Archive for the ‘Colleges and Universities’ Category
Jesuit Father Benjamin Urmston, founder of Peace and Justice Programs and professor emeritus at Xavier University in Cincinnati, is being honored for his lifelong efforts on justice issues. He will receive the “Keeping the Dream Alive” award from the Church of the Resurrection in Cincinnati at the church’s annual celebration of the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on January 21.
Fr. Urmston, 87, is a veteran of World War II, and he participated in three major battles — the Rhine, the Ruhr and Bavaria — with General Patton’s Third Army in Europe. The horrors of his war experiences inspired him to make a difference in the world. He decided he could do that by entering the priesthood.
“I was not in the worst part of the war,” Fr. Urmston said, “but what I had was not a picnic. And I came out of that thinking, ‘There has to be a better way for us to solve disputes. There has to be a way to peace.’ I wanted a better world. I felt being a priest would be one way to pursue that — at least a good way for me. And that has proven to be true.”
When Fr. Urmston joined the Xavier faculty in 1971, he saw the need for student involvement in issues of peace and justice, so he founded the Peace and Justice Programs. “The notion of peace and justice is deeply engrained in Ignatian spirituality and applies to all people whether you like them or not,” Fr. Urmston said.
“I think it’s good to have ideas. I think it’s good to have ideals,” Fr. Urmston said. “I think it’s good to have a vision of the future. The purpose is never to judge individuals but to analyze structures. There are times when we need to change our structures, and that’s not easy. That’s part of the reason why there’s opposition: We don’t like to change basic things.
“I don’t have in mind heaven. But I have in mind the beginnings of a civilized earth.”
Read more about Fr. Urmston at the Xavier University website.
Jesuit Father James Schall recently gave his last lecture at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., after teaching there for 35 years. Fr. Schall, who has written over 40 books and taught thousands of students, will retire to California, where he first joined the Society of Jesus in 1948. “The gratitude of many will carry him westward,” writes Jesuit Father Kevin O’Brien, Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Georgetown University.
Fr. O’Brien recalls taking “Elements of Political Theory” with Fr. Schall in 1986, when Fr. O’Brien was a junior at Georgetown. “He introduced me, and by now thousands of other Georgetown students, to Plato, Aristotle, Augustine and Aquinas. In his classroom, I became captivated by the idea of virtue as the measure of human character.”
Fr. O’Brien writes that Fr. Schall’s retirement has prompted him to reflect on the Jesuits who inspired him to join their ranks and who have sustained him in his commitment. “More than ever, I realize that I stand on very broad shoulders and rest in even larger hearts. One of the reasons I am a Jesuit is because of men like Fr. Schall, whom I have had the privilege of calling a brother,” Fr. O’Brien writes.
Fr. O’Brien says, “Fr. Schall is a humble man, reticent about accolades and attention. In his goodbyes, he will undoubtedly point to others — to God first, of course, through whom all things are possible. But he can also point to fellow Jesuits, colleagues, students and alumni with whom he has shared his life here. He too can recognize the very broad shoulders on which he has stood — some of whom are buried down the hill at the Jesuit cemetery.”
Fr. O’Brien says there is a certain humility that comes with taking leave:
“All that we are asked to do is leave a place better than when we found it and invite others into the ongoing project of giving glory to God and serving others. Fr. Schall has done that and more. In his retirement from teaching, he can relish all the good that continues to be done through the people he has influenced along the way.”
Read Fr. O’Brien’s full tribute to Fr. Schall at The Hoya.
Despite their youthful outlook and demeanor, the three Jesuit priests pictured here have a staggering 120 years of combined service at Boston College.
Jesuit Father James Woods, ’54, M.A.T.’61, S.T.B.’62 (right) joined the university in 1968 as dean of the Evening College, which at his urging became the College of Advancing Studies in 1996. In May 2002, the school was renamed the Woods College of Advancing Studies. After 44 years, Fr. Woods stepped down as dean in May 2012.
Jesuit Father Joseph Appleyard, ’53, S.T.M.’58, H’12 (center) started his career at Boston College in 1967 as a member of the English faculty. Beginning in 1987, he served for 10 years as director of the Arts and Sciences Honors Program before being appointed founding vice president of the Office of Mission and Ministry, a post he held until 2010, when he was asked to take a senior administrative position with the New England Province Jesuits.
Jesuit Father William Neenan (left), an urban economist, arrived from the University of Michigan in 1979 as the university’s first Thomas I. Gasson, SJ, Professor. From 1980 to 1987 he served as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, before becoming academic vice president and dean of faculties. Since 1998 he has been vice president and special assistant to the president. He has presided at 225 Boston College-related marriages.
The three were photographed this past summer in front of the statue of St. Ignatius on Boston College’s campus.
Two Jesuits recently returned to their respective alma maters in roles much different from their previous ones as students. Jesuit Father Daniel Hendrickson (’93) has returned to Marquette University in Milwaukee as associate vice president in the Office of the Executive Vice President, and Jesuit Father Dan White (’90) is back at Saint Louis University as pastor of St. Francis Xavier College Church, where he was ordained in 2001.
For Fr. Hendrickson one difference is he’s living at the Jesuit Residence this time. However, he wouldn’t mind returning to a dorm. He said that if the opportunity presents itself, he would like to serve as a residence hall chaplain.
“Being a resident back in McCormick (his freshman dorm) — my college buddies would love it. If that happens, they have to come visit,” Fr. Hendrickson said.
Fr. Hendrickson’s new job includes participating in the university’s reaffirmation of the accreditation process by the Higher Learning Commission. His previous job at Marquette? A lifeguard at the rec center while he was a student.
Before returning to Marquette, Fr. Hendrickson taught at two high schools and three universities, including Creighton University in Omaha and Fordham University in New York.
“I hope I can be as encouraging, supportive and inspirational as the faculty, staff and Jesuits were during my time,” Fr. Hendrickson said. “It would be terrific to be able to impact the lives of students the way I was impacted. Marquette has always been filled with tremendous mentors in its faculty and the Jesuit community. So if someday, somehow I could be someone like that to someone else — that would be a great honor and privilege.”
Fr. Dan White is back in St. Louis after spending time working in Louisiana, Belize and Australia, and he’s excited about his new job as pastor. “I love that the parish and the university are so well integrated,” he said.
“The College Church is a unique blend of so many ministries and people,” said Fr. White. “It’s a chapel and parish rooted in a university campus. The masses draw SLU students, faculty and staff along with members of the religious community, the neighborhood and beyond. Our members come from about 70 different zip codes.”
Fr. White has found it can be a challenge to engage the post-undergraduate demographic of young people.
“Culture has changed a lot,” said Fr. White. “We need to see how to bring faith into a culture that is not as committed to institutions and is suspicious of authority.”
While the campus has expanded since he was a student, Fr. White appreciates that some things haven’t changed. “I love that it is still an urban campus, connected to the city. It is a very civically engaged place. The Jesuits have always been that way,” he said.
Fr. White also appreciates the changes he has noticed. “I have found that the university is much more intentional about being a Jesuit university. The mission of the school is more prominent,” he said.
It’s not uncommon for Jesuits to discover their vocation to the Society of Jesus while attending Jesuit-run high schools or universities. But Jesuit scholastic Jason Brauninger’s vocation story is different — he found the Society of Jesus on the Internet.
Brauninger was always curious about a religious vocation, but the diocesan and monastic life didn’t seem to fit him. The more he researched the Society of Jesus, the more he felt called to it, despite having never met a Jesuit. What he learned online made an impact. He was struck by the Jesuit commitment to working in the world and the emphasis on using one’s gifts and talents to serve others.
Born and raised in New Orleans, Brauninger had started training as a junior firefighter at the age of 14 and received a bachelor’s degree in fire science before entering the Society. However, while praying during a 30-day retreat as a Jesuit novice, he felt drawn toward the nursing profession. “It wasn’t quite what I expected to hear,” Brauninger says of the discovery. “But everything has fallen into place and it all happened because of the grace of God.”
Brauninger completed a bachelor’s degree in nursing at Saint Louis University and became a cardiac care nurse. Now Brauninger is at Regis University in Denver, where he lives with the Regis Jesuit Community, works as a trauma nurse at a local hospital and teaches in the school of nursing.
“It is a great privilege to be at Regis. I’m able to continue my formation as a Jesuit, work as a clinician and learn how to be a professor,” Brauninger says. “I love being with the students.”