Honoring the Past, Looking Toward the Future
February 2, 2023
Former students, past presidents, family, and friends gathered underneath the soaring wood-carved ceilings of Sacred Heart Chapel in St. Martin, Ohio, on Sunday, January 29, to honor the people and Ursuline legacy that sustained Chatfield College for 51 years. That same legacy now serves as the guiding star for the new education attainment nonprofit, The Chatfield Edge.
Rooted in the vision of St. Angela Merici, founder of the Ursulines, the first teaching order of women, the legacy is simple: Every person matters, and each person has something to offer.
“Every person matters, and each person has something to offer.” – St. Angela Merici
Sister Ellen Doyle, the longest-serving President of Chatfield College (1986-1997), reflected on the three unique ways she believes Chatfield has convinced people they matter – by building their confidence in themselves through kinship, beauty, and courage.
Chatfield College was small enough that there was a true kinship between the students and faculty. The teachers knew the students’ stories and their families. Chatfield College’s gorgeous campuses and commitment to arts education helped students find beauty in themselves. Art was always a required class at Chatfield. And finally, attending Chatfield College was a giant leap of faith for many of its students. It takes tremendous courage to take that first step out of your comfort zone and try something different. As the students put one foot in front of the other to attend classes and reach the graduation stage, they recognized their worth.
The theme continued through speaker after speaker, former alum, and past presidents. What set Chatfield College apart was its ability to instill confidence in its students through caring, helping them see themselves as bright and capable students, and allowing them to dream big dreams.
“If, according to times and circumstances, the need arises to make new rules or do something differently, do it prudently and with good advice.” – St. Angela Merici
The second part of the service focused on how The Chatfield Edge will continue to build confidence in the new students it will serve – no longer through classroom teaching but through educational support services.
The Chatfield Edge’s model is built on four pillars of student support: educational support, scholarships, mentoring, and faith.
“I was a first-generation student myself and had to figure it out on my own,” said Robert Elmore, former Chatfield College President (2000 – 2023).
The Chatfield Edge’s purpose is to ensure students never have to walk alone. Instead, we walk alongside students every step of the way. We help them figure out what interests them, find a school or program of study they want to pursue, and assist them through the application and financial aid process. Finally, we stay with them throughout their educational journey, providing mentors who meet with them regularly, listen to them, and care. That’s precisely what we did at Chatfield College, and it worked.
“Working with my mentor allowed me to keep focusing on my schoolwork and deal with issues when they came up. I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish what I did without them,” said former Chatfield College graduate Angela.
Keeley, also a former Chatfield College student, is now attending Northern Kentucky University. She plans to earn her Bachelor’s in archeology by the winter of 2024 and then go on for her master’s. Keeley is a current Chatfield Scholar and summed up what Chatfield support has meant to her.
“They all knew the entire time I was capable. They helped me see my self-worth.”
Special thanks to the Ohio Arts Council and the Lulu O. Craig Fine Arts Fund for providing support for the ceremony.