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Educating the Next Generation of Global Citizens

Letter to Alumni and Friends

President Michael B. Alexander

Dear Lasell Alumni and Friends:
As we celebrate breaking new ground for Lasell's bricks-and-mortar future, we are also breaking new ground for Lasell's future as an inclusive, welcoming community.

In recent years, institutions nationwide have been dealing with issues of diversity, inclusion and equity on campus and in classrooms. As have we.

In fact, the Lasell community has become much more diverse over the past 10 years. With nearly 3,000 people from different backgrounds living and working in close quarters on our small campus, it is important that everyone is free to express themselves in a respectful way. The shared goal is a warm and caring environment in which all people can teach, learn and work together to the best of their abilities.

In April 2014, and again twice in December 2015, we held well-attended community-wide Town Meetings to bring issues of diversity into open discussion, to reflect on the kind of tolerant community we aspire to be, and to determine action steps we can take toward that end. Out of those collective experiences have come many important developments:

• The hiring of Jennifer OKeeffe as Director of Legal Affairs and Title IX Coordinator; and a related classroom program around sexual violence on campus with a creative connection to curriculum
• The restructuring of the Donahue Institute to focus on Ethics, Diversity and Inclusion
• The hiring of Associate Professor Jesse Tauriac as its Director
• Sponsoring numerous multicultural events on campus
• Having the Senior Management Team and faculty participate in diversity and inclusion workshops led by a professional facilitator
• Sending several dozen students in 2014 and 2015 to the Diversity Challenge Conference at Boston College's Institute for the Study and Promotion of Race and Culture
• Lasell's joining the Leading for Change in Higher Education Diversity Consortium
• Recently adopting a new procurement policy that gives preference to electronics companies that minimize the use of conflict minerals from the eastern Democratic Republic of Congo

These initiatives are especially welcome and timely in this contentious political season that appears to demonize rather than celebrate "differences" Among people. Knowing that systemic change requires time, patience and endurance, I expect these important discussions and activities will continue for the foreseeable future.

As we prepare for our 162nd Commencement, I am encouraged that we are building the kind of community we all want at Lasell by working together to nurture an atmosphere of open discourse and mutual respect. I hope you see how your generosity and commitment to the College contribute directly to the education of the next generation of global citizens.

Lasell's primary calling remains as it always has been: Inspiring hearts and minds, and changing lives every day, through the power of innovative education. Thank you for your support, and for being such a valued member of our growing Lasell family.

Michael B. Alexander


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