By Kate Gaertner, Executive Director, Alpha Sigma Nu
Alpha Sigma Nu (ASN), the honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities, marked its 100th anniversary on October 15-18, 2015, at its 33rd Triennial Conference, hosted by its founding institution, Marquette University. ASN’s Faculty Advisers, Board of Directors, Alumni Club presidents, and 55 of its student Chapter leaders heard from important voices in Jesuit higher education and from Jesuit social justice programs.
“The theme – ASN: In the World for the Next Century: A Galvanizing Call to Action – reflects the goals of the conference,” said Patrick Cain, ASN Board President and Loyola Marymount University Regent. “We will commemorate the past, share the present, and chart the future of ASN. Our members, who model the ASN tenets of scholarship, loyalty and service, are those Jesuit-trained leaders who increasingly will be collaborators with the Jesuits on mission.”
Conference delegates heard from Stephanie Russell, Ed.D., Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Marquette, who introduced a new video, "Expanding the Jesuit Higher Education Network - Collaborations for Social Justice," which debuted at a meeting of international Jesuit higher education officials in Melbourne, Australia last July (available here on YouTube). The video outlines the global impact and reach of Jesuit higher education, especially in light of the Jesuit Superior General’s (Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.) focus on the power and potential of the Jesuit global network.
Two entrepreneurs from California (but both from very different fields) spoke to delegates about the power of living out ASN values every day. Homeboy Industries Founder and Executive Director, Rev. Gregory Boyle, S.J., spoke about ways that individual action can change the world, and how compassion can help us to see how we are all connected to each other. Charles Geschke, Ph.D., Founder and Chairman of the Board for Adobe Systems, Inc., and former Chair of the Board of Trustees at the University of San Francisco, explained how to balance the pursuit of professional success, while always being guided by Ignatian ideals.
On October 16th, delegates joined students at the new Cristo Rey High School (CRHS) in Milwaukee for a service project. CRHS students and ASN student leaders enjoyed the opportunity to connect and converse, and find ways that ASN Chapters, Clubs, and individual members could support their local Cristo Rey Network high schools.
On October 17th, Rev. Michael Sheeran, S.J., President of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), Rev. John Fitzgibbons, S.J., President of Regis University, and Michael R. Lovell, Ph.D., President of Marquette University spoke on a panel about "Jesuit Higher Education and Alpha Sigma Nu in the 21st Century: Challenges, Opportunities, Imperatives." They discussed Jesuit higher education as formation, training ground, and a guide to navigating the modern world; the power of our collective Jesuit alumni harnessed in the quest for social justice; and, the specific role of ASN in producing Jesuit-trained leaders committed to the Jesuit mission.
That commitment to mission was outlined concretely by "Members for Life: Collaborating with the Jesuits on Mission," a panel featuring three leaders of Jesuit programs. Timothy Shriver, the newly appointed President of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), discussed not only how ASN Chapters can support JVC recruitment, but also how alumni can support JV communities.
Mary McGinnity, Executive Director of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC), discussed ways that ASN and IVC could collaborate together. Christopher Kerr, Executive Director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, discussed ways that all ASN members can join this national network to address social justice issues and live a life-long commitment to the “service of faith and the promotion of justice.”
“We thank these Jesuit leaders for addressing the Centennial Conference,” said Kate Gaertner, ASN's Executive Director. “ASN delegates will consider all they have learned from this conference as they strategize and plan student Chapter programs, Alumni Club events, and outreach efforts to all members. We look forward to the next 100 years of ASN, as members become Ignatian-inspired leaders and collaborators on Jesuit mission.”