President's Report

2022-2023 Academic Year 


Though the times we live in can often feel gloomy and anxious, I have been encouraging our Donnelly community to live more deeply the virtue of hope and the gift of joy.

For our students, I challenged them to live in hope, which is really asking them to see reality in all its fullness. Every student comes to Donnelly with a story, and that story often involves moments of tremendous struggle. Having persevered through many difficulties and achieving great things as Donnelly students is often a source of hope, not only for themselves, but for their families and communities.

I also asked our faculty and staff to choose joy as they perform their duties at the College. Joy is something that can brighten, buoy and bless the lives of those around us. Like hope, it does not mean that we will not face difficult times. Rather, it helps us approach those difficult times feeling more grounded, for we know storms pass. We also know that, here at Donnelly, there is a community we can lean on.

As Jesus promises us, “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full” (John 15:11).

I am filled with hope and joy when I give thanks for the generous donors and supporters who make the vision and mission of Donnelly possible. Some recent highlights demonstrate the impact of these gifts:

  • In May we celebrated 119 graduates, including six from our program at Lansing Correctional Facility. Seven more students graduated this summer.
  • 82% of our 2022-23 graduates were first-generation college students.
  • We are adding an associate to bachelor’s in nursing bridge program and pursuing national accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing.
  • Our 2023 SHINE event raised $970,000 to support our students and mission.

Donnelly also continues to climb in the U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings:

  • In fall 2023, Donnelly was recognized as the most diverse college in the Midwest for the seventh straight year.
  • Donnelly ranked 3rd in the Midwest in least student debt at graduation.
  • Donnelly ranked 8th in economic diversity and 13th for social mobility of our graduates.
  • We also ranked 19th nationally for most students over age 25.

In all we do, Donnelly students and staff continue to achieve excellence:

  • For 2022, our practical nursing pass rates were again recognized for exceeding the national average.
  • In spring 2023, we hosted a team from the Higher Learning Commission for a comprehensive reaccreditation visit and were unconditionally reaccredited for six years.

Perhaps the best summation of the good work that Donnelly does was made by the visiting HLC team: 

“Donnelly College is succeeding at a difficult challenge: enrolling primarily first-generation, minority and low-income students, offering support for students well beyond the norm, setting tuition low and raising funds to support the budget. Faculty, staff, board members and donors are deeply committed to the mission, which makes the extra effort required possible.”

God continues to bless Donnelly College through you. As St. Paul teaches us, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I say again: Rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all” (Philippians 4:4-5).

We continue to pray at Mass every day for the many friends who have blessed Donnelly College by sharing your resources with us. Because of you, Donnelly students, faculty and staff are seeking truth, building community and pursuing excellence. Thank you for your continued prayers and support!

Msgr. Stuart W. Swetland


Previous President's Reports

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