Acts of service have always been the staple of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College (SMWC). Whether it be volunteering for an event, giving your time to a great cause or giving back to those in need, students at SMWC are always encouraged to go the extra mile.
While celebrating the College’s annual Foundation Day of Service, SMWC students, faculty and staff gathered in the Cecilian Auditorium to spend time in reflection and dive deep into the foundation of SMWC. Foundation Day commemorates the founding of the College on October 22, 1840, and honors the legacy of foundress Saint Mother Theodore Guerin. Classes for the day were canceled so that students could experience a day of volunteerism, prayer and fellowship. In speaking to students, Janet Clark, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs shared, “We are happy to be celebrating our Foundation Day today. Foundation Day is also a time for many of you, new or returning students, faculty and staff, to learn and be reminded of the story of how the Sisters of Providence arrived and started Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College.”
The program included an opening prayer from Tim Tesmer, campus minister. Saint Mother Theodore Guerin scholars then presented the opening remarks with readings from Saint Mother Theodore Guerin’s journal and the Bible.
Terry Bowe, associate vice president for diversity, equity, inclusion and human resources spoke about love being the foundation of the College and how it’s served through the years for SMWC’s students. “Earlier this semester, I sent an email about having love be the center of our foundation as we move into a new era for our institution. One of the hallmarks of our College is the rich tapestry of backgrounds, cultures and experiences that our campus community represents. It is this diversity that makes us stronger, more innovative and better prepared to face the challenges of this world,” Bowe said.
Student organizations also participated in the event as they shared what Foundation Day means to them. Organizations that participated included Student Senate, Music Therapy Student Association, Peace and Justice Club, Service 31, Presidential Corps, Student Athletes Advisory Committee and Black Student Association.
Marlon Moore, Ph.D., was the guest speaker for the event. Moore is a nationally recognized Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) consultant. He has advised thousands of business professionals on DEI principles across the country. Moore’s mission is to have a world-changing impact through practical, leading-edge solutions that foster innovation through leadership.
In speaking to the SMWC community, Moore shared his own personal experience in discovering his roots, and how it has impacted his experience and growth with DEI. “The reality is that I have not always been Dr. Moore,” he said. Moore then went on to explain the challenges he faced growing up which impacted him personally and academically. Moore explained that during those times, he was still searching for who he was. “I had to ground myself in foundational principles that would one day lead me to this stage,” Moore said.
Throughout his presentation, Moore kept attendees engaged through realistic exercises and conversational activities. To conclude, he encouraged all attendees to move to a different seat in the auditorium and sit next to someone they did not know. Moore ended with the group exchange of all attendees joining hands, stating “I am me. You are you. But together, we can change the world.”
Following the program, students were encouraged to display acts of kindness, service and support in their own way. Rather than participate in specific service projects, like in past years, students were encouraged to conduct acts of service as a reminder to everyone that someone cares about them because they were created with value and worth. One service project that several students participated in was card-making for the Indy Flight of Honor Veterans.