From the President

Roots and Wings

Christopher E. Hopey, Ph.D., President of Merrimack CollegeWe live in an era marked by change and disruption; higher education institutions are being challenged like never before, by changing demographics, changing expectations, even changing politics.

Institutions can bend with those changes, as everyone must to some degree. But an institution can also stand as a rock, upon its value and its values, upon the fundamental truths and the academic essentials. This is the path Merrimack has chosen. “We develop the intellect, spirituality and creativity of every student. We still believe in rigorous academics, in scholarship among faculty and students, in experiential learning and in a holistic residential experience.

The techniques and technology we employ to deliver those  basics does indeed evolve with the times. What Merrimack College stands for does not. And we, and our students, thrive because of that.

There is an old saw about the importance of giving our children roots and wings. As with most folk wisdom, this one is deeply rooted in experience.

We are grounded by our academic mission and Augustinian values—our roots. We provide intellectual, spiritual and ethical roots to the students who come to us not yet fully formed but eager to learn.

Tending those roots are Merrimack’s constant gardeners— the faculty, who nurture students’ minds and hearts and help them become the people they want themselves to be and find the paths they want to pursue.

Without a strong faculty and intellectual grounding, a college withers. Merrimack has, however, built success upon success precisely because we have a passionate, hardworking and truly caring faculty, who maintain both a boundless interest in our students and alumni and a boundless capacity for constant growth themselves, through research, service and, indeed, through teaching.

And along with these roots, our faculty provide students with wings.

Merrimack students and alumni have used those wings to find lofty economic perches, at institutions like Bank of America or Berkshire Hathaway. They have flown to Nepal to rebuild poor villages after earthquakes, and to hundreds of American school systems where the daily work of educating the next generation is truly a vocation of love. They have taken wing to the priesthood and to public service, to business start-ups and pharmaceutical laboratories, to graduate school classrooms and to higher education leadership.

The wings Merrimack faculty provide take Merrimack students and alumni to these heights. The roots we provide mean that, when they arrive, they know what to do and how to do it, and most importantly, how to do it with compassion and a sense of their place in community and in the world.

In this issue, you will read about those roots and those wings. We hope you enjoy digging in, and read stories that make your spirits soar.


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Dr. Christopher E. Hopey