Letter from the Editor

By Deanna Howes Spiro, Director of Communications, AJCU

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How is the Jesuit mission reflected in today’s undergraduate and graduate business programs? This issue of Connections focuses on seven Jesuit colleges and universities incorporating justice themes into their curricula; opening new centers for ethics; leading faculty seminars on Ignatian readings; and much more. It is an exciting time for Jesuit business education, and we are thrilled to share the stories of these schools with you.

This month’s issue coincides with the annual meeting of the AJCU Business Deans, hosted this week by Fordham University. Coincidentally, a recent article in The Financial Times cites St. Ignatius of Loyola as a model for modern day management! Georgetown University’s new dean of the McDonough School of Business, Dr. Paul Almeida, cited Ignatius’ entrepreneurial spirit, well-articulated purpose and mission, and global perspective as key to successful business leadership from the 15th through 21st centuries. He wrote:

It is widely accepted today that organizations need a strong shared mission and culture to create and execute strategies. St Ignatius understood the importance of this for the Society of Jesus. Through the Spiritual Exercises, prayers and contemplative practices he developed and are still widely practiced, he helped the Jesuits to understand who they were and why they were. By the time he died, priests as far away as Brazil and Japan, with no connection to the headquarters in Rome, were guided by a common sense of purpose. Without technology or staff meetings, St. Ignatius bound together a global community of shared purpose and values.

Indeed, St. Ignatius was the inspiration for another author, Chris Lowney, whose books and articles have guided business students and leaders for more than a decade. A former Jesuit seminarian and JP Morgan executive, Lowney based his best-selling book, Heroic Leadership, on the principles that guided St. Ignatius to found the Society of Jesus and shape it into an organization that is still thriving nearly five centuries later. Of course, it is worth noting that Pope Francis, a Jesuit himself, has been cited by both Lowney and Almeida as a global leader heavily influenced by his Jesuit values and training.

As technology and globalization continue to evolve and influence business programs, one constant is the influence of St. Ignatius in today’s Jesuit-educated business students and leaders. We hope that they will continue to be inspired by their institutions’ shared mission and help it to thrive for the next five centuries.