From the Office of the President:
It is with great pleasure that I introduce you to Saint Joseph’s first Honorary Scholar-in-Residence, Donato Tramuto. Donato has shaped an extraordinarily varied career as an author, social justice activist, corporate leader, and philanthropist. Some of you may remember him as our 2019 Honorary Degree Commencement Speaker.
When Donato was suggested for this brand new role, I was immediately excited at the possibilities. His extraordinary achievements and authentic character align with the 7 core values of Saint Joseph’s College: Community, Compassion, Integrity, Faith, Justice, Respect, and Excellence. His commitment to social justice closely aligns with our goal to expand upon our mission and create an exemplary 21st Century college.
So what will Donato be doing at SJC? He will be focused on three core areas of his work, in collaboration with students, faculty and staff across the College.
Compassionate Leadership. Over the next year and working alongside future leaders here on campus and across the country, Donato will be working to finish his second book, Profiles in Compassionate Leadership, which will highlight a group of men and women of all ages and all economic levels of society who have clearly demonstrated the values of compassion, courage, and community. As someone who has created companies and served as a CEO, Donato views compassionate leadership not as weak leadership but rather the core to how one can successfully influence a community to believe we can be better – and do better.
Loneliness. Partnering with our Institute for Integrative Aging, Donato sees a clear opportunity to build a sustainable platform for lifelong learning that will recognize every single life as relevant regardless of age. IIA will be a pathway for Donato to address what he sees as the new chronic condition of the 21st century: loneliness. It’s a condition that impacts not only the vulnerable populations – like the elderly – but all age groups. From social media to social distancing, the toxic effects of loneliness are not discriminating against anyone.
Social determinants of health. Where we live, what we eat, our financial situation, and many more factors are a greater determinant of our health outcomes than our genetic code. Donato is intent on analyzing how these social determinants, especially in light of the last 6 months, reflect and predict enormous changes taking place within our society. COVID-19 and racial injustice have both had a disproportionate impact on populations that have limited or no access to healthcare and those without economic security. The lingering impact of George Floyd’s murder and others have awakened our consciousness, reminding us all how far we still need to go before we achieve true justice.
This year’s freshman class will get a chance to hear Donato at their Convocation. But I hope all of you find an opportunity to seek him out this year. He is one of the most intensely curious people I’ve had the pleasure to meet, and will likely stop whatever he’s doing to hear your story, what drives you, and what shaped you. Donato has been a fantastic mentor for many young adults. His life story illustrates that disappointments and adversity can be channeled into strength. He can teach us that social change simply starts with doing something good.
As SJC’s first Honorary Scholar-in-Residence, Donato will continue his life’s work advocating to do good and help those most in need. It is my firm belief that Donato’s compassionate leadership will strengthen SJC’s efforts to help heal the fragmented parts of our society, all while capitalizing on the unified spirit of this community.
President Jim Dlugos