BRONXVILLE, NY — March 9, 2021 — Organized by President John Nunes of Concordia College, all of the Trustees and I had a very productive introductory visit with President Seamus Carey of Iona College.
The goal of Village government is to be a working partner with both colleges so that we reach optimal results for everyone involved as we welcome the new institution into our community. To a person, we found President Carey to be a warm, authentic, caring individual who has a great grasp of the area as well as the concerns and visions of the Bronxville community.
In an effort to give you the same opportunity to meet him, I thought I would share what we learned about his background, his mission and his vision for Iona College in Bronxville.
Dr. Carey grew up in the Woodlawn section of The Bronx and graduated from Vassar College with a degree in Economics. He then studied philosophy at the University College Dublin before earning an MA and PhD in philosophy at Fordham University. Following graduation, he taught philosophy at both Fordham University and Manhattan College. Prior to coming to Iona, he spent five years in Lexington, Kentucky as the President of Transylvania University, the 16th oldest college in the nation chartered by Thomas Jefferson when he was Governor of Virginia.
Seamus and his wife have been longtime residents of nearby Pelham Manor and have close friends who live in the Village. All three of his children attended the Early Childhood Center at Sarah Lawrence College.
Seamus was drawn to Iona by the mission of its founders, the Irish Christian Brothers, who see education as a means of empowerment, especially for those who might not have as much support as established families who are familiar with the college experience. As the son of immigrants and a first generation student, he has a deep appreciation for the transformative power of education for both the individual and society. Iona has a truly enviable reputation for elevating and directing students to successful careers as evidenced by the accomplishment of so many of their well-known alumni.
It is important to note that while Concordia and Iona have an incredibly productive working relationship, the result is not the merging of schools. Iona is acquiring the real estate that housed Concordia College. The hope is to close on the asset acquisition this summer. Until then, Iona is actively exploring and analyzing all operations on the campus to determine what is feasible and the steps they will need to take to implement the programs they plan to pursue.
This analysis is only just beginning as over the past year the number one priority of the conversations with Concordia has been about the students’ well-being and Iona is very proud that it has worked hard to make the transition for Concordia students to Iona as seamless as possible. To that end, the Iona staff is providing personalized attention to each Concordia student to work through their curriculum, financial aid and living arrangements.
President Carey said the overarching vision for Iona is to expand their offerings in the health sciences. In addition, Iona fields 21 varsity sports and has almost 400 student athletes and as a consequence, one of the major incentives for acquiring the property is to provide additional space for Iona athletic teams to practice and compete. Iona also plans to expand their offerings in the performing arts and the Bronxville campus provides ideal space for growth. When we asked President Carey, “Why Bronxville?” he said the location clearly is a major attraction as we are a well-established community with a beautiful campus and many involved and accomplished residents.
President Carey has put a great emphasis on engaging with our community as Iona develops curricular and co-curricular offerings that will range from academics to athletics to performing arts. This vision incorporates one of the defining aspects of an Iona education – to engage the students “to learn outside the lines” extending their education far beyond classrooms and textbooks.
Many of their current courses have partnerships with local businesses and municipalities to provide strategy and support to help solve challenges and generate new ideas.
Another new initiative at Iona that perfectly dove tails with Bronxville is the development of a state of the art mentoring program. Given the abilities of Bronxville residents in all fields of endeavors, the mentoring opportunities seem boundless and will provide Iona students with needed real world experience.
As I was wrapping up my narrative from the conversation with President Carey, I reached out to Seamus to see if he would like to send a direct message to the people in our community who are here to welcome him. The following is his statement:
“As a longtime resident of lower Westchester, I have visited many Bronxville establishments and I am familiar with the Village. I recognize the role that a college plays within the community and I am delighted we will be able to preserve the campus’ purpose, buildings, and architecture and continue to use it as an environment for learning and student life. I am excited to be able to share what Iona College does as an educational institution with the Bronxville community.
There are many accomplished residents in Bronxville who have never shied from reaching out to assist others – to give them a hand up – so they can find their own paths to success. In this way, I see Iona and Bronxville sharing some fundamental human values. By keeping these values in focus and working together, we can help each other be better and give a lift to those who are in a position to take advantage of the transforming power of education. I look forward to meeting and working with the residents of Bronxville.”
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Mary C. Marvin is the mayor of the Village of Bronxville, New York. Share your thoughts by directing email to firstname.lastname@example.org
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SOURCE: Mary Ann Maglioto | Assistant to the Mayor & Village Administrator | Bronxville Village Hall