By Tracy Kinne
Serving dinner at the Rescue Mission in Syracuse or at a Catholic Charities shelter, conducting food drives, attending Masses, retreats and teach-ins. These are some of the activities of Le Moyne College students in addition to their classroom studies.
And now, overseeing the office that helps students in their spiritual development is Thomas M. Andino. Andino, who came to Le Moyne in 2003 and gradually assumed the duties of director of liturgy and music, has been named director of the Office of Campus Ministry.
He is the first lay person to hold that position at Le Moyne. It is a job he welcomes. “I like the people I work with; I like the students,” he said. “I love that every day is an adventure. You come in and there may be a student in crisis or there may be something to celebrate. That’s the beauty of it, that every day is different.
“We have really nice students,” he continued. “I shouldn’t be surprised, but they continue to amaze me by their generous spirits.” At the beginning of the semester, students and staff celebrated the Mass of the Holy Spirit, asking God’s blessing for the school year. Afterward, Andino received an email message from a student he had never met. The student had attended the Mass every year for the past three years and wanted Andino to know how much the service meant to him, how it had improved over the years and how appreciative he was to attend it.
The thoughtfulness impressed Andino. “We live in a culture where we’re on to the next thing,” he said. “But this student took the time to write and share his experience. It meant a lot.”
Andino sees the intimacy of the five-person office and small campus, with a total enrollment last year of 3,500, as a strength. “We all know each other — that helps,” he said. He emphasizes teamwork. If a student comes into his office in crisis, he can determine quickly who could best help and connect the student with that staff member, often walking the student to the staff member’s office.
Andino’s humility and talent are among his many qualities, said Sister Ann Kenyon, OSF, who works in faith formation at the Daniel J. Mulhauser, SJ Campus Ministry Center. “He inspires me,” she said.
Likewise, Michael Huyhn, associate director of campus ministry in the Diocese of Syracuse, said Andino brings many strengths to his new role.
“I have known him for many years as an outstanding and talented campus minister and liturgist,” Huyhn wrote in an email. “He will bring many gifts to his new leadership role at Le Moyne. He always goes above and beyond to serve God’s people.”
Andino earned his undergraduate degree from the Crane School of Music at the State University of New York at Potsdam in 1998, then earned his master’s in theology at St. Bernard’s School of Theology and Ministry in suburban Rochester. He is an active parishioner at the Church of St. Michael-St. Peter on Onondaga Hill with his wife and two daughters. Service runs in his family: His father, Thomas P. Andino, Jr., is Onondaga town supervisor.