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99 Years and Counting: Chestnut Hill College's 2023 Year-in-Review

99 Years and Counting: Chestnut Hill College's 2023 Year-in-Review

2023 was a year of new partnerships, new programs, and so much more.

Chestnut Hill College’s 99th year was truly one for the history books. As beloved traditions continued, new beginnings and exciting milestones helped tell the College’s story. Now, as Chestnut Hill College looks ahead to 2024 and its 100th Anniversary, we look back on a memorable year filled with just relationships, athletic successes, academic achievements, and brand-new partnerships with eyes toward the future and the next 100 years. Here are some of the highlights from 2023. 


Focused on the Future: Inauguration of 7th President brings New Energy and Vision to Campus 

Big Griff and Dr. Latimer joined Chestnut Hill Brewing's Nick Gunderson and Lindsay Pete at the official release of the Inauguration IPA.

In the Fall of 2023, Chestnut Hill College formally inaugurated William W. Latimer, Ph.D., MPH, as the seventh president – and first male and lay president – in the College’s 99-year history. Latimer’s Inauguration was a celebration of CHC’s storied past while also focusing on the strong future of the College. The Inauguration included the Annual CHC at the Phillies game where Latimer threw out the first pitch in front of a great crowd of students, faculty, staff, and CHC alumni.  

From the baseball diamond to a transformed concert hall, the Inauguration festivities also saw the return of the Schubert Lecture, where a focus on the convergence of music and science provided the backdrop for a wonderful night. Following the lecture by Dr. Thomas Schubert, a choir serenaded the crowd to the sounds of 'Caledonia.' The song preceded the awarding of an honorary degree to Dougie MacLean, OBE, an iconic Scottish singer-songwriter. 

The Inauguration Week also featured the student-led Griffin Soiree and Collegewide Griffin Fest that showcased the immeasurable pride of Griffin Nation. There was dancing aplenty at the soiree as students had the chance to mingle with fellow Griffins including the new president himself. At the 1st Annual Griffin Fest, three of the four athletic teams in action won their games thanks to the support of the home crowd. The fest, held after Open House, invited prospective students and families, along with current students, faculty, staff, and alumni to see what makes Griffin Nation such a special place. 

A new campus Starbucks has been a hit among students, faculty, and staff alike.

Showcasing a continued collaboration of community and college, the College once again partnered with Chestnut Hill Brewing, creators of the Vale Pale Ale in 2022, to create the Inauguration IPA in 2023. The special beer was served during the Inauguration Week events. 

In addition to the celebration, Inauguration Week was a chance to recognize achievements past, present, and future. As undergraduate enrollment continues to see strong growth trends, renovations to the exercise science lab, added Amazon Hub lockers, a brand new campus Starbucks, continued commitment to a burgeoning neurodiversity program, and additions of the president’s ambassadors and student success advisors, all mark the evolving nature of CHC’s educational and co-curricular experience. An experience that will soon include a nursing program, which is on the horizon and set to launch in a few short years. 

“I think it is nearly impossible to convey in words alone the truly sacred work that is enacted at Chestnut Hill College on a daily basis with a trajectory that spans nearly 100 years and has radically transformed the lives of so many who have gone on to embody the charisms of the Sisters of Saint Joseph who founded the College in 1924 and in so doing also embody the nature of freedom characterized by the articulation of self through responsible action,” noted Latimer in his Inaugural Address. “For me, the unparalleled bravery and selflessness...that I now witness each day at Chestnut Hill College give me hope for the future.” 


Creating Connections: CHC Increases Partnerships with CHBA, Begins New Partnership with OMC 

OMC Principal Patricia Sheetz, Ed.D., and CHC President William W. Latimer, Ph.D., M.P.H., were all smiles as they met with OMC students in support of the new grant collaborations.A devastating fire in the spring of 2023 left Our Mother of Consolation (OMC)’s faculty, staff, and most importantly students, without their school. It did not take long for the College to spring into action, working with OMC to ensure that all their students could stay together in one building for the remainder of the school year and beyond. The partnership with OMC not only allowed the College to provide for the Dear Neighbor but it also created enriching relationships as evidenced by OMC students taking part in the special Inaugural choir, the OMC glee club participating in the College’s Annual Carol Night in December, along with new mentorship programs for CHC and OMC students, faculty, and staff funded by a $100,000 grant from the Connelly Foundation. 

The grant consists of four programs created by Chestnut Hill College faculty in collaboration with OMC staff that are designed to enhance OMC students’ reading, writing, STEM, and critical thinking skills, and provide OMC teachers with training from CHC faculty. 

Expanding on a previous partnership, students in the Center for Business worked together with owners of local businesses in Chestnut Hill as part of their Griffin Tank senior project. This revived relationship with Chestnut Hill has provided visibility and presence with students exploring town and members of the local community coming to campus to enjoy lectures and other events. Chestnut Hill College also took part in CH on Ice in February and joined colleagues in the CHBA during this summer’s Good Morning America smalltown America visit where CHC mascot Big Griff helped kick off the festivities. 


Mission Takes Center Stage with Student Trips and Hiring of New Muslim Chaplain 

L to R: Matt Velez, Ryan Murphy, and Skye Bennett enjoyed an immersion experience in Le Puy and Leon, France this past summer.

Chestnut Hill College’s mission has always placed an emphasis on academic success and living and emboldening the charisms of the Sisters of Saint Joseph (SSJ). This summer saw students have global experiences in the name of both goals. Students traveled to Belgium for an academic and cultural adventure as part of a study abroad trip. A second immersive trip is planned for this spring. 
Several students also had the chance to go on service-learning excursions to Ghana as part of the College’s continued commitment to the African Sisters Education Collaborative, and Le Puy and Leon, France, to walk the paths of the College’s founders, the SSJs. Already, students are fundraising for this year’s trip to Africa, set to take place in the summer. 
With a continued commitment to inclusivity, Chestnut Hill College hired its first-ever Muslim chaplain, Aziz Nathoo, whose work in interfaith coalitions has provided a background for much of the College’s DEI efforts this past year. 

“Relationships are at the heart of the mission and students being seen and known well is important," says Anna Ryan-Bender, director of campus ministry. "Aziz is a great addition to our team and doing that authentically and genuinely.” 

- Marilee Gallagher '14 

Posted In: Around Campus