November 2016 Connections: Distinguished Faculty on Jesuit Campuses
The articles in this month's issue highlight some of our incredible distinguished faculty on six Jesuit campuses. Our students are blessed to learn from these masters of a variety of disciplines, including theater, astronomy and business ethics. It is not an exaggeration to say that reading these articles is a bit like taking six mini-master classes, and just might make you want to go back to college!
While everyone is still in shock in the aftermath of last week’s election, we need to recognize that the sun still came up the next morning, as President Obama mentioned in his speech on Wednesday. As the dust settles in the weeks to come, we will continue to work diligently to learn more about President-elect Donald Trump’s educational policies and plans for colleges and universities in the United States.
This semester, Fordham University welcomed actor Stephen McKinley Henderson as the Denzel Washington Endowed Chair in Theater. It is a fortuitous time to have Henderson on campus teaching, as this December he will appear opposite Fordham alumnus Denzel Washington, ’77, in the film adaptation of playwright August Wilson’s play, Fences.
The fascination that Rev. George Coyne, S.J. has with the physical universe harkens back six decades to his time as a Jesuit novice in Maryland. Today, as the McDevitt Chair in Physics at Le Moyne College, Fr. Coyne seeks to inspire in his students a similar wonder at the cosmos, not so that they become astronomers – or for that matter scientists of any kind – but so that they become “better human beings.”
The interests of these four Loyola Marymount University (LMU) professors are wide-ranging; they specialize in environmental science, world religions, gender and politics, and teacher education. But they are bound by a love of learning, and that passion motivates them to make extraordinary contributions to academic life at LMU.
When he was 18 years old, Meme Kinoti spent every summer day from sun up to sun down in the Kenyan tea fields, working alongside his family so he could raise enough money to pay his bus fare to Eldoret, 250 miles away from his home in the Meru highlands, to attend college. He needed the equivalent of $10 – and despite his efforts, an entire summer of hard labor in the fields harvesting tea – he could not save enough. Now an associate professor of nonprofit management at Regis University in Denver, Colorado, he looks back on that time and the struggles he faced with deep emotion and resolve.
The universe has countless stars and planets, each with a story to tell. Call Mark Pecaut, Ph.D., assistant professor of physics at Rockhurst University, then, a storyteller. Though he’s been with the University less than two years, Pecaut brings with him an accomplished resume as an astronomer, including one research paper published during his graduate work that is helping to reshape the way astronomers look at planet and star formation.
At the University of Detroit Mercy, where he has worked since 1980, Rev. Gerald Cavanagh, S.J. has been an Associate Dean, Interim Dean, Provost and Trustee, and has chaired numerous committees in addition to his liturgical responsibilities. But his most cherished role is that of professor, writing and teaching on business ethics and social responsibility. Indeed, when asked what his greatest accomplishments have been, he says “palpably influencing” students, along with “having an influence on the thinking, attitudes and scholarship of those in the business ethics field.” He has certainly achieved both.
Ian Johnson’s fascination with China began with his own study abroad experience in Beijing in the mid-1980s. The Pulitzer Prize-winning writer has taught at The Beijing Center for Chinese Studies (TBC; the Jesuit study abroad program in Beijing) since 2010, leading courses on Chinese Religion and Society and supervising undergraduate research in Loyola University Chicago’s prestigious Ricci Scholars program. Dr. Amanda Barry, Director of Academics at TBC, found a few moments to chat with Johnson about his life in China, his work, and his forthcoming book, The Souls of China: The Return of Religion After Mao.
AJCU Connections Archive
October 2016: Election 2016 on Jesuit Campuses
September 2016: Town & Gown Partnerships for Jesuit Schools
May 2016: How Jesuit Institutions Help Alumni Live the Mission
April 2016: Eco-Jesuit: Campus Responses to Laudato Si'
March 2016: The Jesuit Mission of Athletic Programs
February 2016: Diversity on Jesuit Campuses
January 2016: The Impact of STEM Programs on Jesuit Institutions
December 2015: Celebrating the Arts on Jesuit Campuses
November 2015: The Jesuit Mission of Graduate & Professional Programs
October 2015: 100th Anniversary of Alpha Sigma Nu
September 2015: The Impact of HEA Reauthorization on AJCU Campuses
May 2015: Fostering Vocations on Jesuit Campuses
April 2015: New International Collaborations Among Jesuit Institutions
March 2015: How Women Are Shaping Jesuit Institutions