The University of Dallas officially ushered its 10th president, philosophy professor Dr. Jonathan Sanford, into office on Oct. 1. Though Sanford took responsibility for the role in March, he was inducted as president during the Inaugural Mass.
According to Ben Simansky, Student Foundations executive board community outreach officer, the general theme of the inauguration was the university’s revitalization. “It’s a new chapter for UD — I think the future’s very bright, and we’re finally going to have some steady leadership,” he said.
“We finally settled on somebody that has great hope and great promise. He’s even said it himself: he’s here to stay,” Simansky said.
Concerning the recent events, Gillian Jones, a senior drama major at the University of Dallas, said, “I feel good with Dr. Sanford being the president now — there’s a familiarity since, before that, he was the provost, and we got emails from his office every week.”
“It’s been a long time since the university has been trying to find where we’re going to go next; it’s been a little jarring, but we’ve gotten to a good place,” Jones said. “I think President Sanford is very involved with speaking with [the students] — he’s accessible and present.”
The weekend’s events began with an inaugural gala dinner, held at the Renaissance Hotel on Thursday, Sept. 30. Several addresses were given; two of the most notable ones presented were by Andrew von Weber-Hahnsberg, the vice president of Student Government, and Sanford. The UD Chorale and a live student quartet also made appearances.
At 5 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, the Bishop of Dallas and Chancellor of UD, the Most Reverend Edward J. Burns, celebrated the Inaugural Mass, as well as the Memorial of St. Thérèse of Lisieux.
During the Liturgy, Sanford gave his official Proclamation of Faith and Oath of Fidelity before the congregation, as a demonstration of the university’s roots in Jesus Christ. He was also presented with the Presidential Medallion, the manifest symbol of his office.
After the Mass, there was an Italian-themed reception for faculty, staff, family, friends and other esteemed guests.
Saturday was a time to relax, destress and enjoy certain unique events, such as the 5k Toga Trot, which was run by Sanford and his wife, as well as the block party on the Mall. Students lined up to get a taste of Yummy Pizza’s gyros, while others watched the different performances put on by clubs.
The music department’s cello trio commenced the day’s performances. Demonstrations of long sword 10-point matches, using various Italian and German guards, were presented by the Fencing Club.
The K-Pop Dance Team and the Irish Dance Club created a light-hearted atmosphere with dance, first with a hip-hop interpretation of “Permission to Dance” by BTS, followed by an interactive lesson in dancing to the reel by the name of “Walls of Limerick.”
Lastly, the members of the drama department gave the audience members a sneak peek into the upcoming hilarity of a Western-themed “The Comedy of Errors” by William Shakespeare.
At the end of the evening, a special cocktail reception was held in Haggar, with students and faculty in attendance. With a champagne flute in hand, President Sanford made a toast to “friendship … [student] endeavors to do great and glorious things for the greater glory of God … and the great and glorious University of Dallas.”