Rev. Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos Provides A Bold Strategic Vision for the 2016-17 Academic Year
On Tuesday, September 20, Rev. Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos addressed His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America, Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and the Executive Committee of Hellenic College Holy Cross Greek Orthodox School of Theology with a bold strategic vision for the 2016-17 academic school year.
The text of the address is as follows:
Your Eminence Archbishop Demetrios, Geron of America; Dr. Thomas Lelon, Vice-Chair; Esteemed Members of the Executive Committee; and Senior Staff,
It is my pleasure to report to you at the beginning of this, the 2016-17 Academic School year.
While last year was a year of transition and new beginnings for our institution, I look to this year to be one of action, execution, and vision toward our bright future. Academic excellence and unyielding faith will bring us a bright tomorrow.
National religious and academic research centers tell us that Christianity in our country is declining and that the national average student debt and jobless rate in many fields of study are rising.
Hellenic College Holy Cross can be proud to stand in contrast to these trends.
99% of our entire student body is Orthodox Christian.
Admissions to our school are increasing 8% year over year.
Over 95% of our students receive financial aid.
Median debt carried by students in the Hellenic College Class of 2016 is less than half the national average ($15.5k).
The average student loan default rate for our students is 0% v. a national average of 11.8%.
Over 80% of 2015 graduates of both Hellenic College and Holy Cross were gainfully employed within 6 months of graduation.
These statistics provide a strong foundation for the promotion a new and bold strategic vision for this year -- one that not only increases our enrollment, but also our visibility to the Orthodox Christian faithful in North America and throughout the world.
As we prepare in the next year to celebrate the 80th Anniversary of Holy Cross in 2017 and the 50th Anniversary of Hellenic College in 2018, now is the time to provide a greater academic and student life experience to attract students both through our gates and beyond them through innovative online learning opportunities.
In this next academic year, my office will focus on excellence in teaching, research and learning. An academic summit, even more comprehensive than those of other key departments whose summits were held last year, will lead our schools in developing new courses and majors that will grow our school and increase our admissions.
We will renew our commitment to strengthen our current faculty and hire new faculty of the highest quality when necessary. We will support and reward creative teaching and excellence in research and scholarship, encouraging professional development and fostering leadership development opportunities for faculty, as well as administrative staff.
We will support existing programs, as well as develop new programs of exceptional quality informed by a rigorous review process.
These initiatives will require the enhancement of existing facilities, as well as the promotion of a greater and more efficient use of space and proper maintenance. If you have not done so already, please walk next door and take a look at the new floors and classroom upgrades that we are presently conducting through the generosity of the National Philoptochos Society.
With a prime focus on academic excellence, my office will further work to build upon and enhance student success by strengthening academic resources and student support services and a more vibrant student life experience both on and off our campus. Increased campus activities and trip opportunities to experience the food, culture and history of Boston and the environment of the greater New England region will be executed.
Additional intramural sports and exercise opportunities will emphasize the importance of not only a healthy mind and spirit, but also body, made in the image and likeness of God.
With short-term goals and initiatives, my office will also look toward the future. Maintaining fiscal responsibility and accountability, a smaller and more efficient student center is being planned. Over 100 potential donors have been identified in reaching our goal of beginning the new project with monies secure and on-hand prior to construction.
A new student center will prompt the overall examination and creation of a modern campus master plan and the universal layout of additional new facilities and improvements that will support revenue generating conferences, events, and an increased student populace.
Likewise, a virtual master plan of continued education that will attract global audiences will be constructed and executed.
This month I approved the development of a new front and back end construction of a modern and visionary website that will attract increased global visibility and daily traffic, and interconnect with an enhanced social media presence and increased online multimedia that promotes our faith and institution.
The Holy Cross Press is being reorganized and strengthened with a new director, and soon I will appoint a new editorial board that will seek out those wishing to publish books of quality for our faith. Holy Cross Bookstore will also continue to grow and expand. If you have not already seen, please walk downstairs and view and purchase our new selections of icons and religious items being imported directly from Greece. Because of these and new and enhanced product categories, including exclusive Under Armor clothing merchandise, online sales have increased significantly compared to last year. In-store sales are also up and school pride among our students has increased.
Of course, I cannot accomplish the initiatives that I have outlined alone. I look forward to working closely with the Executive Committee and Board of Trustees in partnership -- through your guidance and individual and collective expertise -- to make this academic year one of advanced progress toward continued future growth and fiscal responsibility toward the elimination of our financial debt.
With Love in Christ,
Rev. Fr. Christopher T. Metropulos, President