By: Melanie Roberts

The University of Saint Mary welcomed 60 new faculty and staff members with a Mission Orientation Luncheon. The Luncheon was held in the Stadium Corner of the Keleher Learning Center on Wednesday, September 4th where new faces grabbed a sack lunch and gathered to listen to President, Sister Diane Steele speak about the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and how the University of Saint Mary got its beginnings.

Sister Diane believes it is important for each faculty and staff member to understand the history behind both Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth and the development of the University of Saint Mary. The Sisters of Charity came to Leavenworth, Kansas in 1858 primarily focusing on education and human health. The following year, they created a private liberal arts university for women and later became a co-ed four-year institute.

Along with Sister Diane discussing the history, she shared her story of becoming a sister and the importance of every relationship, but ultimately “God is the glue of our relationships.” Expressing to faculty and staff members that “God loves them, God loves everyone.” Each relationship formed here at USM is created from the foundation of God.

Faculty and Staff members engage in conversations with Sister Diane. The exchanges of laughs and questions distributed around the Learning Commons as new learnings created unity and courage to share their expressions.

Kyle Dougherty, the Student Engagement and Leadership Development Coordinator, shares his thoughts on the importance of the luncheons. “You could look at these new staff luncheons as another thing you have to attend, or better yet, you can dive into what they are all about and what it means to be a Saint Marian and a part of this community. These sessions are an authentic look and conversation of what it means to be a part of something bigger than yourself. Saint Mary is the platform for learning that about ourselves and sharing it with our students to help them reach their God-given potential while instilling our four core values of community, respect, justice, and excellence.”

The luncheon allows new faculty and staff to gain familiarity with the diverse backgrounds that unites everyone at the university together. Meeting every other Wednesday throughout the fall semester, the luncheons hope to create a cohesion of the tradition, mission, and values at the University of Saint Mary.

To learn more about the University of Saint Mary tradition, mission, and values, visit the university’s website,

Melanie Roberts is a senior at the University of Saint Mary and majoring in Digital Communications.