A thank you from Father Burns

Posted By: Ben Rodgers On: 2023-08-30
Posted On: 2023-08-30

Dear Faculty, Staff, and Students, 

When we hear from alumni and current students about their time at Saint Mary’s, there is always a special mention of a common theme: the sense of community and inclusion that is fostered at Saint Mary’s. This was seen in action Thursday as the Saint Mary’s community came together to welcome the Class of 2027, as well as transfer and returning students. This is the largest class in years and a special note of appreciation goes out to our enrollment team under the leadership of Dr. Michael McMahon. As part of Dr. McMahon’s team, I am grateful to Dr. Tim Gossen, who at my direction agreed to lead our admissions team, under the guidance of our enrollment consultant Pam Johnson. I knew he would be the right person at this time. 

Throughout the day, faculty and staff heard from families about how welcoming and seamless the move-in experience was. We heard what a caring, supportive, and unique experience Saint Mary’s provides. To all of you who took part in making this day special, whether you were present or helped prepare for the day, I want you to know that I see this as a testament to your commitment to building up Saint Mary’s, a desire to make sure Saint Mary’s thrives so that her mission and values are passed on. Your desire to build a welcoming community for all is commendable.  

There are so many who were involved in the move-in process. I thank all of you for any part you had in it but allow me to call out a few in particular.  These include:  

  • Tracy Lenertz and The Fun Squad, who had faculty and staff present at Skemp and Brother William to greet families and provide bottled water.
  • The Men’s Hockey team, who had at least 15 members who worked all day unloading vehicles and welcoming families, along with Coach Egan who supported his men in the service they provided.
  • The Peer Ministers and The RAs, who also worked all day unloading vehicles, answered questions and welcomed families.
  • The Orientation Leaders, who greeted and guided students and families with outstanding smiles.
  • Brian Kusek who worked and supported his peer ministers by his example.
  • Father Kevin Stolt, who worked all day unloading vehicles (in a full cassock).
  • Tricia Dobrient and the Student Success team, who worked all day checking families in.
  • Ann Merchlewitz, who in her role in leading student affairs, has had a direct impact in working with Niki Peterson and A Getzin, both of whom worked all day and organized the actual process of moving our new students into the residence halls.

In spite of the heat, you provided support as well as some levity to the new students joining our Saint Mary’s family. To all those involved, I express my most sincere thanks and gratitude. To all those who helped get students to Saint Mary’s, we couldn’t have done it without you. 

Now that we are all together on our beloved Winona Campus, I look forward to a truly transformative school year with all of you. This is the year to celebrate all the hard work done over the past few years and recognize you all helped to make it come together!

God’s choicest blessings for the new school year, 

Father Burns