Student identity, success at core of Dr. Julia Jordan-Zachery’s teaching


Helping students understand their cultural and racial identities is central to the teaching of Dr. Julia Jordan-Zachery, the recipient of the 2016 Joseph R. Accinno Faculty Teaching Award, Providence College’s top teaching honor.

The award, administered by the Center for Teaching Excellence, is presented annually to the professor who best exhibits excellence in teaching, passion and enthusiasm for learning, and genuine concern for the academic and personal growth of students. Jordan-Zachery was hired to direct PC’s Black Studies Program in 2008. She was a professor of political science until July, when she became professor of public and community service studies.

Her own identity was shaped by her childhood in Barbados. Her father was a civil servant, and her mother was a mental health nurse who helped to establish the country’s first community mental health program.

“I would go with her to see patients in the district,” said Jordan-Zachery. “I got to see people in the range of their capabilities. When they’re well, they’re different than when they need treatment, but regardless, they are the same human being. I was raised to see people and their human potential, regardless, and to suspend judgment.”

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Master storyteller Mike Leonard ’70 creates a centennial film about Providence College


Mike Leonard ’70 & ’00Hon., who spent more than 30 years reporting stories around the world as a correspondent for NBC’s Today show, has focused his camera on Providence College to create a 45-minute film commemorating the College’s first 100 years.

The Promise of Providence, co-produced by Leonard and Mary Kay Wall, who are pictured above, premiered during PC’s Celebration of the Century on Saturday, Oct. 1, during St. Dominic Weekend, an annual event honoring the College’s most generous benefactors. Reviews were promising: the audience of 800 rewarded the film with a standing ovation.

Leonard, who directed and narrated the movie, explained in his introduction that it was not intended to be a “linear history,” but rather a series of stories about lives transformed. The film uses footage from athletic events as a metaphor for all achievement, including academic success, because “there were no cameras in classrooms when spirituality was strengthened or when wisdom was gained,” he said. “I wish we had it, but we don’t.”

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College launches 100th with a flair of tradition, spirit


Providence College began the year-long celebration of its centennial on Wednesday, Aug. 31, with programs that reflected its tradition of academic excellence, its commitment to its Catholic and Dominican tradition, and its sense of fun.

Classes were cancelled for the day to allow students and faculty to participate in all events, which began at 8:30 a.m. with academic panels in the Ruane Center for the Humanities. Professors explored the impact of foreign language studies on a liberal arts education, the growth of psychology as an academic discipline, health care in 1917 Providence, and the impact of World War I on the British empire and race in America.

The Centennial Opening Mass in the Peterson Recreation Center followed at 11 a.m. with the Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, D.D.,bishop of Providence, as the principal celebrant. In his homily, College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. ’80, acknowledged that God’s work in founding the College is not complete, but remains the mission of all who work and study there.

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Friar Foundations Program students inspired to return as mentors

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A new college campus can be an intimidating place. For many students, getting to know resources, academic rigor, student organizations, and campus layout is just as important as choosing which classes to take. 

Two years ago, these were the main concerns of incoming Providence College students Amie Mbye ’18 (Pawtucket, R.I.) and Jarely Paulino Diaz ’18 (Lawrence, Mass). But, after spending five weeks in the Friar Foundations Program (FFP), a summer bridge program intended to ease the transition from high school to college, they were poised to take on the school year.

This year, Mbye and Diaz each made it a priority to give back to the program by becoming resident assistants/mentors (RAMs) to 22 students in this summer’s FFP cohort – all members of the incoming Class of 2020. The program, which is supported by funding from The Angell Foundation and The Salah Foundation, invites accepted PC students who might benefit from a jumpstart to their college careers to campus. They take credit-bearing classes, attend skills-building workshops, participate in field trips, and get to know their fellow students and the campus.

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