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Messages from the President

Messages from the President

Chestnut Hill College Stands with Our International Students, 7/9/2020

Dear Members of the Chestnut Hill College Community,

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones healthy and well.

Yesterday, the Department of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement altered the guidelines of its Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) for the 2020 fall semester. The most significant and troubling modification is the automatic loss of visas for international students who are enrolled only in online courses. The new rule, which overrides a temporary exemption put into place at the beginning of the pandemic, states that international students must take in-person or hybrid-model classes to retain their visas. If they do not comply, international students currently studying in the U.S. on F-1 visas will be required to depart the U.S., and international students presently living abroad will be prohibited from reentering the country.

As an institution whose mission is to serve our Dear Neighbors with love and without distinction, Chestnut Hill College stands against ICE’s decision and stands with our international student community. Amidst this global pandemic, it is reprehensible that our government leaders would choose to play politics and knowingly deprive international students of their education. Moreover, this decision is antithetical to the principles upon which this country was built; a country whose foundation was laid by immigrants who sought an opportunity to better themselves here in America.

Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have filed lawsuits hoping to reverse the guidelines. Other institutions of higher education will be joining with them to support their endeavor.

To all our international students: Chestnut Hill College supports you and stands with you. We take pride in your membership in our campus community and we are grateful for your many contributions. The richness you add to the student life experience at Chestnut Hill is invaluable. We pledge to be in touch with our SEVP representatives and with our Senators and Congressional Representatives with the goal of offering a compelling narrative that will encourage the administration to reverse this irresponsible decision. Please know that our campus is and will always be your second home, and our community will always welcome you as family.

God’s peace and blessings,

Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

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CHC Mourns the Loss of Dr. Rocky Martino, A Close Friend and Longtime Benefactor of the College, 7/1/2020

Dear Members of the Chestnut Hill College Community,

Rocco Leonard “Rocky” Martino, Ph.D., a close friend and longtime benefactor of Chestnut Hill College (CHC), passed away June 29, 2020, after a long illness. At his side was his devoted wife of 59 years, Barbara D’Iorio Martino ’60, and his sons. He was 91.

Rocky, in so many ways, was larger than life, to include his heart. He led his life at the forefront of technology and of Catholic benevolence. With a Ph.D. in astrophysics, he was also an international authority on computers, finance and planning. He worked on the world’s first computers and was instrumental in creating the technology behind the world’s first smart phone. Holder of more than 60 patents, he served as founder and CEO of several technology companies and authored over 30 books and novels.

Getting Started

A Canadian by birth, and the son of a noted chef, Rocky studied at the University of Toronto, where he earned a BSC in Mathematics and Physics, and Ph.D. in Astrophysics. His first job involved setting the specifications for what would become heat shields for space vehicles. Eventually, he worked with John Mauchly — inventor of the first electronic computer —in developing the Critical Path Method for scheduling complex projects, a technique used in the creation of the Polaris intercontinental ballistic missile.

It was through Dr. Mauchly that Rocky met his wife, Barbara D’Iorio Martino ’60, who was a CHC student at the time, and a friend and classmate of Mauchly’s daughter, Sidney Mauchly ’60. Rocky and Barbara were married in 1961, and the two of them have been some of the College’s most ardent supporters ever since.

Career

In 1965, Rocky launched his own company, RL Martino Company, (later XRT), which created systems to handle secure financial treasury management. He sold the company after 30 years, at which time it had 11,000 clients in 51 countries, processing more than $3 trillion per day through systems he and his staff designed. In the 1990s, he built and patented the CyberFone, the world’s first look at a smart phone, and very much ahead of its time.

Rocky’s accomplishments during some 65 years in technology earned him a global reputation. He lectured extensively throughout his professional life and served as a professor and department head for several universities, including the University of Waterloo, the University of Toronto, and New York University. His lectures included such topics as Artificial Intelligence, Truth in Religion and Science, Information Systems, Economics, and Financial Modeling Systems. In addition to multiple books, he authored scores of papers, and numerous corporate monographs. Rocky served on numerous corporate boards throughout his storied career.

Philanthropy

Despite his impressive achievements in business and technology, Rocky often said that his greatest accomplishments were to be found in his faith-based work. He led the efforts to restore the country’s first Catholic cathedral — Baltimore’s Basilica of the National Shrine of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary — a 32-month, $34 million restoration project completed in 2006. He founded and served on the board of the Magnificat Foundation, which creates days of spiritual enlightenment held in major cities across the country.

A man of deep faith, Rocky once said, “What you do to earn a living is not necessarily the most important thing you do. I feel I’ve accomplished something if I awaken in people an interest in faith.” It is not surprising that he had a deep interest in the works of a fellow scientist and a Jesuit priest, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, S.J., from whom he drew lasting inspiration. Like Teilhard, Rocky was a man of vision, who saw beyond the present to help create the future.

Joining the College community after his marriage to Barbara in 1961, Rocky became a familiar face on the College campus, connecting with and championing his wife in her steadfast support of her alma mater. Their allegiance to CHC was expressed in their many works of charity: through their exceptional generosity of heart, spirit of giving and passionate commitment to others.

As the new century began, the College embarked on its second capital campaign. The committee identified the need for the first new building on the College campus in more than 40 years, bringing technologically advanced classrooms to campus.

The opportunity to elevate technology in the educational experience appealed to Rocky as a pioneer and authority in the fields of computer science and space travel. But providing one of the first seven-figure gifts for Martino Hall also reflected his deep commitment to Catholic education and an appreciation for the mothers in his life. “It all just crystallized in my mind,” Rocky said at the time. “It was almost as if this opportunity came along for me.”

At the building’s dedication in 2000, Rocky honored Barbara by acknowledging her decades of leadership at the College that also included her serving as the first lay chair of the board of directors. Specifically, though, he honored her as the mother of their four children. At the ceremony, Rocky said, “I love you, Barbara, I thank you, and I honor you. That is why I’m happy that this new building, this symbol of renewal and life for Chestnut Hill College, will be called Barbara D’Iorio Martino Hall.”

Rocky and Barbara Martino’s philanthropy, at a critical time in the history of Chestnut Hill College, helped to transform the institution from a women’s college to coeducation. Without Martino Hall, it would not have been possible to welcome men to the undergraduate program. They also shared the important vision that led to the purchase of the SugarLoaf property, which added 32 much-needed acres to the campus and gave it closer proximity to the town of Chestnut Hill.

True to their unwavering dedication to the College, the couple made another generous gift, toward the purchase of the SugarLoaf property. Together, they have helped transform the CHC experience for future generations of Griffins through their philanthropic leadership and commitment to the College. Their unflagging interest in the College and its future are exemplary. The College is a far more important and successful institution because of their participation in its life.

Rocky and Barbara created the Rocco and Barbara Martino Foundation in 1990 to support Catholic education and with the objective of impacting leadership in Catholic youth.

Rocky has served on various Public Service, Charitable, and Church Organizations. He was Vice Chair of the Board of the Gregorian University Consortium Foundation, and a member of the Boards of St. Joseph’s University, the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre, the Order of Malta, and the Vatican Observatory.

Renaissance Man

Rocky was Founding Chairman of the MBF Foundation (serving 1985-1989), dedicated to applying computer technology for those with severe physical and/or mental handicaps. In 2007, he founded the Rocco Martino Lectures on Innovation, to promote studies of and education in innovation. He was a Senior Fellow of the Foreign Policy Research Institute.

He is the author of five novels and some 28 non-fiction books--ranging from religious topics to the history of the computer. His first-person perspective on the early days of computing provides a bird’s eye view of many of the developments from the computer’s inception.

Rocky has also served on various committees, commissions and boards associated with technical standards; on corporate and university boards; and public service boards such as the World Affairs Council, the Foreign Policy Research Institute, and the Committee for Public Policy.

Honors

Just recently, Rocky was awarded the Grand’ Ufficiale al Merito Melitense, the highest honor bestowed by the Knights of Malta, for his countless contributions to the betterment of society and to the Roman Catholic Church. The Knights of Malta encourage and recognize nobility of spirit and conduct, through humanitarian projects and social assistance.

In 2000, Chestnut Hill College awarded Rocky an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. He also received honorary degrees from Neumann University and Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington. The degrees were awarded for his humanitarian and philanthropic activities as well as for his scientific achievements.

In 1991, Pope John Paul II bestowed on him the Papal Knighthood in the Order of St. Gregory the Great. A member of the Federal Association-Order of Malta since 1988, Rocky was instrumental in establishing the organization’s Philadelphia Region. He was also initiated as a Knight in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George, and the Order of St. Maurice and Lazarus.

He has been awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Italian American Foundation (1992), and from the Monte Jade Society, the Chinese honorific society (1999). The CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) selected him for their Hall of Fame in 2000. In this latter award, he was chosen as a symbol of excellence for youth.

Rocky was a lifetime member of the Union League of Philadelphia, a member of the Overbrook Golf Club in Bryn Mawr, and of the Yacht Club of Sea Isle City. He was an avid sailor, and a Past Commodore of the Yacht Club (1974) serving as a member of its Board from 1971-1990, and Chairman 1984-90. He served as Commodore of the Mid-Atlantic Yacht Racing Association from 1979-1981, and Secretary from 1981-1988.

In addition to his wife, Barbara, he is survived by four sons, Peter, Joseph, Paul and John, and thirteen grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. We pray for Barbara and the family as they grieve the loss of this giant of a man. He will be missed by many, to include the Chestnut Hill College community.

Funeral services will be held on Monday, July 6, 2020. The viewing starts at 9:30 a.m. with Mass to follow at 11:00 a.m. at St. Katherine of Siena Church (104 S. Aberdeen Ave, Wayne, PA). All are welcome.

With deepest sympathies,

Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President 

Read More About Dr. Martino's Extraordinary Life
Celebrating Juneteenth, 6/19/20

Dear Members of the College Community, Today is known as Juneteenth, which marked the end of slavery, and the beginning of a long and arduous struggle for freedom and equality for Black people in America that remains to be achieved 155 years later. The recent acts and tragedies of racism that have ravished our nation are indicators that the struggle continues today. The street-filled protests that have occurred in all 50 states over the past three weeks, intentional dialogues and calls to action are examples of our society’s attempts to confront racism and discrimination that have plagued our nation and its institutions for 400+ years.

Juneteenth is an opportunity for us to educate ourselves about our history (beyond the traditional history books), listen to and learn from others, and most importantly, determine what intentional action steps Chestnut Hill College can take to continue in its quest to live our values of diversity, inclusion and justice that is free of hate, violence and racism. We urge each member of our community to take time over the next couple of weeks to recognize Juneteenth by reflecting on what we can do individually and collectively to dismantle systematic and structural barriers to equality. The Office of Diversity and Inclusion has created the I Can’t Breathe Conversation Series, with two programs completed and available on the College’s YouTube Channel, and three more programs in the works for the coming weeks. These are spaces created for critical reflection and difficult dialogue. For many of us, this can be uncomfortable space, and it should be…we must get comfortable with being uncomfortable. We hope these programs offer an opportunity for reflection, learning and community building. As a nation, we have a long way to go in achieving equality. As an institution of higher learning, we have a responsibility to our students to provide a holistic education marked by excellence, responsibility, growth and service. We have more work to do towards justice for all, but on Juneteenth, we celebrate an important step taken toward the pursuit of freedom. We are hopeful that together we will continue to demand and be active agents of change. In freedom and equality, Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, PhD President Juliana M. Mosley, PhD Chief Diversity, Inclusion & Community Relations Officer

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President's Message on Peace and Solidarity, 6/1/2020

Dear Members of the College Community,

I am sitting staring at the blank page before me wondering where and how to begin to write a meaningful message when we have witnessed the unspeakable. Some believe that the violence we watch on various forms of media numbs the mind to hostile aggression, that we somehow can no longer distinguish between fiction and reality. At one point, I might have given some credence to that belief, but no longer. The sight of George Floyd on the ground, crushed into the pavement with unrelenting persistence by the knee of a police officer, until he passed out and died is too outrageously incredible, too cruelly inhumane, too horribly haunting to be forgotten. Few scenes are as real. We watched an unarmed man in police custody, in a prone position, saying “I can’t breathe,” die at the hands of an unconscionable arresting officer. The three fellow officers present did nothing to stop the policeman’s reprehensible behavior while also ignoring the crowd calling for the abuse to cease.

Angry, racially diverse crowds in Minneapolis and across the country have rioted, looted, and torched sections of their cities. They cry for justice. They cry for truth and transparency. They cry for all the other black men, women, and children who have died in a similar manner. While the violence is inexcusable, many of us can feel their anger, their outrage, their frustration – all growing exponentially as another injustice is inflicted on the black community (that does not stand alone in its anguish over recent events). This use of brute force affronts everyone who recognizes it as a blatant violation of the inalienable human dignity of every woman, man, and child. We all stand with George Floyd and his family. “Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee.”

Have we finally witnessed something so horrible and unbelievable that we will work intentionally to end the racism that finds expression in brutality? After all, “I am my brother’s and sister’s keeper,” and my brother and my sister come in many forms, from many places, from many races – all of them inherently beautiful in their creation. What steely, cold, irrational fear grips us so that we are afraid of “the other.” What festers in our guts, eating us from the inside out, blinding us to the innate goodness of “the other?” What is the source of the deafness that deadens us to the agonizing cries of “the other?” What in us needs to change? How do we “put on the mind and heart of Christ Jesus,” who welcomed everyone into his circle? When will we realize that “all is one,” we are one? From the heart of God, we learn from the Trinity that “true union differentiates what it unites.” We are one in a creation that is exquisite precisely because it is diverse in a trillion ways. Christ, everywhere I look. Christ, in everything I see. Christ, in you and me.

We pray for George Floyd’s family, friends, and co-workers that, in time, they “may grow strong at the broken places,” that out of this unbearable pain and sorrow, they may find a way to bring justice and compassion to the communities where they live. One of the greatest graces arising from loss and pain and suffering is empathy, which expands the heart and opens the hearth in welcome. We pray they and we will embrace that grace.

For us, let us pray that we might learn how to see one another with new eyes, how to welcome one another with open hearts, how to live with one another in just relationships, how to love one another as God loves us.

INVERSNAID, Gerard Manly Hopkins

34

As Kingfishers catch fire, dragonflies draw flame;
As tumbled over rim in roundy wells
Stones ring; like each tucked string tells, each hung bell’s
Bow swung finds tongue to fling out broad its name;
Each mortal thing does one thing and the same:
Deals out that being indoors each one dwells;
Selves – goes itself; myself it speaks and spells,
Crying What I do is me: for that I came.
I say more: the just man justices;
Keeps grace: that keeps all his goings graces;
Acts in God’s eye what in God’s eye he is –
Christ – for Christ plays in ten thousand places,
Lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his
To the Father through the features of men’s faces.

Realizing that many among us may desire a place to find solace, a listening ear to help with healing, a venue to search for meaning, qualified members of the Chestnut Hill College Community will be available to you if you wish to speak with them.

You will find this information below. Please be assured of a remembrance in our prayer as we journey through these difficult and painful days together – together, that’s the secret.

God’s blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President

 

Cara McMahon, MA, Pastoral Care and Counseling

Assistant to the President for Mission and Ministry

215-242-7993 mcmahonc@chc.edu

Juliana Mosley, Ph.D.

Chief Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations Officer

215-242-7751 MosleyJ@chc.edu

Sheila Kennedy, SSJ, Ph.D.

Director of the Counseling Center

215-248-7104 KennedyS@chc.edu

Catherine Looker, SSJ, D.Min.

Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Spirituality and Ministry Associate, Office of Mission and Ministry

215-753-3644 LookerC@chc.edu

Jaclyn Newns

Director of Campus Ministry

215-803-7940 newnsj@chc.edu

 

Drs. Cheryll Rothery and Jaison Freeman, and Ms. Cara McMahon will serve as panelists for,

I Can't Breathe...A Conversation to Exhale, on Tuesday, June 2, 2020 from 1:00 - 2:30p.m. via Zoom. Please see the connection information below.

Contact MosleyJ@chc.edu for the Zoom link.

Wishing you God’s peace and blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.

President

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In Memoriam of Frances Maguire, A Dear Friend of the College, 2/18/2020

On February 12, 2020, Chestnut Hill College lost a wonderful and generous friend with the passing of Frances “Frannie” M. Maguire. Creative, imaginative, humorous, she was one of the kindest, sweetest, gentlest, most generous women I have ever had the privilege of knowing. She was a gifted artist, too, and she lived her life as if it were a work of art. Her life undoubtedly changed the lives of many and enriched our world.

Over the course of her life, Frannie dedicated herself to supporting the education of children and their continued pursuit of secondary and post-secondary education. Through the Maguire Foundation, she and her husband, James, forged numerous partnerships and strategic alliances with middle schools, high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the region. These alliances supported countless students and their families in their quest for education at every level.

Launched in 2012, the Maguire Scholars Program at Chestnut Hill College has supported 35 students on their path to earning a bachelor’s degree. In many cases, these scholarships were the deciding factor in the recipients’ choice to study at the College. In addition to the program, Frannie and Jim have given generously to the College, supporting important strategic initiatives and fundraising events such as the Annual Golf Invitational and the Scholarship Gala. The two of them have always embodied our mission of service to our “Dear Neighbor.”

The Maguires are residents of Wyndmoor. They were blessed with nine children, 24 grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren. Frannie’s legacy will live on through them and continue shining in all its brilliance long into the future. A dear friend to all, Frannie will be profoundly missed at the College and beyond.

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On the Tragedy at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, 10/31/2018
Dear Members of the College Community:
 
Once more, with a heavy heart, I search for words both to comfort and compel as I reflect on the tragedy that played out on Saturday in Pittsburgh at the Tree of Life Synagogue.  Eleven unsuspecting women and men, open and vulnerable, were engaged in the act of worship, when they were gunned down by an out-of-control zealot.  His act is as unspeakably senseless as it is despicably cruel. Hate always has two victims, the person at whom the hate is aimed and the person bearing the hate; hate crimes have no victors. All humans are made in the image of God, beautiful and precious in their diverse manifestations of humanness.  Like multi-hued flowers in a bouquet, the faces of humankind, gathered as one humanity, are glorious and resplendent in their presentation.  Why is it, some are blind to this beauty?
 
Our time is troubled, our values questioned, our principles tested, our ideals challenged, our country divided.  When we see diversity as a deterrent to unity, we misunderstand unity.  When we choose power over compassion, we “callous” our souls.  Diversity is the basis for true unity; true unity is not homogeneous, it does not obliterate the elements that comprise it.  Unity is achieved only through a dynamic self-giving and self-forgetfulness that fosters what is best in each person,  We witness diversity in unity as we observe the good people of Pittsburgh gathering to grieve their loss and to support one another.  Their actions tell us what we know to be true:  “God is love and all who live in love will live in God and God will live in them.”  Let us stand with and for the congregation of the Tree of Life Synagogue and let us pray with and for the people of Pittsburgh as they defy hatred and embrace love.
 
The words of Elie Wiesel serve as a guide for our actions.  “We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented. Sometimes we must interfere. When human lives are endangered, when human dignity is in jeopardy, national borders and sensitivities become irrelevant. Wherever men and women are persecuted because of their race, religion, or political views, that place must - at that moment - become the center of the universe.” Elie Wiesel, The Night Trilogy: Night, Dawn, the Accident
 
Today, the City of Steel is the center of the universe, as people from around the globe keep vigil for those living through the worst attack on the Jewish American people in the history of the United States.  We are one with those who grieve and, we pray for those who cannot grieve that God may heal whatever fear fires their hearts with loathing.  While we have seen the actions of the worst among us, we have also been blessed to behold the selflessness of the best among us.  As long as one candle burns, the darkness shall not conquer.
 
From the experience of the concentration camp Viktor Frankl learned the one thing that matters.  “A thought transfixed me: for the first time in my life, I saw the truth as it is set into song by so many poets, proclaimed as the final wisdom by so many thinkers. The truth - that love is the ultimate and the highest goal to which man can aspire.”  Perhaps, as we encounter the terrors of our times, we, too, will comprehend that love can heal the greatest divides and create unity where it seems there is only separation.  Let us be as many candles spilling light across the abyss of our divides so that bridges can be built and the two sides joined as one.
 
Blessings and peace,
 
Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President, Chestnut Hill College
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With love to our alums in Puerto Rico, 9/22/2017

Dear Alumni,

Please be assured that you are in our thoughts and prayers as you deal with the devastating results of hurricanes Irma and Maria. We have been watching the news and keeping you close in our minds and hearts as the cataclysmic nature of the storm becomes evident. As I once lived in your beautiful island paradise, I feel especially sad at the destruction I am seeing. If you are able, please let us know how you are.

Sending warm wishes and God’s blessings,

Sister Carol Jean Vale, SSJ, Ph.D.
President, Chestnut Hill College

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Response to DACA, 9/6/2017

If there are any Dreamers in our community, we want you to know that you are our dear neighbor.  We stand beside you in this time of uncertainty and anxiety.  We recognize that these are difficult times, and if the need or desire is present, please avail yourself of the College’s Counseling Center, Campus Ministry, or any trusted faculty or staff member. 

Response to Charlottesville, 8/15/2017

This past weekend, many of us watched the nationally covered scenes of hatred and violence during the "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. White nationalists were protesting the City's plan to remove a statue memorializing Robert E. Lee, Confederacy's top general, with counter-protestors there to present a contrary perspective. While we value everyone's right to free speech and peaceful protest, we are saddened that such would lead to horrific violence resulting in the death of three and more than 30 injured. 

To the Jewish Community, 3/2/2017

I want to assure those among us who are members of the Jewish Community that, with you, we are deeply saddened by recent events which include bomb threats to Jewish Community Centers across the country and vandalism, here in Philadelphia, and elsewhere. These occurrences are heinous, deplorable, and intolerable. We share your pain in the wake of these vile events and express our solidarity with you. I know there are many who must be frightened and concerned for their safety and the safety of those they love. You are our brothers and sisters and we will do all in our power to stand with you against the evil of bias wherever we encounter it.

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Condemnation of harassment and intimidation, 11/13/2016

In the past few days, we have witnessed in the City of Philadelphia, in cities across the country, as well as on some of the nation’s college campuses, incidents of violence, hate speech, harassment, and intimidation. We condemn such acts without reservation. In keeping with our beliefs, we advise all who come to our campus to work, to study, to reside or to visit that no such actions or language will be tolerated by Chestnut Hill College.