by Kevin Dicciani
Philadelphia City Council recently passed a resolution in recognition of Chestnut Hill College’s 95th anniversary and its continued commitment to providing students with a holistic education in an inclusive and diverse community.
Additionally, the resolution honors College President Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D., for her 30 years of consistent service, including her 27 years as leader of the institution.
City Council presented the resolution, introduced by Councilwoman Cindy Bass, who represents the 8th District, to Sister Carol and members of the College on June 6 in the Council Chambers at City Hall.
At the ceremony, Bass said that she was proud and pleased to celebrate the College and its 95th anniversary. She joked that, while she didn’t want to pick favorites, it was her favorite college in Chestnut Hill.
“We want to recognize all the outstanding work that they do — not just in Chestnut Hill, but throughout the entire 8th District and, really, in the entire city of Philadelphia and throughout our region,” Bass said.
The resolution states that City Council recognizes the College for its long-established adherence to offering students a quality education and for fostering an inclusive environment in which they can grow personally, professionally, and spiritually.
“Since its founding the College has produced more than 15,000 alumni and continues to grow this network with individuals that are daring, bold, innovative, and informed thinkers who embody the spirit of the College: professional and personal excellence, inclusivity, global awareness, faith, charity, integrity, justice, and knowledge,” the resolution reads.
In her remarks, Sister Carol said it was an honor to have City Council recognize the College on the occasion of its 95th anniversary.
“We have always treasured our connection to Philadelphia,” Sister Carol said. “It is our home as a college. It is the home of our founders, the Sisters of Saint Joseph. And it is the home of numerous alumni.”
In the resolution, City Council acknowledged the efforts the College has made to ensure its academic programming corresponds to societal needs in both the present and the future.
“The College provides a rigorous liberal arts program that continues to be updated and modified to meet the ever-changing needs and demands of society and higher education, even as recently as this year where the College added three new undergraduate majors: Law and Legal Studies, Health Sciences, and Cybersecurity, which is one of the first programs of its kind in Philadelphia,” the resolution reads.
A part of the resolution commends the College for its diverse student population. It states that since it became a co-educational institution in 2003, the College has been dedicated to expanding its mission of academic excellence to a broader audience. Specifically, the resolution mentions that nearly 41 percent of all degree-seeking, first-time, first-year students at the College are first-generation college students and that students of color comprise roughly 30 percent of all full-time undergraduates.
Further, the resolution outlines the accolades the College has accrued over the past year, such as being one of seven higher educational institutions in the Philadelphia area named as a “College of Distinction.” It also cites the College’s inclusion on College Magazine’s list of the “Top 10 Colleges in Philadelphia” and its induction into the Chestnut Hill Conservancy’s Architectural Hall of Fame.
In her closing comments, Sister Carol extended her gratitude to City Council members.
“Thank you for this immense honor and recognition today,” Sister Carol said. “Thank you also for the service that you give to the people of our city of Philadelphia. May God bless each of you with whatever you most need at this time in your lives."
The resolution can be read in full here.