As I sit here in my office at Villa Maria Elementary School on the old Villa Maria College campus, it’s hard not to reflect on the road (both literal and figurative) between here and Gannon. I graduated from Gannon with a bachelor’s degree in 2004 and a master’s in 2010, diplomas which proudly hang on the wall of my new office. Eight years later I find myself a steward of a 120-year-old institution with strong ties to the community – a feeling much like the one you find at Gannon today.
At VME and Gannon, you get a strong sense of the importance of the past as well as a plan for the future. There is such a vibrant spirit on campus these days, and I believe it comes from having a clear vision for where Gannon is going as both a community and an institution.
When I started at Gannon 12 (!) years ago, I have to admit I did not have a strong vision for my own future. As a humanities major, my career path did not unfold before me the way it does with some degrees. I had to be creative and forge a new path into adulthood. I can’t say that I took the most straightforward approach, but I do know that whenever I hit an obstacle, my education from Gannon helped me to deal with it.
My time at Gannon helped me persevere through a career search and job changes, all while growing into an adult through volunteer opportunities, professional organizations and continuing education. I did have a vision for myself, even if I didn’t always realize it. Each step on the path – whether it was a job, hobby or volunteer activity – helped me reach my goals.
So what is your vision for you? The new tagline for the Gannon Alumni Association is “Endless possibilities.” It may not seem that way with the current economy, but Gannon will allow you to be whoever you want to be. Take a page from the Gannon playbook and work on your own strategic plan.
What is your dream? Want to get a doctorate? Own your own business? Retire at 40? It might seem easier to fly to the moon, but once you determine the steps you need to take, achieving your goal becomes real and manageable. It works for large institutions like Gannon and VME, and it works on an individual level.
Did I make it sound easy? I’ve learned that things of value aren’t easily achieved, but hard work and a thoughtful approach will get you there every time. I’m looking forward to watching Gannon students and alumni explore the endless possibilities. Go Knights!