It probably will not surprise anyone familiar with St. Thomas why I was asked to write the “The Bottom Line” column for the inaugural issue of this magazine. While the scope of my financial commitment to St. Thomas is well-known, it is only part of my reason for accepting this opportunity. I am honored.
St. Thomas is a faith-based university dedicated to support, enhance and build the skills our students will need to succeed in this complex and rapidly changing world. The speed of this change requires engagement by faculty, administration and students to achieve a successful outcome. St. Thomas can meet these needs. It cares. It should, and it does.
I became a university trustee nearly five years ago and continue to be delighted by the changes and aspirations of our board, the faculty, Father Dennis Dease and most importantly our students. Make no mistake; it is my goal to help the University of St. Thomas achieve “best in class” in its chosen disciplines, and to become nationally recognized for students who are motivated, aspire to make a difference and want to learn while working toward the leading edge of their chosen professions.
The College of Business at St. Thomas has a new leader. Chris Puto came to us from Georgetown because he shares a dream and a vision that mirrors that of Dease’s and the board of trustees’. Status quo, business as usual, or just getting it done is not what any of us care about. We want to make a difference for every student attending St. Thomas.
We are proud of the long-established evening MBA program and have many testimonials from businesses and students that attest to the strength of the program. This is well and good, but we are not resting on our laurels. We want to impact outcomes and shape the thinking of our students to achieve beyond their expectations. Because we believe in continuous improvement, we can expect new offerings to meet their needs.
It is vitally important that our graduates, be they undergrads or graduate students, learn about new and better ways to affect the companies they work for. They must think strategically, work diligently and partner effectively to succeed.
It is very important to the university that strategic partnerships with business and industry are developed and strengthened throughout the Twin Cities and beyond. To that end, a new College of Business Strategic Board of Governors is being assembled to help guide the dean and his leadership team in developing priorities, focusing aspirations and sharing best practices wherever possible, and supporting the delivery of high-quality knowledge and the skills to apply it.
While entrepreneurialism is near and dear to me personally, the concept of intrapreneurialism should be top-of-mind for every student at St. Thomas. If owning your own company is not a high priority, certainly impacting the company chosen as your place of employment should be. The level of competition for jobs is escalating, and most companies engaged in development, market leadership or even survival, will be looking to their people to make a difference, add value and create successful outcomes.
The intent of the university’s trustees, faculty and administration is to provide and infuse a competitive advantage into all of our students and support them in their lifelong quests, whatever they may be. The presence of a top quality College of Business, School of Law and School of Entrepreneurship is vital to provide the ethical principles, content and skills for our students to win in today’s and tomorrow’s environment. St. Thomas offers all of this. The university aspires to make each student capable of great things. It is my sincere desire that in future years, business, industry, education, and every meaningful endeavor will covet a St. Thomas graduate whom they will come to discover can make a difference in the success of their organization.
Have a great year and watch the progress!