Archive for the ‘Colleges and Universities’ Category
Jesuit Father C. Kevin Gillespie was inaugurated as the 27th president of his alma mater, Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, on Oct. 12, at an event attended by Philadelphia Archbishop Charles J. Chaput and Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter.
Fr. Gillespie graduated from Saint Joseph’s with a bachelor’s degree in psychology in 1972, making him only the second alumnus to become president of the university. The first was also a Gillespie: Jesuit Father Cornelius Gillespie, who served in 1900-1907 and again in 1908-1909. Fr. C. Kevin Gillespie isn’t sure if they are related, but his parents and Cornelius Gillespie were both from Donegal, Ireland.
As president of Saint Joseph’s, Fr. Gillespie said he looks forward to working with this generation of students. “We’re exposing them to a global way of being in the world for the 21st century that has a confidence, a depth and a potential,” he said. “We’re inspiring students toward an education that’s global and that involves citizenship with values, virtues and sacrifices.”
Fr. Gillespie said that when he was a student at St. Joseph’s he learned about global citizenship through a service trip to Colombia. “It raised my consciousness to see the poor, to see people coming up from the Amazon and Chocó Rivers, and it raised the question: Why them, not me? Why do I have the chance for an education and not them?”
Fr. Gillespie said that Saint Joseph’s taught him to pursue questions in a quest for meaning in life. “I’m still questing, but I have confidence that meaning can be found,” he said.
After graduating from Saint Joseph’s, Fr. Gillespie went on to earn a master’s degrees in psychology from Duquesne University and in divinity from the Jesuit School of Theology Berkeley. He holds a Ph.D. in pastoral psychology from Boston University.
Prior to his appointment at Saint Joseph’s, Fr. Gillespie served as associate provost for University Centers of Excellence at Loyola University Chicago, where he oversaw five academic centers. He succeeds Jesuit Father Timothy R. Lannon, who is now president of Creighton University in Omaha. Read more about Fr. Gillespie in this SJU Magazine article.
What do you get when you mix a dorm filled with undergraduate students and a Jesuit-in-residence? An opportunity for Ignatian spirituality. At Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., Jesuits-in-residence serve as mentors to students. For instance, Jesuit Father David Collins, one of the university’s Jesuits who lives in a student dorm, holds open houses every week so that students can stop by to talk.
“It’s an unstructured way for students to come up and, in fact, raise issues that they want to talk about,” Fr. Collins said. “The advantage of putting so much emphasis on an unstructured open house is that it allows themes to be set by students.”
Fr. Collins, a history professor, said the experience of living in a residence hall allows faculty to interact with students they might never otherwise meet.
Jesuit Father Dan Madigan, from Australia, is in his first year as a Jesuit-in-residence on campus, and for him the experience offers a chance to broaden his understanding of American college life.
“I was very interested to meet resident assistants — that was an eye-opener, because I didn’t go to a school like this,” Fr. Madigan said. “I went to undergrad in Australia, and we always go to state university as commuters, so we don’t have the sense of 24/7 residential contact.”
Like Fr. Collins, Fr. Madigan likes that he can meet a more diverse group of undergraduates — and give students the opportunity to get to know a Jesuit.
“We make a lot of the fact that this is a Jesuit university, but many students never get to meet a Jesuit,” Fr. Madigan said.
Jesuit Father Matthew Carnes is a chaplain-in-residence for the first time at Georgetown this year, but he has previously been a Jesuit-in-residence at Santa Clara University in California, and he has big plans.
“I’m going to lead a secret Jesuit tour,” Fr. Carnes said. “Essentially, at nine at night we go with flashlights to different historical sites, get keys to see secret places around campus and finish up with ice cream at my apartment.”
The Jesuits say that dorm life is no more chaotic than is typical for a college community.
“Other than when the Yankees won the World Series, I’ve never been kept up at night,” Fr. Collins said. Read more about the Jesuits-in-residence at The Hoya website.
When the new academic year started at Marquette University in Milwaukee last month, it was missing one of its most well-known Jesuits. Jesuit Father John Naus served the university for almost 50 years before he retired over the summer.
Known for his sly humor, former Marquette president Jesuit Father Robert Wild said Fr. Naus was perhaps the best known and most beloved Jesuit at Marquette for the past 49 years.
Ordained a priest in 1955, Fr. Naus served Marquette in academic, administrative and ministerial capacities for nearly five decades.
Smiling builds trust, Fr. Naus told the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, so he tried to make others smile with silly antics on the first day of class.
In the 1970s, students at the residence hall where Fr. Naus lived and was chaplain for 28 years bought him a clown suit to wear and named him Tumbleweed. This prompted Fr. Naus to attend the Barnum & Bailey clown college in Venice, Fla. Fr. Naus went on to perform as Tumbleweed at children’s hospitals and nursing homes, and he spent the last class of his courses teaching students how to make balloon animals.
His philosophy classes were challenging but popular. “He was mesmerizing in the classroom,” said James South, chair of Marquette’s philosophy department. “The biggest thing we had to manage was the sheer demand for his classes,” which were the first to fill.
Fr. Naus is also famous at Marquette for his weekly 10 p.m. Tuesday Mass, which would attract more than 200 students. That was “the happiest hour of my week for 28 years,” Fr. Naus said.
Read the full profile of Fr. Naus at the Milwaukee-Wisconsin Journal Sentinel website.
Regis University in Denver, Colo., inaugurated a new president, Jesuit Father John P. Fitzgibbons, on September 24. Fr. Fitzgibbons began his term on June 1, succeeding Jesuit Father Michael Sheeran. Previously, Fr. Fitzgibbons served as associate provost for faculty development at Marquette University in Milwaukee.
“We’re doing for students what works in today’s world,” Fr. Fitzgibbons told the North Denver Tribune before his inauguration. “Building on the excellent work done by Fr. Sheeran, I look forward to ensuring that the enrollment, retention and promised academic excellence of Regis University continue in upward trajectories.”
In line with the university’s Jesuit heritage, Regis has a long tradition of service, and students participate in more than 50,000 hours of service- and community-based training each year, according to Fr. Fitzgibbons. He said that these campus ministry programs help students during their formative college years to realize their role as men and women doing for others.
“We continue to keep our Catholic emphasis while inviting diversity of other cultures and faiths,” said Fr. Fitzgibbons.
Fr. Fitzgibbons also talked about the need for a well-rounded education. “A liberal arts curriculum is important because we believe that the professionals need this kind of education to think critically, write extremely well and make good discernments,” he said.
“We try mightily on integrating the two [humanities and hard sciences],” said Fr. Fitzgibbons, adding that Regis focuses on drawing out the God-given talents of students and building on them.
The university is also focused on financial assistance. In past years, Regis has worked to fund education for first-generation college students, especially graduates from Arrupe Jesuit High School. “We doggedly work to make Regis affordable to students from all socio-economical backgrounds,” Fr. Fitzgibbons said.
Read the full story at the North Denver Tribune.
“I said jokingly that this would be a perfect office if I were coming in to open a bank account,” said Fr. Shea, who replaced his desk and conference table with a couch and two plush chairs.
“This is where students can come in, feel relaxed, talk,” he said.
Fr. Shea, who earned his bachelor’s degree from Fordham, has previously worked at the university as a teacher in the psychology department, a psychologist in the counseling center, rector of Murray-Weigel Hall (a community of retired Jesuits from the New York Province) and associate vice president and then vice president for student affairs from 1989 until 1996.
He then continued his work in higher education, serving as president of John Carroll University and vice president for mission and ministry at the University of Scranton.
The last seven years, however, have found him in an entirely different setting. Since 2005 Fr. Shea has been the director of the East Asia Theological Encounter Program in Chiangmai, Thailand — a post he will continue to hold remotely. There, he instructed Jesuit scholastics on Eastern theology, taught English to Thai students (he speaks Thai fluently) and worked at a retreat house in Chiangmai.
“I’d wanted adventure, change,” Fr. Shea said of his experience in Asia. “I’d been in higher education for 26 years and just felt that I wanted to do something different. When this opportunity arose, I jumped at it.”
One of Fr. Shea’s goals at Fordham is to create a weekly meditation group, offering students a way to decrease stress while learning about a lesser-known practice of Christianity.
“There’s a whole tradition of Christian meditation,” he said. “It’s very much like Zen or Buddhist meditation. You sit quietly and don’t think, and if thoughts come, then you simply bring yourself back to focusing on breathing rather than going where your mind takes you. Over the years, you become much more at peace, and much more aware.”
Read more about Fr. Shea’s return to Fordham University.