Siena Alumnus Receives Francis Medal

Jocelyn Thomas Around the Province


LOUDONVILLE, N.Y. — Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, honored a Siena College staff member earlier this month with the HNP Francis Medal. Kevin recognized Jack Sise, ‘75, at a Mass celebrated on Aug. 4 at the college’s grotto.

Sise spearheaded the creation of the grotto, located on Turchi Road behind the Fr. Benjamin Kuhn, OFM, House. Dedicated in the fall of 2014, the grotto is a place of prayer and devotion that has been well received by the Siena community.

“We picked a beautiful site and created something very, very, special,” said Sise in October 2014 at the opening of the grotto. “We don’t want this to be a secret. It is intended for everyone.”

“Jack clearly has the values and ideals of Francis,” said Kevin, who served as Siena’s president from 2007 to 2014. “Jack has great devotion to Mary.”

The grotto at Siena College includes a statue of Mary from the original Siena grotto that was dedicated in 1947 in remembrance of veterans and those who had fallen in World War II, including 36 Siena men who made the ultimate sacrifice. Statues of St. Francis and St. Clare of Assisi and St. Bernardine of Siena are also included in the new grotto’s design.

Sise joined the Siena staff in July 2001 as director of gift planning and retired this summer. He worked with alumni and friends of Siena who wanted to support the mission of the college by endowing a scholarship, academic initiative or athletic program in perpetuity.

Before joining Siena’s Development Office, Sise was a practicing attorney in the Capital Region. He is one of 10 children — six of his brothers are Siena graduates.

“Siena is in our DNA,” said Sise, adding that his wife, Mary, is a member of the class of 1974, the first Siena class with female graduates.

“Jack Sise is a bridge builder,” said David Smith, ’79, Siena’s vice president for development and external affairs. “During his time at Siena, he facilitated greater interaction and stewardship across all our constituent groups: alumni, faculty, administrators and friends of the college. He has cultivated many positive relationships to help make Siena a better, stronger place, and to help us fulfill the Franciscan mission that is the basis for all we do here.”

In the summer 2016 issue of Siena magazine, Sise said he was “in awe of the many donors who have made a planned gift to endow a scholarship, an academic initiative or an athletic program which will benefit generations of students, many of whom these donors will never have the opportunity to meet. The feeling among donors who are alumni of Siena is they are ‘paying it forward’ as those who came before had done for them.”

The Holy Name Province Francis Medal was established in 1998 by then Provincial Minister John Felice, OFM. Recipients are people who display an uncommon contribution to the advancement of the ideals and values of St. Francis. Over the past few months, the medal has been presented to parishioners in Tampa, Fla., Triangle, Va., and St. Camillus Parish in Silver Spring, Md., as well as to an architect in New York City.

— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province

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