LATROBE, PA – Special awards of achievement were presented to a pair of groups by Saint Vincent College president Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B., during the 2020 virtual Founders’ Day Honors Convocation, recorded in the historic Saint Vincent Archabbey Basilica.
Saint Vincent College’s Uniting All People Club and its Forward Together Advisory Committee were each recognized by Father Paul for leadership and commitment to the Saint Vincent community.
Father Paul commended the Uniting All People Club for addressing and facilitating discussion across the campus community on the issues of racism, bigotry, hatred and social injustice across society.
“On our campus,” said Father Paul, “discussions surrounding these issues that plague our society have increased and moved forward. Back in June, the ‘Let’s Talk and Listen’ discussion forums were launched as a way for our entire campus community to engage in meaningful dialogue regarding racism, bigotry and social injustice. These moving and enlightening events would not have been as powerful or productive if it were not for the leadership and maturity of our students.”
Father Paul praised the Uniting All People Club for playing a critical role in these discussions.
“The conversations, reflections and experiences that were shared during these forums from our students, and especially our students of color, were profound,” he said. “As we remain inspired by the work of our students to positively change our world, discussions and actions around these issues must and will continue.”
Keila Lobos-Hernandez, a senior English major and secretary of the Uniting All People Club, accepted the certificate of achievement on behalf of the club.
The Forward Together Advisory Committee was formed in May under the leadership of Dr. John Smetanka, vice president for academic affairs and academic dean, to develop a comprehensive health and safety plan to guide the safe reopening of campus for the fall 2020 semester.
“With ever-changing guidelines and directives,” said Father Paul, “it was imperative that we had a group of leaders to advise the College and Seminary on the necessary procedures, protocols and safety measures that would need to be implemented on our campus. The work of this committee has been tireless, as they continue to meet weekly to review policies and directives and make recommendations on how to address the challenges that the global pandemic presents.”
Smetanka and the Very Reverend Edward Mazich, O.S.B., rector of Saint Vincent Seminary, accepted the certificate of achievement from Father Paul on behalf of the committee.
Along with Smetanka and Father Edward, members of the Forward Together Advisory Committee include:
Father Paul also lauded the efforts of Jym Walters, head women’s lacrosse coach and associate director of campus life, who has been responsible for monitoring and delivering meals to students in isolation/quarantine.
“He has gone above and beyond to serve our students,” said Father Paul.
Conducted virtually due to gathering restrictions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 Founders’ Day Honors Convocation can be viewed in its entirety at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2T1CU8g27U&feature=youtu.be.
PHOTO 1: Senior Keila Lobos-Hernandez, representing the Uniting All People Club, accepts the Certificate of Achievement from Saint Vincent College president Father Paul R. Taylor, O.S.B.
PHOTO 3: Father Edward Mazich, O.S.B., (left) and Dr. John Smetanka with the Certificate of Achievement for the Forward Together Advisory Committee