Reconnecting and Embracing the Spirit of Summer

Dear Hill-Murray Community,

It’s been a great June, and I’ve enjoyed seeing many of you at a variety of events. From the Alumni Awards to the Party on the Plaza, and we are already heading into the 4th of July. Although most of the faculty gets much-needed time off, the work does not stop over the summer as we prepare for the return of our students and faculty in August.  

Alumni Events: On Monday, June 12th, we gathered to honor the 2023 Distinguished Alumni & Community Award recipients. Listening to the six individuals speak, I was so touched by Hill, Archbishop Murray, and Hill-Murray’s impact on each of their lives. Each alum shared their unique perspective, yet the commonality was that Hill-Murray provided inspiration, support, a spark, or a starting point for their journey. Take a listen to their speeches, and it’s hard not to be inspired.

We also celebrated with many of our alums at the Party on the Plaza last Thursday. Over 25 classic cars were on display for the car show, which featured the cars of alums and other members of the Hill-Murray community. The picture below shows six of our alums from the Hill High School, Class of 1962. I talked to a few alums that night who had not been on campus since graduation and some younger ones who killed it on the pickleball court in the tournament!

Hill Class of 1962 with Melissa Dan

Benedictine Festival: We celebrated 75 years with St. Paul’s Monastery last Saturday! The rain held out, and it’s incredible to see what this group of women has accomplished on this corner of the east side of Saint Paul over the last 75 years. I brought my mom along, and we enjoyed ice cream from Nelson’s in Stillwater. We didn’t get a chance to make it to the Bingo tent, but we got to thank all of our first responders! I had a great conversation with Maplewood Mayor Marylee Abrams (pictured below on right), and I was impressed by her deep appreciation for the sisters’ presence and commitment to the City of Maplewood. She read a beautiful proclamation in their honor and even got a little teary as she reflected on their selfless dedication.

Have a wonderful 4th of July weekend! ​​As we approach the 4th, I cannot help but be thankful for the gift of time and family.  My son, Aiden, a Hill-Murray alum, is in the Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps with Northwestern University and has spent the past four weeks in the Taiwan Straits on the USS Rafael Peralta. I said a lot of prayers for him while he was away. I am so proud of him and his commitment to preserving the values and freedoms we hold dear in the United States. Now that he’s home, we look forward to spending time with family over the 4th of July. I know the weather has been rough, especially with the air-quality alerts, but nothing compares to the joy and beauty of spending time with family and friends during the slower pace of summer. 

Aiden Dan ’21 – Naval Reserve Officer Training Corps

​​​​​I’m headed to Lewis University in Chicago next week with Aaron Benner for our Lasallian Leadership Institute, followed by my annual silent retreat. I have found that time in solitude, silence, and nature is a spiritual discipline that helps give me the perspective I need as a leader.

Have a wonderful 4th!

Melissa Dan, President

Note: If you have questions or concerns about the President’s Perspective, please reply to