Every semester Regis College hosts opportunities for graduate students to meet and chat with President Antoinette Hays (or Toni as we like to call her). Last semester you could attend a wine and cheese night where you could stroll over to Morrison House and enjoy a glass of chardonnay and casual conversation with Toni and others who represent Regis. This past Saturday was an afternoon luncheon hosted by President Hays herself and Sister Rosemary, Dean of Students. I was excited to attend the luncheon and was eager to share my experience thus far with the President. I was also very excited at the thought of indulging in another delicious Regis meal as the dining services always have such a great spread! Salad and other healthy options are available and the chocolate white chocolate chip cookies should really be illegal. Between the treats and the company, I knew that this was an opportunity I certainly could not miss.
Making my way up to Morrison House, I found myself at a halt, staring at this large brick building sitting atop a green grassy hill. Built in 1900, this building was once the home of students and faculty who also studied and socialized in its halls. Today, the beautiful Georgian structure holds various receptions and serves as a reminder of the tradition and unity of the college. It was something I had always seen depicted on view books and brochures, but had never actually stood face to face with it…it was like seeing walking into Fenway park for the first time. Except instead of having Jacoby Ellsbury inside, there were cookies. I was equally thrilled.
As I entered Morrison House I was greeted immediately by President Hays. She gave me a warm smile, firm handshake, and addressed me by name. “Ashley!” she said, “Welcome to my home.” It was so nice to have such a prestigious and busy individual know my name, and even invite me into her own personal space. It was an experience I had never fully gotten at the large university I attended. And even in the midst of all the antique furniture and stunning décor, Dr. Hays managed to bring some ease and genuineness to the situation. Coming from Maine many of the social situations I have been placed in are with people who you know personally, or, you might know their mother’s sister’s great cousin’s son. Either way, there is typically a sense of connectedness and family at every meeting. Talking with President Hays had a similar feeling; while I had only seen her a few times in the Graduate Admissions office, she seemed to know my story and why I was here at Regis. As we helped ourselves to soup, salad, and sandwiches, we discussed the Nurse Practitioner program and how important this profession is going to be in the future. We discussed the quickly growing array of programs Regis has to offer for students with all degree levels and backgrounds.
As more students came for lunch and conversation, we discussed ideas and suggestions that we could implement as an institution to make the graduate experience better; everyone felt very comfortable bringing up concerns with the President who was also open and receptive of the feedback. If there is one thing that President Hays is passionate about, it is most definitely the wellbeing and happiness of the students. She shared with the group her plans for the coming years on ways to improve and grow Regis into an even more versatile and available institution. All the while keeping the atmosphere light and engaging.
I left Morrison House feeling optimistic about the state of affairs at Regis and thankful that President Hays took time out of her Saturday to share it with all of us. I felt pleased with questions raised and certainly felt that my voice as both a graduate assistant and a student was heard. Events like these take being a student to another level and Regis does a great job of scheduling moments like this. There is another event on March 24th that I hope to attend. There I hope to fill my mind (and my belly!) with all of the wonderful things Regis has to offer. Until next time!