Archive for the ‘Colleges and Universities’ Category

Jesuit Leading Santa Clara University Solar Decathlon Team to Victory

Jesuit Father Jim Reites started out as an engineering student at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles, but meeting the Jesuits his senior year changed his career path. Instead, he joined the Society of Jesus and became a professor of religious studies at Santa Clara University in California. In a nod to his former career path, Fr. Reites is now making headlines as the adviser of Santa Clara’s Solar Decathlon team.

The United States Department of Energy sponsors the Solar Decathlon every two years, in which teams from schools worldwide compete to build the most efficient, livable and beautiful solar home. Santa Clara’s teams finished in third place in both 2007 and 2009, besting many bigger, better-funded universities. Students credit Fr. Reites as a large reason for their success, and the 2013 solar decathlon team is currently working on their next entry at the Santa Clara campus.

“I’ve never seen him down in spirits or tired,” said Santa Clara junior Brian Grau. “He’s always ready to work whether it’s actually doing physical labor all day long or helping us with the design.”

Fr. Reites may be 75 years old, but he is teaching young Santa Clara students plenty about technology. Additionally, Fr. Reites brings his love of science to his position as chair of the Religious Studies Department at Santa Clara. “The very first personal computer in a department on campus was in the Department of Religious Studies,” said Fr. Reites. “And I built it from a kit.” His do-it-yourself attitude led the university to ask him to become the Solar Decathlon team adviser.

Tim Hight, professor of mechanical engineering and faculty project leader for the Solar Decathlon team, said Fr. Reites “always seemed to be around when something needed to be done and outworked most of the team in terms of energy and enthusiasm. His understanding of so many aspects of the house, whether electrical, plumbing or controls, means that he knows how the whole house works and how to fix it if it doesn’t.”

According to Fr. Reites, building a solar house is right in line with the Jesuits’ mission. “It’s engineering with a mission, a real mission to make the world a better place.” [NBC Bay Area, Santa Clara University]

Jesuit Professor: ‘Inequality is the Issue of the Next Century’

Photo by Kuna Malik Hamad, via Georgetown University.

Jesuit Father Matthew Carnes, assistant professor of government at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., untangles the politics that underlie labor policy, social welfare and inequality issues in his research and in the classroom. “I’m convinced that inequality is the issue of the next century,” he said.

“We have 1 in 5 children in the United States growing up in poverty and 16 percent of the population living below the poverty line. It’s not something that happens naturally; it’s something we actually choose,” Fr. Carnes explained.

According to Fr. Carnes, many political choices affect the levels of inequality — from how much we tax individuals and corporations to how much we fund public education or how we defund welfare programs. “At the end of the day, society gets to make that choice. We are a democratic system, which gives us mechanisms for choosing. But I think we need to recognize it as a choice and talk about those mechanisms.”

Students in his courses study the variation of political behavior over time, across the United States and among different countries. “There are lots of other ways the world can be, [which shows students] we can create the world we want to live in,” said Fr. Carnes, who received Georgetown’s School of Foreign Service Faculty of the Year Award this May.

Fr. Carnes said that while inequality raises complicated and contentious issues, he also sees that his students are eager to tackle them. “I push them to be constantly thinking and rethinking and challenging ideas,” he said.

By showing students how political choices have created the world we live in, Fr. Carnes hopes they understand that their actions can also change it. “Students have this real enthusiasm with trying to make a difference. I point to the fact that there are differences and those differences are human made, so if they want to make a difference they can.”

Read the full interview with Fr. Carnes at the Georgetown University website.

Dr. Thomas Bausch, a Leader in Jesuit Education, Passes Away

Dr. Thomas BauschDr. Thomas Bausch, who led a life committed to his family, Catholic faith, community and the Jesuit mission, passed away on July 17 at age 75. A graduate of John Carroll University in Cleveland (B.S. 1960) and Indiana University (Ph.D. 1969), he had a distinguished career centered on working with Jesuit universities and the Society of Jesus throughout the world.

Bausch, a proponent of Catholic social teaching in business and management, held positions at John Carroll University and Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., prior to becoming dean of the Business School at Marquette University in Milwaukee from 1978 to 1993. He continued to teach at Marquette until 2010.

Bausch was particularly interested in the connection between Ignatian spirituality and business leadership. He was co-founder of the International Association of Jesuit Schools of Business and served as its executive director for 10 years.

His global commitment to the Jesuit mission included working with universities and organizations throughout Latin America, Africa, Europe and Asia. Throughout his career Bausch held many leadership positions, which included serving as president of the World Union of Jesuit Alumni, national president of Christian Life Community and president of the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. He also served as dean of business at the Jesuits’ Hekima College in Nairobi, Kenya.

Bausch is survived by his wife of 50 years, Bernadine, and their eight children and 17 grandchildren.

Pope Hosts Impromptu Q&A Session with Jesuit Students

Pope Francis

Youths surround Pope Francis as he met with students from Jesuit schools June 7 at the Vatican. (CNS/Reuters)

At a June 7 Vatican event, Pope Francis ditched a prepared speech to 9,000 students, alumni and teachers from Jesuit-run schools in Italy and Albania saying it would be “a tad boring.” Instead, he gave a condensed version of his remarks and spent the rest of the time fielding questions from the crowd.

For thirty minutes, the pope answered questions — on topics as diverse as Jesuit education to his preferred papal residence.  When one student asked why he chose not to live in the apostolic palace, Pope Francis said, “It’s not just a question of wealth.” His decision to live in a simple Vatican-run residence was “for psychiatric reasons,” he said teasingly. Living in an isolated setting “would not do me any good,” and he said he’s the kind of person who prefers living in the thick of things, “among the people.”

Pope Francis added that he does try to live as simply as possible, “to not have many things and to become a bit poorer” like Christ.

He urged everyone to try to live more simply saying, “In a world where there is so much wealth, so many resources to feed everyone, it’s incomprehensible how there can be so many hungry children, so many children without an education, so many poor.”

A young girl asked Pope Francis if he wanted to become pope.

He laughed and said a person who wants to become pope doesn’t have his own best interest at heart. “God doesn’t give him his blessings. No, I didn’t want to become pope,” he said.

Another participant asked him why he decided to become a Jesuit. Pope Francis responded:

“What gave me the strength to become a Jesuit is the sense of being a missionary. To go out, to take part in the missions, to proclaim Jesus Christ. This is precisely our spirituality. To go out and spread the Gospel, instead of quietly staying closed in within our structures, that are often, old structures.” [Catholic News Service, Rome Reports]

Jesuit Pilgrims Gear Up for MAGIS 2013 and World Youth Day

MAGIS logoIn less than a month, 2,000 young adults from around the world will gather in Brazil for MAGIS 2013, a Jesuit-sponsored immersion experience leading up to World Youth Day. Jesuit Father Mike Rogers, the national coordinator for MAGIS, says that anticipation has been building since Pope Francis, a Jesuit from Latin America, was elected in March. “Right now Brazil is expecting two and a half million registrations for World Youth Day and as many as five million to show up for his Mass,” says Fr. Rogers.

Jesuit pilgrims will gather in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, on July 12 before breaking into groups to travel to numerous locations in Brazil, including the mountains near the Amazon River, the Brazilian Museum of Music in São Paulo and the Iguazu Falls, made famous in the 1986 movie “The Mission.”

According to Fr. Rogers, programs will focus on Brazil’s environment, learning about the different religions of Brazil and service projects in and around Rio de Janeiro, as well as pilgrimage opportunities.

Among the MAGIS pilgrims will be 200 college students from the United States, representing over half of the U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities, including Boston College, Canisius College, College of the Holy Cross, Fairfield University, Fordham University, Georgetown University, Gonzaga University, Loyola Marymount University, Loyola University Chicago, Santa Clara University, Seattle University, Saint Joseph’s University and University of Scranton.

Seattle University MAGIS group

Seattle University is ready for Rio! Photo courtesy Jason Welle, SJ, and Brittany Olival (bottom right). Photo via The Jesuit Post.

The group of 15 students, alumni and staff that will attend MAGIS from Seattle University told The Jesuit Post they are looking forward to experiencing their shared faith with people from around the world and praying with people from all kinds of backgrounds. They’re also excited about engaging in service during the MAGIS portion of the pilgrimage and “being around people who share [Jesuit] ideals of social justice,” says alum Andy Giron.

The Seattle University contingent is also eagerly awaiting the opportunity to see Pope Francis, who will make his first trip back to his home continent since his election.

“His example, the things he’s said and done, resonate more with people our age,” alum Michael Alcantara told The Jesuit Post. “The spirit is calling him and calling us into a similar space, and we’re meeting at the same intersection.”

Thuong ChuChe, a graduate student in pastoral counseling, said it was Pope Francis’ election that sealed the deal for her and her husband. “We had been praying about it, the finances were uncertain, but the pope’s election … we felt like that was it!”

Christ the Redeemer statueFr. Rogers has his own reasons to be excited about MAGIS: he will be going as a newly ordained priest. “It’s a real privilege. Right off the bat I’ll be exercising my priestly ministry,” he says. “It will be wonderful to experience the universal church in the context of Latin America.”

Fr. Rogers hopes that MAGIS participants come away with a deepened sense of spirituality — and open themselves to the possibility of a religious calling.

“My hope is that they’ll have a sense of belonging and collaboration with the Society of Jesus. First and foremost, I hope they encounter Christ, fall in love with the church and make wonderful friends. And, for some, this may be a place where they hear God’s call to a vocation.”

For more on MAGIS 2013, visit the Jesuit Conference’s MAGIS website and The Jesuit Post. For more on the meaning of “Magis,” check out The Jesuit Post video below.