News & Features

Just a Touch of History

First Look: Students Alicia Lee (left) and Andrea Bailey scroll through the options available on Fontbonne’s new heritage and history video touch screen.

From the Spring 2010 issue of the Link, the official alumni newsletter of Fontbonne University.

When Mary Beth Gallagher, assistant to the president for mission integration, joined Fontbonne University one year ago, she immediately began implementing programs to help faculty, staff, students and alumni better understand and relate to Fontbonne’s mission, history and founders, the Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet.

In February, Gallagher unveiled her latest project: a large-scale video touch-screen that explores the heritage of Fontbonne through the eyes of the Sisters of St. Joseph. Located in the main foyer of the East Building, the full-color 40-inch screen stands ready to dispense information to curious minds. The project was sponsored in part by an anonymous donor and the Fontbonne Community Connection, a women’s giving circle composed of alumnae and friends of the university.

“I knew I wanted something that was pretty high-tech to engage students, prospective students and younger viewers in general,” said Gallagher. “And I knew I wanted the design to have some gravitas, some beauty, some sense of the dignity of our history with the Sisters. The software designers created a look and operation that seemed like a perfect blend of old and new to me.”

The kiosk welcomes visitors and encourages them to immediately interact, simply with the

touch of a finger. They can choose to explore four different categories: partnership, service, academic excellence or “our stories.” Each category contains videos of eight Sisters, all with significant relationships with the university, who discuss their memories of and connections to Fontbonne. Viewers can also choose to browse through photos, past and present, of campus life.

“I hope that older alums will enjoy seeing their old faculty and classmates in the photos,” Gallagher said. “I hope that current faculty, staff and students will see our history as one — we carry the torch that the CSJs lit a long time ago. I hope that the Sisters of St. Joseph smile at the stories of their work of the past and have confidence that we are honored to carry on in their places, seeking academic excellence, service and partnership with their charism.”