Story by Zachary Avery, Editor-in-Chief
Aquinas College welcomed its ninth and first female president, Dr. Alicia Córdoba, this fall semester, and the AQ community was able to celebrate her new role at the college during her official inauguration on Friday, October 7 in the Sturrus Fitness Center. Folks are excited to help usher in this new era of the college’s history, but perhaps none so much as Córdoba herself.
“This place lives and breathes the Dominican values, the pillars,” Córdoba said. “They’re not just said, they’re actually really lived here.”
Recently serving as the director of the Center for Catholic Studies at St. Mary’s University in San Antonio, Córdoba single-handedly brought St. Mary’s into the international sphere. Now at Aquinas, Córdoba is confident she can do something similar; improve students lives in the classroom, on-campus, and all around Grand Rapids. And within only a few short years.
“There are ways of upgrading and updating what exists, but then pushing it to its next level,” Córdoba said. “Familiar, but it’s cutting-edge. That’s how I see the campus.”
Córdoba’s first step in revitalizing the campus culture is to revitalize our campus facilities, staring with renovations of both the entry lobby of the Academic Building and the Wege Center as a whole. Opting for more social, outdoor spaces between these two will hopefully cultivate an academic atmosphere that feels both personal and professional.
“[Wege] is a great building, but wouldn’t it be cool to kind of blow it up from the inside a little bit and make all these new things possible,” Córdoba said. “And to make it fun to study and learn, and to just really push how your brain thinks.”
Emphasizing campus life, Córdoba also hopes to construct an on-campus pub for students and staff alike, possibly even converting Brink Hall (a once thriving winery) into the next evening pitstop for drinking-age Aquinas Saints. What makes this plan remarkably different is that AQ students would be responsible for the design, management and service of the pub, offering hands-on experience in both business and community leadership.
“One of the best ways to improve the student experience is to have a pub, to have a place where community is built,” Córdoba said. “We have classes that do this, but often use a book with case studies in it. So, why don’t we have us as the case study?”
Good luck, President Córdoba! Good luck, future Saints! We can see that the future of Aquinas is bright, and perhaps we all are due for some big changes around here.