Good Morning! Aloha Ke Kakahiaka!
I would like to recognize our distinguished guests who honor us by their presence today: The Most Reverend Archbishop Secor, Fr. Provincial Solma, Members of the Board of Regents, Board of Governors, alumni, students, deans, faculty, staff, Marianists, Jesuits, honored guests, family and friends.
I am at a loss for words to express my gratitude to each of you here today. I can only think to say “thank you so much from the bottom of my heart.” It is amazing being able to stand before all of you and share this special moment in the history of Chaminade University of Honolulu. I am beyond humbled and honored to be part of this amazing community. All of you here are sharing the most special gift you can possibly give. That is the gift of your time, your presence, and your support.
Thank you being part of this special day at this very special University.
I want to recognize and thank the members of the Inauguration Steering Committee, especially the chair, Kitty Wo. I also gratefully acknowledge the presence of distinguished delegates from various universities, including our sister institutions, the University of Dayton and St. Mary’s University in San Antonio.
There are many people here who play a crucial role in my life. Time does not allow me to mention everyone by name, but each of you knows I will always be grateful for your support. I do want to recognize my loving and lovely family: my husband, Randy Carpenter; my children, Caitlyn and Christian Carpenter and Noah Pentelovitch; my sisters, Barb, Beth and Amy; my brother, Dan; my nephews, Craig and Owen; and my cousins,- Tim, Cathy, Nancy, Sarah and Annie. I also owe a great debt to my parents, Gloria and Bob, who were a constant source of encouragement and support to me.
I approach today’s installation as president of Chaminade University with a sense of both honor and humility. I want to thank the Regents for the confidence they have shown in me and the members of the University community for their welcoming embrace. I offer a special thanks to Bro. Bernie for his remarkable stewardship of this University.
In the days ahead, we will focus on our future together. But for now, let us pause for a few minutes, be present to each other and to this occasion and time in our history as a university. Let us be grateful and celebrate the path that was traveled to get us here and thank all who were part of the journey. It is, after all, why can be here today.
A love of learning, a longing for discovery, a commitment to pursuing truth and making the world a better place are the underpinnings of a great university. I find these in abundance here at Chaminade University. During the past 5 ½ months as president, I have spent much of my time learning about this exceptional place. I had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with hundreds of people. Warm, passionate, dedicated, hopeful, proud, pragmatic, imaginative, attentive, supportive, enthusiastic and mission-focused people. I am walking in new directions, and asking a lot of questions, learning about aspirations, what people are proudest of and what they are anxious about as we move forward together. More than anything, I am listening. There has been no shortage of opinions or ideas, and they are always voiced with a desire to make Chaminade better.
Through this process, I have learned that, for a relatively young university, we are immensely proud of our roots and humble beginnings. We are resilient – enduring and growing through times of turmoil, threat and challenge. And, we have an extraordinary capacity for renewal, reinventing ourselves and leaning into hurricane-like forces that reshape our landscape.
I also learned that we are driven by a deep commitment to reach new heights. We are in the process of refreshing our strategic plan leading to a sustainable future for Chaminade. Faculty, staff, students, alumni and community partners are part of this important process.
Today, though, I will share what I have come to see as our greatest aspirations: defining visions for our future. We, at Chaminade University aspire to be:
1. The excellent, relevant university;
2. The innovative university; and
3. The university that contributes to the betterment of society.
Chaminade, as a Marianist, Catholic, Native Hawaiian-serving university, focuses on educating students in the Catholic intellectual tradition – a holistic education built on a strong liberal arts background. We educate broad thinkers who developed and practice critical reasoning; are team ready as a result of the collaborative, interdisciplinary learning they experience; are excellent communicators; and are able to approach problem solving not only from multiple perspectives, but from an ethical frame. Our graduates make a difference in the world – they are involved and give back to their communities.
We have much to be proud of in our academic programs and student outcomes. Our faculty are respected scholars and leaders in their disciplines and our student outcomes are excellent. We are committed to staying focused on academic excellence.
The Relevant University
Chaminade has been driven by the dual commitment to excellence and relevance, pursuing the highest academic standards while also serving our local and global communities.
We all are aware of the challenges facing higher education today – the declining number of college-age students for the foreseeable future, the ongoing public debate on the value of a college education, and parents’ concern regarding their return on investment for their children’s education. We also know that a college degree continues to have value over a lifetime. Those with college degrees earn considerably more money, experience better health and report increased satisfaction in their lives.
In the midst of these challenges and criticisms and demand for educational reform, there is hope and expectation. Universities are seen by many as the source of new knowledge, the societal change agents that can be catalysts for breaking the cycle of poverty through education. Today at Chaminade, we face these challenges but remain confident that our graduates have the skills, knowledge and adaptability to be future leaders and contribute to a just society.
The Innovative University
Educational innovation represents another exciting frontier for universities. Our students relentlessly pursue pedagogical excellence and energize our campus. Innovation is part of our DNA as a Marianist university. One of the differentiating characteristics of a Marianist education is preparing students for adaptation and change. In today’s ever-evolving world, the jobs our graduates will have five years from now don’t even exist. But as lifelong learners, they will easily adapt to new situations.
We need to focus on what we are good at and how we can contribute to the innovation economy here in Hawaii and throughout the Pacific region. We need to be not only a relevant university but an important contributor to the education of our workforce. Developing strong partnerships in the community will bolster our identity and reputation. We are currently developing and strengthening our partnerships with other academic institutions, local and global businesses and the government to help meet the needs of educating our citizens and developing a diversified workforce in Hawaii and beyond.
We are also contributing to the growth of an innovation economy. We have begun this work by identifying “Centers of Excellence” in our academic programs. Chaminade is known for our strong STEM and healthcare education. Now we are now working with the community and identifying partners to offer new and relevant educational opportunities in this sector, whether it be degree-granting programs, certificates or job training. We are also increasing our capacity to meet the growing need for data science. All business sectors use big data to solve problems, and there is an acute shortage of expertise in this area. Data Science, Analytics and Visualization are areas of expertise for Chaminade. We are expanding our offerings in these fields beginning with a certificate program this summer. We are also leveraging our expertise by designing educational offerings focusing on natural resource management, island resiliency, forensic science and national security.
We are developing new academic programs and reshaping longstanding degree offerings to better meet the needs of our students. We and continue to receive proposals for new academic and support programs and embrace opportunities for growth and innovation. The new ideas coming forth are varied in numerous ways, including process reengineering, technology initiatives, graduate education, certificates and other programs envisioned as possibilities. Chaminade’s size and nimbleness are distinct advantages as we incubate ideas and test creative initiatives. We cannot be afraid of embracing the unknown and taking on risk. Some of these ventures will be wildly success and some abject failures, but we can learn from each experience.
The University that Contributes to the Betterment of Society
Educating in the family spirit, another characteristic of a Marianist education, fits in beautifully with Hawaii’s `ohana culture. Chaminade has a long and proud tradition of being partners in providing educational opportunities for Native Hawaiians. Our undergraduate curriculum has a strong focus on culture, values and traditions. And our highly diverse student body is not only enriched through this curriculum, but develops the skills to be tomorrow’s leaders in a diverse, global society.
Higher education with a higher purpose is the life led here at Chaminade. Our faculty and students are involved in not only community service but service learning – opportunities to engage with and give back to the community as part of their course work. Educating for formation in faith is critical to our mission and allows us to walk the journey of spiritual awakening with students of all faith traditions.
Standing before you today, I am confident that, unified together, we will find ways to not only meet the high expectations we have for ourselves, but exceed those our community and our world have for us. Because if not us, then who? Renewal is not just the act of rebuilding. It is the process of reimagining, reinventing, and reinterpreting. With resilience and renewal, we can weather the winds of change buffeting higher education and the world at large and emerge smarter and stronger.
The Chaminade community is passionate, hopeful, proud, pragmatic and intensely focused on our Marianist, Catholic mission. We are, at the core, a collection of individuals sharing a common bond and journey. Through our coming together as one, we create that “something special” that is powerful and truly symbolizes Chaminade University of Honolulu.
Thank you and God Bless!