and adding vitality to our campus community. Not only will varsity athletes enjoy these courts, but all students will have recreational access, and these courts will allow us to offer adaptive tennis programs during the summer months.
A sizable grant from CHEFA launched campus-wide improvements to accessibility by upgrading ramps, doors, curb cuts, and signage. By improving access, our campus becomes a more welcoming place for all who wish to participate in our educational and cultural programs. Increased access, increased participation, increased campus life.
In addition, generous donors contributed $1.2 million to endowed scholarships this year. These scholarships allow us to offer competitive financial aid packages to students who might not otherwise be able to afford a USJ education. So, many more students whose first choice is USJ can enroll. These are highly motivated students whose dreams are to study at USJ and live the vision and values.
Overall, 1,700 people contributed more than $4 million during FY19, investing in the educational, cultural, and recreational vitality of the University of Saint Joseph.