Siena Alumni Featured in ACCU Video

Lexi Palma In the Headlines

LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — The Province-sponsored Siena College was one of four institutions of higher education selected by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities to be featured in a special video project called “In Our Own Words.” The video celebrates the unique approach to education taken by Catholic colleges and universities. It also celebrates the accomplishments of their alumni.

“In Our Own Words” profiles recipients of the Young Alumni Award given out by the Association for Student Affairs at Catholic Colleges and Universities, an independent organization that works closely with the ACCU.

In the video, award winners Tom Portuese, class of 2003, and his wife, Bethy Portuese, ‘04, speak about their experiences at Siena College and how receiving a Catholic education has had an impact on their lives.

“The special thing about Catholic education is that it’s not just the academics,” Tom Portuese said. He added that a Catholic education teaches people to use what they have learned to help others, especially those in need.

Siena president Kevin Mullen, OFM, said he was “very pleased” to have Siena graduates included in the video. “Tom and Bethy showed the Franciscan emphasis upon basic Gospel values. These values were not something that remained in their heads — as information — rather, both of these grads lived these values on a daily basis. They manifested basic respect for the dignity of the person in a medical environment as well as a commitment to sustainability reflecting the care for creation. I am impressed that Tom and Bethy set an example that informs and challenges all of us.”

“We are proud of the accomplishments of our alumni, especially Tom and Bethy Portuese,” said Maryellen Gilroy, the college’s vice president for student affairs and chair of the ASACCU Board of Directors. “They are shining examples of the talented, devout, community-focused students we enjoy working with every day at Siena College. It is exciting to see them continue to live out the Catholic teachings and ideals they learned while on campus at Siena.”

Michael Galligan-Stierle, ACCU president and CEO, said the people portrayed in the video, including the Portuese family, prove that at Catholic colleges, students learn about the passion and commitment that complement the knowledge they are gaining. “So much of education is learning and testing and that is what it must be,” Galligan-Stierle said. “What makes us special is that in some subtle ways and in some very overt ways, we set before our students opportunities to embrace the best of what we all are as Catholic colleges and universities.”

According to its website, the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities serves as the collective voice of Catholic higher education in the United States. Siena College remains dedicated to the work and committed to the mission of the ACCU. “It is important for Siena to actively participate in ACCU and ASACCU,” Gilroy said. “It allows us to network within Catholic higher education and to showcase the great work being done here. It also affords Siena the opportunity to work with institutions similar to us in many ways.”

Through programs and services, the association strengthens and promotes the Catholic identity and mission of its member institutions, so they can contribute to the greater good of the world and the Church. The ACCU, founded in 1899, now represents more than 90 percent of the accredited Catholic institutions of higher learning in the United States.

— Lexi Palma, a senior at Siena College, is a student reporter for its communications office. Rebecca Doel contributed to this article.