First Annual Christmas Tree Lighting


Albertus is a College that is steeped in tradition. From the Candlelight Ceremony as an incoming freshman to commencement after years of hard work have paid off, there are many things to look forward to over the course of a student’s time at the College. Alumni often look back on their college days with fondness because they formed life-long bonds with one another; a family was created among classmates. This year, the Albertus family is adding a new tradition, the first annual Christmas Tree Lighting.

The Student Alumni Association (SAA) is a group of traditional undergraduate students who work to connect students, past, present and future, to preserve the College’s traditions and begin new ones. They are sponsoring this first annual tree lighting for the entire College community to herald in the Christmas season together as a family so we can experience the joy the holiday season has to offer, together.

The first annual Christmas Tree Lighting will take place on Wednesday, December 4 at 4:15 p.m. on the front lawn of Aquinas Hall. A blessing and dedication of the tree in memory of Kevin Panagrossi, former Assistant Director of Enrollment and Administrative Services for the School of Evening and Graduate Programs (now Division of Professional and Graduate Studies) will begin at 4:30 p.m.

Many student groups and offices around campus are participating in the event including:

  • Candy Canes sponsored by Breakwater
  • Carols sung by the Albertus Choir
  • Christmas Card Making for the troops sponsored by the RAs
  • Gingerbread Cookies sponsored by the Division of Professional and Graduate Studies
  • Hot Chocolate sponsored by the Science Club
  • Ornament Making sponsored by SAA
  • Photo Snow Globes sponsored by SGA
  • Photos with Santa sponsored by the Tour Guides
  • Ugly Christmas Sweater Photo Booth sponsored by the Albertus Young Alumni Group (The recently established Young Alumni Group is also hosting an Ugly Christmas Sweater Happy Hour at Anna Liffey’s in New Haven to keep the fun going, complete with contests and prizes and lots of holiday cheer!)

Special edition Albertus Santa hats will be available for purchase for $5 each.

albertus-sealAlbertus is a Catholic College in the Dominican Tradition and the four pillars of the Dominican Tradition are study, prayer, community and service. This year the College community made a commitment to service through the 1925 Hours of Service project. Faculty, staff, students and alumni have contributed volunteer service to organizations in New Haven and beyond with the goal of reaching 1,925 hours by the close of this semester. An announcement will be made at the Christmas Tree Lighting updating the community on how close we are to our goal.

Also in the spirit of community and service, the Science Club and Office of Dominican Ministry are sponsoring a winter clothing drive. Donations of hats, gloves and scarves will be accepted at the tree lighting and will be given to people in need this holiday season.

As we all prepare for the excitement of the season and the importance of Christmas to our faith, we look forward to the beginning of a lasting tradition at the College. We welcome all students, alumni, faculty, staff, friends and family to be a part of the first annual Christmas Tree Lighting! RSVP today.

Cultivating Exemplary Leadership: Part 4

Traits of Leaders…Leadership Derailers

Enthusiasm, Independence, Confidence, Diligence – these are all characteristics which are quite positive, and all things which as leaders we should aim to develop.  Why then are we talking about these in a blog about leadership derailers?  Well, let’s consider these traits on the surface. We want our leaders to be enthusiastic about what they are doing and who they are leading; we want our leaders to be independent, think for themselves and be firm in their values; we want our leaders to be confident, and we want our leaders to be diligent.  The issues arise, as are discussed in the book Why CEO’s Fail (Dotlich & Cairo, 2003), when these positive leadership dimensions are taken to an extreme.  There is a fine line between effective and constructive behaviors and ineffective, off-putting, and destructive behaviors.  Imagine the leader who is enthusiastic all the time, the person who is overly independent, the person who is confident to a fault, or the person who is diligent to an extreme.  These overuses of positive tendencies can become, what Dotlich and Cairo term, leadership derailers.

Let’s first consider the leader who is overly enthusiastic.  This person might be hard to read, hard to assess, and could even be viewed as volatile.  A person who is highly excitable can have severe mood shifts, and can transition from passionate and positive to uninterested and disengaged in a project without sharing rationale with the team.  Team members may view this leader as moody and hard to please and thus not be comfortable enough with them to share ideas (something we encourage followers to do).

A leader who is independent is one who is focused on his or her work and tends to be task focused.  As leadership students, we all understand that this style can be effective in some situations and not as effective in others (when a more relationship focused leader may be more useful).  That said, an independent leader can also be seen as someone who is convinced of his or her beliefs…something we want to a degree, but don’t want to become inflexibility.  A leader who goes too far with independence can be viewed as someone who is aloof and disengaged, someone who simply doesn’t care about the needs, wants, and ideas of people.  Again, independence and value driven is good, detached and uncaring not very good!

Confidence.  How can being confident be a bad thing?  Well, easily.  Imagine a leader who is overly confident, what image does that portray to you?  To me it is someone who is arrogant, someone who appears entitled, and someone who is unwilling to admit mistakes and listen to feedback.  We want our leaders to be confident in themselves, their people, and their organization.  We don’t, however, want our leaders to be arrogant and not willing to see the big picture of their actions.

Diligence (the characteristic that probably had many of you doing a quick Google search!).  A diligent person is someone who is focused on doing things ‘right’ and getting things ‘right’.  Not a bad thing, right!  Well, what happens when a leader won’t move on with a project until something is perfect?  What impact does this have on their effectiveness and also their efficiency?   It is good to be diligent, but not good to become a perfectionist and expect our people to be perfect all the time as well.  It is ok to make mistakes (as long as we learn from them), and a leader can’t become so diligent that he or she becomes overly critical of other’s performance.

As you can see from the examples above, there are many ways that leaders can take their positives to an extreme.  These are just a few of the examples of this, and it is important for us as leaders (we all are!) to monitor ourselves.  Remember, perception is reality, if our people see us as any of these extremes it doesn’t matter if we see it…it is real to them, as Kouzes and Posner (1987) say, “Leadership is in the eyes of the follower.”

The study of leadership derailers as well as the flipside, the study of positive leadership attributes, is very interesting and is the crux of a class being offered on our main campus in New Haven in Mod 3 (January) to graduate students in the Master of Arts in Leadership (ML) and the Master of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership (MSMOL).  I will be teaching this blended course, MOL 501, Leadership in Theory and Practice, on Tuesday nights at 5:30 to all leadership (and MBA) students on our main campus in New Haven, as well as on Saturdays beginning in January in our new MSMOL cohort also in New Haven.  The class is also offered in our East Hartford Learning Center to students of the MSMOL, so if you live or work near there, we have a program for you, too!  If you have interest in any of our Leadership graduate programs in New Haven or East Hartford please email me, and we can discuss getting you started.

Have a very Happy Thanksgiving and I will see you back here in December!


Dotlich, D. L., & Cairo, P. C. (2003). Why CEO’s Fail: The 11 Behaviors That Can Derail Your Climb to the Top and How to Manage Them. Jossey Bass.

Kouzes, J. M., & Posner, B. Z. (1987).  The Leadership Challenge: How to Get Extraordinary Things Done in Organizations:  San Francisco:  Jossey-Bass.


Howard C. Fero, Ph.D.
The Leadership Doc
Director, Graduate Leadership ProgramsAssociate Professor of Business and Leadership
Albertus Magnus College

Dr. Howard Fero, is an Associate Professor of Business and Leadership and the Director of Graduate Leadership programs at Albertus Magnus College. When not teaching classes and overseeing the Leadership programs at Albertus Dr. Fero uses his expertise to help individuals and organizations achieve optimal performance and effectiveness as The Leadership Doc. Dr. Fero will be blogging about different leadership topics throughout the year and speaks about these topics in his classes in the Master of and Arts in Leadership Master of Science in Management and Organizational Leadership Programs. He welcomes your comments and looks forward to communicating with you in our exciting new blog.


Albert Week

November is traditionally a month of remembering – the saints, our loved ones who have died, veterans and the celebration of Thanksgiving when we recall all the blessings we have received.

Tucked in the middle of the month is the feast of St. Albert the Great, the patron of Albertus Magnus College, on November 15. This year to honor Albert the Great, the College community is initiating an Albert Week to remember, celebrate and give thanks for this great scholar, teacher and leader. During Albert Week each day will be dedicated to living one of the four Dominican values: study, prayer, community and service.

  • On Monday, November 11 at 12:00 (noon) members of the College community gathered in front of the Tagliatela Center to highlight the Dominican value of prayer. An intercessory prayer was offered for the College community (Board of Trustees, Administration, Faculty, Students, Staff and Alumni), Veterans, the New Haven community and the needs of our world. Following the prayer, the statue of Albert in front of the Tagliatela Center received a special blue and white scarf to wear during this special week.

St. Albert Week        Matthew Brancaccio, SGA President and Elizabeth McGarry, SAA President with Albert the Great.

  • On Tuesday, November 12, the College will highlight the Dominican values of study and community. Students from the Student Alumni Association have prepared “gummy worms” and Albert facts for the students to honor Albert’s life and gifts as a scientist. Members of the Albertus community will distribute “worms and facts” to the students at lunch time in the Campus Center and to the adult students in the evening in Aquinas Hall.
  • On Wednesday, November 13, the College will highlight the Dominican value of study. Janice McLaughlin, MM, president of the Maryknoll Sisters, will be at Albertus as part of the St. Thomas Aquinas Lecture Series to give the St. Albert the Great Lecture, “Can You Carry an Elephant.” Using stories, proverbs, and personal experiences from her years on the African continent, Sr. Janice will explore how the message of Albert is still relevant today. She will highlight Albert’s ability to reconcile the teachings of science with his faith  nd will show how we can follow his example by being people of peace. The lecture will take place in the Devaney Lecture Hall, located in Aquinas Hall, from 5:15 – 6:30 p.m. To reserve a place at the lecture, call 203-773-8502 or email Refreshments for the lecture will include Albert cookies.


Janice_McLaughlinSr. Janice McLaughlin.

  • On Thursday, November 14, the College will highlight the Dominican value of service. Student groups will participate in an Albertus Clean-up Day around the campus from 3:00 – 4:00 p.m., beginning at the Athletic Center.
  •  On Friday, November 15, the college will highlight the Dominican value of community. At 7:30 p.m. the Albertus Magnus Chorus will present “Cabaret“, in the Atrium, Tagliatela Center and at 9:00 p.m. the Student Alumni Association will present “Legends of Albert the Great,” in the House of Bollstadt, Campus Center.


 Above is a picture taken from the Cabaret performance being showcased at the Act 2 Theatre.

Albert Week is a collaborative effort of the Student Alumni Association, the Student Government Association, the Athletic Council, the Advancement Office and the Office for Dominican Mission.