Class of 2009 Commencement

By Lisa Dussault

Each year, commencement and senior week is always an exciting thing to be discussed among the graduating senior class.  This year, arrangements began  last semester between Father Kevin Mullen, the administration, the senior class council and Kelly Burke, who is the President of the Class of 2009.  A big topic of conversation was whether or not to move commencement off campus.  Hard decisions were forced to be made because of all the different options for where it could take place.

According to Kelly, “the ideal situation would be to have commencement outside on the quad on a beautiful day.”  However, it is hard to predict the weather and it very easily could end up raining, which would move the ceremony into the gym;  this happened to the last five ceremonies because rain was in the forecast.  Having commencement in the gym was never a good option for the seniors because it limits the amount of guests each person can have and it is not air conditioned.

So the planning committee decided to get feedback from the seniors to see what their point of view was.  They went around to the doors up at the townhouses with a commencement petition and asked seniors if they would want graduation to be held at the Times Union Center or on campus.  174 students signed the petition in favor of having the location changed and only 6 wanted to keep it on campus. For this reason, the Class of 2009’s commencement ceremony will take place at the Times Union Center in May.  All of those involved are very excited because this decision will allow each student to bring 10 guests.  Also, there will be a much better parking situation, all guests will be in one area watching graduation take place and it will be air-conditioned.

And, as usual, the week before graduation there will be senior geared events around campus.  Further, the first 21 Club will soon be taking place on January 29th before the men’s home baseball game.  Throughout the semester, seniors will also be encouraged to donate money to the senior gift.  The senior class is hoping to beat the amount of money raised by the Class of 1989, which was $26,624.  Hopefully the Class of 2009 will reach their goal and have a commencement to remember!

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Winter Weekend is Heatin’ Up the Holidays!

By Lisa Dussault givingtreesmall-1

It is almost that time of the year again when finals start creeping up, papers are due and the weather starts getting too cold for comfort.  But it is also that time when winter weekend is on its way!  A weekend filled with fun, dancing, food and games for those of you who are stressed out and just need a break.  It is taking place on the weekend of Friday, December 5th – Sunday, December 7th.  The theme this year is “Heatin’ Up the Holidays,” for those of you sick of the cold weather already.  It is a summer take on the traditional winter theme every year, almost like a Christmas in July. The chairperson is Amy McCarthy and the co-chairs are Liz Murphy and Liza Pagano.

This year, there are a lot of different events taking place throughout the whole weekend.  On Friday, December 5th at 7:30 pm, the Winter Ball will be taking place in the Maloney Great Room.  Like usual, it will be a semi-formal, with beach themed decorations hanging up instead of the usual winter embellishments.  It will definitely be a change from past years!  Tickets will be $10 for students with a meal plan and $20 for students without a meal plan and non-students.  At the dance you can enjoy some good food, good music and a chance to win a free Winter Weekend t-shirt or an iPod touch.

On Saturday, December 6th, there will be Indoor Ice Skating located in the Student Union, room 241 from 1:00 – 5:00 pm.  Yes, ice skating in the union so you don’t freeze outside!  Ice skates will be provided for those of you who do not have yours handy. Also there will be free food and festivities so you can really get into the upcoming holiday season.

 

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Siena Pursues Accounting Masters Program

By Craig Osborne

The Certified Public Accounting certification (CPA) is considered one of the highest achievements an accountant can complete. Passing the test is not hard enough; the State has new requirements to sit for the exam for anyone who files an application after August 1, 2009. Until then, a bachelor’s degree or 120 credit hours with specific classes pertaining to accounting and business were all you needed to sit for the exam. The current seniors in the accounting program will be able to sit for the exam as long as they apply before the deadline. As of August 1, 2009, you will need a master’s degree or 150 credit hours with specific classes in accounting and business. This requirement affects the current juniors who are accounting majors and want to pursue a CPA. Other states have the 150 credit hour requirement already and New York is joining the field.

Siena, widely known for its accounting program, will be behind if its graduates will not be able to sit for the CPA. Local rivals such as The College of Saint Rose and SUNY Albany have master programs up and running with graduates who have a master’s degree in accounting already in the workforce. According to Professor Farley, the master degree program is set to start in the fall of 2010, pending state approval which should come through in the next couple of months. The faculty and board of trustees are very excited and eager to get this program started, and have been working diligently to do so. The program would require the hiring of an additional staff member, as well as a 30 credit hour program. The prerequisites for entering the program would include a minimum B average and the amount of students accepted is 25. If there are any questions or concerns about the program please contact Professor Eugene Farley of the Accounting Department.

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“Service and Leadership”, a Message from The Impressive Dr. Howard!

By Lisa Dussault

One of the most important life lessons a student can learn is the appropriate way to act in professional and social environments. Siena College prides itself on promoting good behavior among students and on preparing us for the future. From November 5th -7th, the renowned Dr. Christopher Howard will be coming to Siena as a Visiting Scholar of Leadership to talk with students about what it takes to be an honest, moral leader. Professor Joseph Fitzgerald is the coordinator for the event and he strongly recommends that everyone attend this esteemed occasion regardless of your major!

The companionship of ethics and business practices are so important that Siena is part of the National Consortium for Character-Based Leadership, an association of high schools, universities, graduate schools, and military and civilian leadership programs. There are two goals the Consortium has for the schools involved: to allow all the members to exchange ideas and beliefs with each other, and to provide members access to innovative curriculum that help develop character-based leadership practices in young future leaders. This helps schools integrate the practice of leadership and ethics into everyday living. It seems that these qualities are not always included in the academic curriculum for business classes. According to the beliefs behind the Consortium, integrity, communication and empowerment should all be incorporated within business programs. By being a member of this organization, Siena asserts the necessity of character and good leadership, and seeks to prepare students for the real world by teaching them ways to uphold their good character in times of struggle. In the future, the National Consortium hopes to expand its system by diversifying its curriculum in order to even better prepare students for real life challenges in the world.

Recently, when Professor Fitzgerald went to a leadership conference at Georgetown University conducted by the Consortium, Dr. Howard was a panelist. Professor Fitzgerald instantly recognized his vibrant and fascinating character and said he was “enthralled by his message because he was a very dynamic speaker and seemed like a person of great value and integrity.” In light of that, Dr. Howard was asked to come and spend a few days at Siena to talk to students and faculty about business ethics and theories. Currently, Dr. Howard is the Associate Vice President for Leadership and Strategic Initiatives at the University of Oklahoma, where he is also the Director of the Honors College Leadership Center and the President’s Vice Presidential Professor. He teaches leadership to the top undergraduates using the “Great Books” method, where he uses works by Plato, Twain and others to help him teach. But that is not all he has accomplished thus far in his life. In 1991, he was a Distinguished Graduate of the US Air Force Academy where he got a degree in Political Science and was the starting running back on the football team. When he graduated, he was awarded the title of Rhode Scholar, and then wrote his dissertation on congressional behavior at Oxford University. He also went to Intelligence Officer School where he was a helicopter pilot and an Intelligence Officer, graduating first in his class. Dr. Howard also serves on many volunteer programs including Secure the Future, which is an HIV/AIDS initiative in southern Africa. He is also the founder of the Impact Young Lives Foundation, an organization that offers scholarships and travel opportunities for South African students.

Dr. Howard has also been given several honorable awards. In 1998, he was named “100 Heroes of Plano Independent School District.” Then in 2003, he was initiated into the Verizon Academic All-American Hall of Fame as the youngest member ever to have been accepted that year. Also in 2003, he served as the Chief Information Officer at General Electric’s Corporate Initiatives Group. All of these achievements only highlight the other great successes of Dr. Howard. He is involved in a wide range of other groups, committees, associations and non-profit organizations. He is a very “fascinating character,” is “well known in leadership circles,” and has “a very impressive, bright future ahead of him,” Professor Fitzgerald stated. Everyone in any kind of field would benefit from hearing Dr. Howard!

He will be around the Siena Campus for a whole three days, attending small group meetings with students and faculty during breakfast and lunch hours. His schedule is filled with talks and meetings that allow him to express his knowledge to those who want to learn. His main event is on November 6th at 7:00 PM in the MAC where he will give his key note address to all students at Siena and the public with a reception to follow. Students may even get a chance to interview Dr. Howard, which will play on WVCR or on SCTV. Hearing and talking with Dr. Howard is a great way for anyone to be exposed to leadership, find out about opportunities in leadership positions, understand Siena’s mission as a College, and become more informed about ways one can incorporate ethics and morals into business dealings. The faculty finds it very important for all students to go to this event because it is not every day that someone as impressive as Dr. Howard is able to come and talk at our school. No matter what school or subject you are part of, listening to Dr. Howard’s powerful speech can help you in your future endeavors!

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Student Senate Elections

By Lisa Dussault

Every year the Student Senate holds elections to decide who will be the upcoming student leaders for the next academic year. Just recently elections were held to decide who would be on the counsel concerning all the residence halls, commuters and for the Poly Tech apartments. This year there were 32 open positions that needed to be taken but only 26 were filled, most of which were not even contested. This lack of student representation is not unusual; it seems that the Senate has this problem almost every year. Conor Geary, the Student Senate president, said that this could happen for several reasons. For one, students might be unable to fit such a position into their schedule because of off-campus jobs, or because of academic reasons. Also, there just might not be enough promotion around campus; it is usually a challenge to get people to pay attention sometimes.

Since elections each year are very important to the success of all different organizations on campus, The Elections and Polling Committee typically organize how elections are done and decide when and how polls should be taken. There are two people who are in charge of this; the Communications Director, Steve Hannigan, and the Senior Class President, Kelly Burke. These two people take care of all the stuff behind the scenes when elections are going on. Voting this year took place on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday and the votes were all tallied up the following Monday. In order to help students decide who will be picked, there generally is a speech night that takes place the Monday before elections begin. Not all candidates are required to give a speech, the only ones that must are the people running for Senate President. This year, about 16 of the candidates gave speeches and 65 people showed up to hear them; it was a great turn out. Overall, there were over 650 votes taken into consideration with Hennepin having 193 of them. This might be because Hennepin’s presidential position was the most contested because there were four people running for president.

According to Conor, there are a lot of new changes that were made this year. For one, Senate decided to go green for this election and have all voting take place online. To encourage voting, since it would not be as convenient as paper voting, there were computers set up in the Student Union and Serra Hall so students would have the opportunity to vote. There was even a new position that was created specifically for the task of going green in the senate and on campus, called the Director of Sustainability. The Senate also voted in a new constitution and created some new committees. For example, they turned the Student Finance Committee into the Budget Allocation Committee, which is where groups go for their funding. The House of Clubs was also introduced, lead by Steve Archer, where clubs can formalize and meet up with each other to share ideas and thoughts. Something else that was changed was the write-in campaign. This is when you can win an election by having your name written into a spot. However, in the past this type of election style has been made into a joke since once Mickey Mouse won. Now things are changed, you have to get at least 10 write-ins for it to be valid. If you get less than 10, but are still the winner, then you have to get 50 signatures on a petition in order to actually win.

Since this election was for hall councils, Senate position elections will be taking place in December so that the winners can take office in the spring semester. So, if you are interested in becoming part of the Student Senate, start getting ready for December. Conor said that we as students “need to take this seriously because these positions are the voices on campus.” If you want to make a difference, this is definitely one of the best places to start!

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NY Times Reporter Visits Siena

By Kelly Peckholdt

On September 17, 1787, the delegates of the Constitutional Convention met for the last time to sign the document they had created. Now, the National Archives and Record Administration celebrates this important day in our nation’s history by encouraging teachers and students at all levels to learn more about our Constitution and government.

Adam Liptak, a Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times, was invited to Siena as the Constitution Day lecturer on September 19. His speech, entitled “Liberty Versus Security: The Supreme Court in the Age of Terror,” encompassed the changes in the way the Supreme Court interprets the law following September 11, 2001, and how people are more willing to give up civil liberties in return for security in today’s world.

This year’s Constitution Day marked the 221st anniversary of the signing of the Constitution, and Liptak highlighted many of the changes that have taken place in the federal government as well as the Supreme Court following September 11, 2001. With issues like suspending the writ of habeus corpus, and holding detainees at Guantanamo Bay, there has been a continued discussion on how to use the Constitution in extraordinary times. Many of these issues raise the question of whether or not the balance between safety and loss of privacy is in accordance with the Constitution. There have been no terrorist attacks on American soil since September 11, so has the government struck the proper balance?

Liptak asserted that the belief in the Constitution is Americans’ secular religion. Perhaps, for this reason, along with the fact that there is very little suppression of political dissent in the United States, citizens are willing to give up some of their civil liberties in return for security. Liptak also noted that even while the Bush administration expanded the rights of the executive branch to allow things like warrantless wire tapping and imprisoning people like al Qaieda soldiers on say-so alone, the Supreme Court does not stand in the way. The Supreme Court is not as comprehensive as the public thinks; it is slow and deliberate.

Liptak was only appointed Supreme Court reporter for the New York Times several months ago. Previously, he served as a national legal reporter for six years. He graduated from Yale University in 1984 with an English degree, where he was editor of the Yale Daily New’s monthly magazine. After starting out as a copy boy at the Times after graduation, Liptak decided to go to law school, and he graduated from Yale Law School in 1988, where he was an editor of the Yale Law & Policy Review. In 1999, Liptak won the John Peter Zenger Award for defending freedom of the press. As national legal reporter, he had the opportunity to follow the nominations of Justices Roberts and Alito, the Washington, D.C., sniper case, and the Valerie Wilson case. This past summer, Liptak was required to move to D.C. for his new position as Supreme Court reporter, and he resides with his wife and two daughters.

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MULLEN COMPLETES FIRST YEAR AS TENTH PRESIDENT

By Kelly Peckholdt

Nearly one year ago, on October 1, 2007, Fr. Kevin Mullen, O.F.M., was inaugurated as Siena College’s tenth president. In his inaugural address, Mullen touched upon his role as president and the Franciscan theme of “A time to begin again.” He also stated in his address that “Fr. Kevin Mackin passed on a good school, and because of that, I see nothing to change.” It is true that Siena has not changed too much under Fr. Mullen’s leadership, but how has Mullen allowed Siena to develop further as an academic institution and community?

At the time of his inauguration, Mullen stated that his task was to listen to those in and around the Siena College community and allow community members to voice their concerns. How has Mullen taken those ideas and concerns and turned them into a plan of action for the future of the college?

“We begin again.” Mullen once again emphasized this theme as we begin the new school year. He challenges the community to begin this year with optimism and renewed energy. “I feel more energy than last year, because I have seen what this college can do,” says Mullen. “People really cooperated and supported me by making their contributions and getting involved.”

Mullen is particularly excited about the large number of first year students. He does express that is he very concerned about tripling in the dorms, but he sees this as a challenge and not a problem, as long as the college finds a way to respond appropriately. In the past few years, Siena has become much more popular, and more students are applying and being accepted. The main issue for Mullen is to work together with Admissions and Residential Life to find the correct balance between letting students in but keeping the intimate environment of the Siena experience. “We don’t want to close doors, but we want the incoming students to be comfortable,” explains Mullen. There are no concrete plans in place to deal with this challenge yet, but new dorms are an option on the table. Although some upperclassmen are concerned about the school losing its intimacy, Mullen states that he is secure that the student population will remain around 3,000 students. There will be no significant growth, because adding even a few hundred more students would affect every aspect of campus life, from dorms to classrooms and support staff.

Overall, Mullen feels good about his accomplishments this past year and is very hopeful for the future of the college. However, there were many challenges and learning experiences as well. Mullen explains that communication was very difficult for him. He obviously knew how to communicate, but it was a matter of learning how to effectively communicate with the Siena community, the wider public, and friends of the college. He constantly looked for ways to improve communication as well, which led to the creation of the Strategic Communication and Marketing Department, with Delcy Fox as its head. Time management was also a challenge. It is part of the job to represent the school off campus and be available on campus. Any college president is on the road often to represent their school, but that also takes them away from the college community. “There were times that I left campus when I should have stayed, and there were times that I stayed when I should have left. It was a learning experience,” says Mullen.

The thing Mullen feels best and most confident about is his relationship with the Siena community. Over the past year, he got to see more of the inner workings of the college, and he was able to see how much people work for and contribute to the community. He says that the community support for him at the inaugural was very special. People told him that no other college would have such great student participation at such an event, and it was very important to him and his family on that day. Mullen also commented on the “awesome” accomplishments of the Siena Men’s Basketball team, which he hopes will be repeated many times in future seasons.

Mullen has many plans in place for the coming year, including the reorganization of the college’s administration. He also wants to prepare the college for a capital campaign, which will help create friends of the college and funds to support Siena in the future of new and developing programs. He hopes that these friends of the college will take pride in Siena and spread the word about its message and accomplishments in order to gain further support.

One of Mullen’s personal goals for this fall was to teach Catholic Social Thought, a topic he is passionate about. It’s a relatively large section, and it’s taught through lecture, discussions, and multi-media usage. He loves the subject and the environment, and he is very happy to be in the classroom teaching it.

Mullen jokes that he is back for another year, so he hasn’t been tired out yet from his role as president. He has some great plans in place to help the college grow as an institution and a community, and he is truly looking forward to great year.

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