what does siena mean?

As alumni return to Siena Heights University for Homecoming this weekend of the 17th, students all around campus are preparing for events to showcase their pride in Siena. When people ask what Siena Heights means to them, most people think of the mission statement that says SHU’s mission is to assist people to become more competent, purposeful, and ethical through a teaching and learning environment which respects the dignity of all. While some students may be able to recite this in a heartbeat, other students and faculty have other definitions of what Siena means to them.

Dr. Callie Clare, department of communications, moved to Adrian this fall and is brand new to Siena. She said, “It’s a small school, which is not where I came from, and so I have already had so many opportunities to develop more interesting and meaningful relationships with students who I will see more than just one semester. I like that and because of that I am already starting to feel a great sense of the community and being felt welcome within it. It means… like a family.”

When asked “What does Siena mean to you?” most answers involved the word “family” or “home.” For senior basketball player and psychology major Ra’Shawn Calvert that is what Siena means to her. “Siena is a home away from home, for me. It’s really home, besides my home with my mom and them.., when I’m there I’m saying I’m going back home, which is Siena. Its home for me.”

Sophomore football player Zachary Flack said, “This University really means a lot to me. I was kind of hesitant because of the whole small school aspect, but everyone is really nice here. They treat me with the utmost respect and everybody really treats me like I am a part of their family. It’s great to be a part of a family because you feel loved, you feel like they want you there with them to share in their successes.”

When senior basketball player Sirah Camara was asked her opinion, overwhelmed with emotion she said with a tear in her eye, “I just see it as a huge family, and there’s just tons of opportunities here to grow as a person, spiritually, emotionally, through your religion. I feel like I’ve learned so much within these four years. I’m just so fortunate for that and the people I’ve met, the connections I’ve made…best decision of my life.”

Director of Campus Ministry Father John Grace shared what Siena meant to him. “I appreciate Siena especially in its spiritual roots, because the heart of all human enterprise is the ultimate destiny that draws us. We are created in the image and likeness of God and fulfillment is in God. Everything between those two points is the discovery of God, and how we live our lives to the fullest or the way god intended. So I see the spiritual roots of Siena and I deeply appreciate that.”

Siena Heights is a Catholic university founded and sponsored by Adrian Dominican sisters.

“Another aspect of Siena of which I appreciate because of the catholic tradition is the tradition of faith and reason. That we are all called to strive with the gifts that God has given us. I appreciate Siena because it’s the environment in which students can wrestle with who they are, what they are called to be, and how to be significant in the ways of love and justice, and God’s divine grace,” said Father John.

Athletic trainer Suzanne Harmon said, “I like (Siena) because I think it’s a small community. I feel like it’s a family atmosphere and we have time to really get to know you, the students, and you’re a person not a number.”

“Siena is the place I can call home whether I am 50 miles away or 500,” said 2014 SHU graduate Zak Krug. “I love what the university stand for and the people that remind why I chose Shu to be my temporary home. I miss it!”

Another 2014 graduate Megan Higdon said, “I created friendships that turned into a family that I know I’ll have the rest of my life…SHU is the place to be, and you’ll forever feel welcomed.”


Junior International major Sarah Subject said, “Siena isn’t for everyone, but it’s shaped my life in a positive way. I don’t think I’d ever want to attend college anywhere else. https://www.shuspectra.com/2400/featured-interviews/what-does-siena-mean/ https://www.shuspectra.com/2400/featured-interviews/what-does-siena-mean/ https://www.shuspectra.com/2400/featured-interviews/what-does-siena-mean/To me, SHU is home.”

So whether you’re a current student or an alumni, Siena Heights will always be a place people call home. Homecoming is a great reminder of the friendships Siena students create, and the experiences they will never forget.

Sophomore Lacrosse player and Editor of Spectra Kayla Parks said it simply, “Siena to me is where I have found the most amazing people and where I’m also finding myself.”