By Margaret Liendo
It is always difficult to say goodbye, but sometimes it is only best. As the year comes to a close, St. Joseph’s College will have to say farewell to two staff members who have truly made a difference over the past few years.
Christopher Frost, Ph.D., Senior Vice President and Vice President for Academic Affairs, has decided to become the next Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Texas. Pat Tracy, director of the Office of Campus Ministry, has decided that it is time to retire.
Words cannot express how bittersweet it is to have such two amazing faculty members move on in their life, but we hope that they will be blessed and bring the same joy they have brought to this campus anywhere they go.
Dr. Frost and Mr. Tracy were kind enough to provide some insight into their future and reminisce about their time at St. Joe’s.
The Talon: Is there anything you would do differently looking back on your time spent at St. Joseph’s College?
Dr. Frost: Within the circumstances (and financial challenges) that I encountered at SJC, no, I think we’ve worked within and beyond those constraints very capably. Now, had more financial resources been available, I would have ensured even more support for study abroad. Given the importance of an international perspective, I think a minimum of 30 percent of SJC students should study abroad, and I was unable to accomplish that.
Mr. Tracy: I probably would have gotten rid of my two vehicles, taken a large loan and bought a passenger van. More ready access to a van would be a great asset to our community service, outreach and campus ministry.
The Talon: How has your experience at St. Joseph’s College influenced your career?
Dr. Frost: In moving from large, public institutions where I was intricately involved in honors college programs, SJC has given me the opportunity to try to test my belief that we should offer an “honors caliber experience” to all of our students.
The Talon: What are your plans for retirement?
Mr. Tracy: It’s kind of like the movie “Lilies of the Field,” I plan to stay active in service and outreach. There is a convent down in Rockaway where 20 Sisters of St. Joseph have assisted living and it needs to be painted and repaired. At first it was a couple of hours and small repairs, and then monthly and now weekly. It looks like a real mission going forward! Any painting volunteers are welcome. I’ll be moving to Rockaway and I have a beautiful girlfriend who happens to live near there! I also hope to take part in activities or events on campus. I have been blessed to partner with so many people at SJC. I hope they will invite me to help out.
The Talon: Do you have any advice for the new director of campus ministry?
Mr. Tracy: I hope she or he is as lucky as I was, and that they can be a conduit of partners in service to the great diverse population, neighbors and community we enjoy here at SJC! Keep your sense of humor, faith and enjoy passionately your path forward (and schedule time off)!
The Talon: Any other comments you would like to add?
Dr. Frost: Just a warm “farewell” to the wonderful students of St. Joseph’s College! Although I got to know best those students who joined my Oxford study abroad programs, I enjoyed my interactions with the many students who took the time to at least “say hello.” I guess the best sign off for “Dean Frosty:” “Let’s be careful out there.”
Mr. Tracy: It has been a great experience and an honor to work with everyone I’ve had the pleasure of meeting! You will all remain in my thoughts and prayers!
Both staff members have been an inspiration to all and, in many cases, a mentor that allowed students to achieve their full potential, whether it be through volunteering or taking part in amazing academic programs.
We wish Dr. Frost and Mr. Tracy much luck in their future endeavors, and hope that they continue to do the good work they are known for!