As a Jesuit, Father Raymond Schroth has always been involved in journalism, whether as an editor, writer or teacher. But his journalism career started out long before he joined the Society of Jesus in 1957.
“In grammar school I created a newspaper for our block,” he recalls. Since then he’s served as associate editor of Commonweal; taught journalism at Fordham University and Loyola University New Orleans; written book reviews for several publications; and published nine books, including “Fordham: A History and Memoir” and “The American Jesuits: A History.” Currently he is literary editor at America magazine.
He has also served as editor of the national Jesuit magazine Conversations: On Jesuit Higher Education for the past ten years but is now moving on from that role.
The goal of Conversations is to strengthen Jesuit identity at the nation’s 28 Jesuit colleges and universities, and under Fr. Schroth’s leadership, the magazine’s timely coverage has included discussions of how to keep Ignatian ideals alive on campus given the diminishing Jesuit presence.
“The issues [of the magazine] that have given me the most satisfaction have to do with promoting the intellectual life in general,” Fr. Schroth says. “We had one on reading and recommending the great books and one on the quality of intellectual life.”
One of the perks of being the editor of Conversations is that Fr. Schroth has now visited every Jesuit college and university in the country—some more than once. He’s also had the opportunity to meet some of the best and brightest faculty at the institutions.
While editor, Fr. Schroth actively recruited student writers, which provided the magazine with another point of view and offered students the opportunity to publish in a national magazine.
Fr. Schroth is grateful to the members of the National Seminar in Jesuit Higher Education who meet to help plan each issue of Conversations. One of his favorite parts of the job was the day twice a year when the latest issue arrived at his door.
“There’s always somebody that finds a mistake and that keeps me humble. As humble as I’m going to get,” he says.