“The thought was, I can do what I want, which is to be a college teacher, and I could be a priest, which is what God wants,” he said. “My identity was set. I would reflect now that God wanted what I wanted most deeply, and that is why this has been such a charmed life for me.”
Fifty years later, the Loyola University New Orleans philosophy professor is celebrating a half-century as a Jesuit. Rowntree’s teaching style has been driven by his engaging and energetic personality during his 35 years in the classroom. He said he likes to try to “rattle students’ cages” a little bit, but he does so with a purpose…
Rowntree’s work has not just focused on undergrads. He also has worked extensively to teach philosophy and ethics to seminarians studying to be Jesuit priests. From 1994 to 2001, he helped found Arrupe College, a four-year integrated philosophy, religious studies and humanities program for English-speaking African Jesuit scholars in Harare, Zimbabwe. Before that, he taught seminarians at Loyola for 10 years.
“It was a great adventure. We started out with an empty field, and within a couple of years, we had a fully functioning campus,” he said about his time at Arrupe College.
Read more about Rowntree’s life as a Jesuit at Nola.com.