Dr. Doris Tegart was named interim president in the Spring 2016 semester following the passing of Dr. Joseph McGowan. The Concord will provide information from bi-weekly meetings to keep Bellarmine students informed.

Q: Something new you introduced at Bellarmine last semester was the McGowan Award, a medal for students to give to someone who helped mentor them during their time at Bellarmine. How has that gone so far?

A: I think most people gave it to their parents and rightly so. And I’ve heard a lot of people say, “I wish I had two because I don’t want to hurt my parent’s feelings.” So, I’m thinking maybe we should give two and say, “One we know is for your family and one is for someone else,” you know? I did want Bellarmine people to be awarded, but rightly so, I don’t want them to get them if they don’t deserve it or they don’t feel it.

A staff person, adviser, was handed one and was just overwhelmed because that is, of course, what you’re after. But I know she said she was just overwhelmed. Faculty? Yes. They received them as well and it was interesting, I heard that brand new faculty got them. That’s what I like about it. We have great senior faculty who have been here a long time, but this is non-discriminatory. This is absolutely anybody. Anybody can get it, somebody who importantly mows the lawn to somebody that’s teaching you philosophy can get it, so I think that’s great.

I am rethinking how to do it for the spring, we’re definitely going to do it because we did get a big response that that was really great. And in my opinion too, I tried to think of something to honor Dr. McGowan at graduation and I think he would have liked it. I mean, he was a good mentor to a lot of us and looked out for our futures as well so it just seemed fitting that this would be his legacy.

Q: In the most recent issue of Bellarmine Magazine, there is a letter from a former student that centers on what the student remembers Dr. McGowan by most, his humor. After your time as interim president, and possible time as president of the university, what do you want to be remembered by?

A: I’m hoping for the basic things: that I was fair and maybe something that would stand out is I’m really, really into the inclusion and identity issues on our campus. I gave a little speech to the faculty at the beginning of the year saying, “What is Bellarmine known for and what have we done lately in this area?” We do brag about how Bellarmine was fully engaged in the race issues, but that’s been a while. So, we need to take up this cause and be serious about it and have results.

You know, I told the faulty there are still issues on this campus that I cannot believe that are happening with students. Either we haven’t done our job or we need to do something different to get to students about celebrating differences and so on. So hopefully that would be a great cause, that we guided intelligent growth.

I think Dr. McGowan’s legacy is of course the brick and mortar here, the buildings that he built. So hopefully, he’s the “architect” and I can be the “academic architect” that follows that because what really happens at a university is inside that building. I think that would be a fair enough legacy, and that it was fun, too. We want to carry that legacy on.

Q: Walking around campus, it is clear that focus is being drawn towards the pineapple on Bellarmine’s crest and the hospitality and inclusion that it represents. What does hospitality at Bellarmine look like for you? Where do you think we can grow?

A: I see it as the widest definition possible. It’s not just having tea parties and that kind of thing, it’s inclusion and acceptance. And inclusion in the truest sense, not that we just make the effort, “Oh look, we had a function for so and so or Black Student Union,” it’s that they feel included. It’s inclusion in the truest sense. That we provide a place for everyone to feel that they are a part of what we’re doing. Everybody. I think, anywhere, you can improve on that, and I think we do have students with different backgrounds and different beliefs and parents and grandparents with different beliefs and we need to work on that just like any other university.

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