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Father Greenfield Delivers First State of the University Address

by Janelle Hill Jan 25, 2019
Father James Greenfield, OSFS, outlined his plans for DeSales’ future during his first State of the University address.

“My experience of the University has been inspiring this past year,” he told a packed crowd of students, faculty, and staff. 

Fr. Greenfield highlighted the University’s recent accomplishments, including the largest freshman class in DeSales’ history, the new website, the MFA program, and the newest varsity sport—Esports. 

But he cautioned that higher education is evolving and facing increased risk. Due to changing demographics, there will be 10 to 15 percent fewer high school graduates by 2026.  

“Higher education is facing headwinds. We need to be aware of the tsunami coming; 2026 is coming.” 

For the immediate future, he announced the creation of a President’s Society, in which he will actively participate in the recruitment of talented freshmen. The University is also introducing a Catholic Liturgical Scholars Program to enhance Catholic liturgical life by providing scholarships to musically talented students. 

On the issue of employee morale, Fr. Greenfield announced that the University will continue to give employees off on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and half-day Fridays will be back once again this summer. A Benefits and Compensation Task Force will also review and make recommendations on faculty and staff compensation.

Fr. Greenfield also highlighted the Salesian theme of unidiverse and looks to move the University’s mission forward with more sensitivity and openness to diversity. He’s called for the reinstatement of an Office of Diversity and Inclusion, along with the creation of a Muslim prayer room.  

Other future additions to campus will likely include an expansion to The Villages, a pedestrian bridge by the newly renovated baseball and softball stadiums, and—one day—another building similar to the Gambet Center.  

“The Gambet Center got us to where our competitors are. Now we need to think what’s beyond that.” 

Fr. Greenfield also focused on the five goals of the next strategic plan: deliver the best student experience; inspire outstanding employee commitment; improve educational products and services; achieve financial, operational, and quality commitments; and expand community outreach and strategic partnerships.  

The State of the University address was just one of the events held in honor of the Feast of St. Francis de Sales. Other activities included an MLK service workshop, Salesian bingo, University Mass, and a lecture and exhibit with Salesian artist Anne Goetze.