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The Journal Gazette

  • File The former Scottish Rite Center now bears the name of the University of Saint Francis, part of the school's expansion of its campus into downtown Fort Wayne.

  • Kriss

Sunday, December 31, 2017 1:00 am

Moving from abstract to concrete

Whether it's a personal goal or campus expansion, accomplishment requires the same steps

M. Elise Kriss

On this eve of the new year 2018, our thoughts and dreams turn to the year before us. We are excited about the possibilities as we envision a better future for our families, friends and the organizations where we work. Goals are set that will move us toward our vision of better health, success at home and accomplishments at work. We hope for the best in the year to come.

This is certainly the case at the University of Saint Francis. My vision for the university is to provide the best possible learning environment for our students and a supportive environment for our faculty and staff, who work closely with our students on a daily basis. People frequently comment about my ability to envision new and creative directions for the university. The growth and development have been significant in recent years. Having vision is one thing; transforming that vision into reality is a process that takes time, work and a lot of patience.

Several years ago, the university purchased and renovated the former Chamber of Commerce building at Ewing and Wayne streets in downtown Fort Wayne into our Business Center. The building now houses the Keith Busse School of Business and Entrepreneurial Leadership and our META (project-based learning) and EPIC (business co-op) programs. The city is now the primary classroom for more than 250 USF students. Business partners are working with us in a variety of ways to educate the workforce of the future.

The university also purchased the former Scottish Rite Center on Berry Street. It is now home to the Robert Goldstine Performing Arts Center. I invite you to come and see one of our plays or concerts. The adjoining Music Technology Center houses state-of-the-art classrooms, practice rooms, editing suites, and recording studios for our students and faculty. Sound and lighting for the events in the theatre are managed by our students, giving them hands-on learning experience.

In partnership with Sweetwater Sound, many of our music technology graduates are hired there immediately after graduation. In collaborations with the Fort Wayne Ballet and the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, ballet students can receive a degree from the university and USF students can major in museum administration studies.

Because of our proximity to downtown Fort Wayne, the University of Saint Francis is excited about the vision for the future of the city. The many developments under way, and those being planned, are just blocks away from our downtown location.

Now the USF vision for the future continues as we turn our attention to strengthening and transforming the heart of our Spring Street campus to include the new St. Francis of Assisi Chapel and a major addition to Achatz Hall of Science. With our Faith and Reason Campaign, we are raising the money needed to provide a new worship space for our campus community and a state-of-the-art science facility in which our students can learn, interact with faculty and one another.

Vision is defined as the act or power of anticipating that which will, or may, come to be. It can also mean to envision, or to picture mentally, what you would like to accomplish. When you set goals or plan for the future, you are envisioning. With determination and persistence you can work to accomplish your goal and transform your vision into reality.

Don't give up too soon. Patience is necessary. Be willing to change or innovate. There is more than one way to accomplish a goal. Involve family, friends and coworkers in the accomplishment of your future vision. Success is usually a team effort. Finally, don't forget to ask for divine guidance to inspire you and help you accomplish your goal.

My wish and prayer for each of you this New Year's Eve is that you make a practice of envisioning a better future for yourself, your family, your company and our community. Hold that vision in your heart and mind until it becomes reality.

Sister M. Elise Kriss is president of the University of Saint Francis.