Official Newsletter of the Salem Rotary Club

This week at Rotary...

Salem State University
Former Salem Rotarian John Keenan, President of Salem State University (SSU), was happy to be back among friends at Salem Rotary this week. He provided an update on what has been taking place at SSU over the past year and the university’s plans to build better opportunities for its students, of which more than 60 percent live within a 100-mile radius.
President Keenan started with an update about how the university addressed the COVID-19 pandemic on campus. Unlike many colleges, SSU kept cases relatively low. They de-densified campus this year and implemented health and safety protocols along with a robust testing plan for students, faculty and staff that continues to this day. SSU was one of the only campuses in its system to offer qualified students and employees vaccines. They are also working with the city to move the regional vaccine site to their hockey arena to accommodate more North Shore residents who are interested in getting vaccinated. SSU is planning to return to a “nearly normal” on-campus experience this fall with the majority of courses taking place in person and approximately 1,300 students living in on-campus housing. Health and safety protocols will remain in place as necessary.
President Kennan acknowledged that the pandemic was not the only crisis we faced in this country last year as the impacts of systemic racism have also been at the forefront. He is happy to know that our Club is considering how we can be more diverse and inclusive. Salem State has made strides in creating a more inclusive campus community in large part to student activism on campus. There is still a long way to go, but the university is committed to addressing systemic racism on campus and in our community.
While there were challenges this past year, SSU still saw many successes. They received the prestigious Carnegie Community Engagement Classification, which indicates their significant commitment to community and civic engagement. Their Bertolon School of Business was accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, an international distinction enjoyed by only five percent of business schools worldwide. SSU is the only one of the nine state universities in Massachusetts to achieve this recognition. Additionally, SSU received the largest cash gift in Massachusetts state university history; a $6 million gift from alumna Kim Gassett-Schiller and her husband, Philip Schiller.
While he is extraordinarily proud of SSU’s successes, President Keenan shared that the pandemic exacerbated financial challenges the university already faced with the shifts in the higher education landscape over the past decade. Even before COVID-19 emerged, SSU experienced enrollment declines that created a structural deficit for the institution, as compensation costs have not declined at the same rate as enrollment. To help address their challenges, a 34-member task force of faculty, staff, administrators and students made suggestions for closing the structural deficit last year. President Keenan, with his senior leadership team, built on these suggestions and crafted the Vision for A Sustainable Future.
This Vision aims to realign student services, resources, and academic offerings to meet student needs and demands while stabilizing enrollment and by investing in academic growth areas and areas that generate revenue. The Vision introduces the Viking Success Collaborative, which will function as a network of student resources designed to streamline the student experience and remove barriers that have historically stood in the way of student success, including the closure of opportunity gaps for its diverse student body. Additionally, the university will explore opportunities to enhance its academic programs, which could include combining majors to create new programs designed to increase student interest. President Keenan emphasized that as a comprehensive public university, SSU will always offer liberal arts programs to educate the whole student. The Vision also includes investments in staff in revenue generating areas such as admissions, marketing, and institutional advancement.
President Keenan closed by noting that his job is to ensure students are able to achieve the brighter future they envision when they arrive on campus and to position the university for strength long after his tenure. The Vision for a Sustainable Future is designed to help achieve these goals by aligning university resources with students’ needs and interests.


Sandra Wedgewood of Beverly
Sold by Tim Clarke

VisIting Rotarians & Guests

AG Alexander Falk


Jen gave an update on the Spring Break Series. Today is the last day to register for the first event, but you can still by raffle tickets through Thursday. Participants will automatically be entered to win raffle prizes throughout the evening but can purchase more chances to win for either $20 each or $100 for six. Adria noted that the Hawthorne Hotel is not charging the club gratuity for this event, but staff will be assisting. Our friendly waitstaff at the hotel has been struggling throughout COVID. If you are picking up dinner, please consider bringing some cash with you for a tip. Your generosity would be greatly appreciated!
You will still be able to register for the remaining two events after today. Don’t miss this fellowship, fundraising, and fun! Sponsorships are also available. Visit our website for more information.

Why I am A SALEM Rotarian

Leslie Levesque could not think of just one reason why she is a Rotarian, so she shared five! The first is the sense of community our Club provides and the relationships and connections she has been able to make personally and in business through our meetings and activities. The second is the fact that we belong to an international organization that brings awareness to global issues. With a large number of Rotary Clubs internationally, she feels that there is a level of diversity in the organization that brings different perspectives from all over the world, which can help inspire us to diversify our Club as well. Third, and most importantly to Leslie, is the gift and honor she feels in passing on the flavor of Rotary to her students at the Phoenix School. Education is her passion and sharing local projects with her students and involving them in the EarlyAct Club gives them a commitment to service and community and a global awareness that challenges them to identify and address global concerns. Fourth is the fun, fellowship and shenanigans we have as a group. Lastly, Leslie noted that belonging to an organization that brings people together to make the world a better place is the fifth reason she joined and remains a Rotarian. This has been a highly rewarding experience for her.

RotarIAN NEWS...

  • There were several Rotarian birthdays last week, and three Rotarians were with us this week to let us know how they celebrated. Mike McLaughlin went to the 1640 Hart House in Ipswich and ate in the bride's room. Gerrit Bradley had a nice meal at home with his family, and his daughter gave him a gift of the ingredients she will use to bake him a cake in the near future. Suzanne O'Brien also celebrated with her family, which was an improvement over last year.
  • Jason Consalvo will miss the Rotary fun on Friday to celebrate his and Kerri’s ten-year wedding anniversary.
  • Rinus Oosthoek shared that Teacher Appreciation Week is coming up and there is an effort to collect discounts and promotions to thank teachers in Salem. See more details in the announcement section on how you can participate.
  • Bruce Whear is getting his second vaccine this afternoon, and it turns out most in the Club attending today have been vaccinated.
  • Claire Kallelis made a call for the next LifeBridge dinner and asked for volunteers to email her. See more details in the announcement section below. She also shared some good news on the COVID front that more restrictions are being lifted by the state, assuming we all stay diligent.
  • Kristen Armstrong shared that her family adopted another pooch who took a tour of Jefferson Ave on his own. She also made it down to the Willows and back on her motorcycle in one piece. Jason offered some motorcycling advice to assist with her aches and pains.
  • Mark Shaw noted he got his second hole in one in golf on the two-year anniversary of his first hole in one.
  • Gerrit Bradley gave a bird report, stating that he saw a flicker, which is a type of woodpecker. Liz Bradt added that she heard some barred owls conversing away in Hamilton.

Club Announcements

Teacher Appreciation Week
May 3 through 7
Destination Salem is collaborating with the Salem Chamber of Commerce and Salem Main Streets to compile a list of promotions offered by downtown businesses that will recognize the work teachers do every year, and especially this year. If you would like to offer a promotion that recognizes teachers and shares some gratitude or if you have any questions, please contact Brittany DiCologero at Destination Salem. The deadline to submit promotions is 4:30 PM on Thursday, April 29.
Senior Fiesta Drive-Thru
Wednesday, May 5
In lieu of the Senior Prom Event with the Council on Aging, the Club will be sponsoring a Fiesta Drive-Thru event for seniors on Cinco de Mayo. Volunteers will be needed to handout pre-packaged lunches to seniors at the Community Life Center on May 5 at 11 AM. Please contact Patty Pace if you are able to assist.
Lifebridge Dinner Wednesday, March 10
Thank you to the volunteers who worked with Claire and Kristen to prepare a delicious lasagna dinner for Lifebridge for this past Wednesday! The next dinner for Lifebridge is scheduled for Wednesday, March 10. Again, a recipe will be provide to volunteers so the meal will be consistent, and volunteers will make a portion of the dinner in their home kitchens. Please contact Kristen Armstrong or Claire Kallelis if you would like to volunteer in March or in the future.
Upcoming Speakers
Apr 27, 2021
President, Salem State University
May 04, 2021
May 11, 2021
President and CEO, North Shore Chamber of Commerce
View entire list
Member Birthdays
Viktoria Talebian
April 14
Richard Moore
April 17
Michael McLaughlin
April 19
Gerrit Bradley
April 21
Sue O'Brien
April 22
Board of Directors
President Elect
Vice President
Immediate Past President
Public Image Chair
Russell Hampton
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Club Information
Tuesdays at 12:15 PM
Hawthorne Hotel
18 Washington Square
Salem, MA 01970
United States of America
We are currently meeting via Zoom due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We look forward to returning to the Hawthorne Hotel soon! In the meantime, please email for our Zoom link.
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102-2060 Winston Park Drive, Oakville, ON, L6H 5R7