By Deanna I. Howes, Director of Communications, AJCU
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On Tuesday, June 13th, seventy faculty, staff and administrators from twenty-six Jesuit colleges and universities across the country came together at Loyola University Chicago for the fourteenth Jesuit Leadership Seminar. For the next three days, they learned about the history and contemporary landscape of Jesuit higher education from noted guest speakers, and engaged in constructive dialogue about ways that they can live out their institutions’ shared mission through their work.
The robust program for this year’s Seminar, which featured seventeen “faculty” from a range of Jesuit institutions and backgrounds, was created by its director, Jeanne Lord, Ed.D. Lord has served as director of the Jesuit Leadership Seminar for the past three years, and also serves as associate vice president and dean of students at Georgetown University.
Lord said, “Our week was filled with rich conversation and sessions on a range of topics connecting us to our common work - Jesuit history and Ignatian spirituality, as well as issues of topical interest, such as our support of undocumented students. Participants represented a variety of roles: presidents, provosts, faculty and senior administrators, and all of us enjoyed the chance to forge bonds across campuses and disciplines, and to spend time in reflection along the beautiful shore of Lake Michigan.”
The presidents of the institutions represented at the Seminar nominated participants in whom they see potential for leadership at their institutions. Most participants were attending for the first time but several had attended before. Tanya Winegard, Ph.D., vice provost for student life at Creighton University, first attended in 2010, when she served as an associate vice president. In reflecting on this year’s Seminar, she said, “The Jesuit Leadership Seminar was an inspirational experience that encouraged engagement, reflection and self-awareness. I partook in many critical and heart-felt conversations with my colleagues from across the country as we learned more about the Jesuit tradition that guides us in our work as leaders in service to our campuses and communities.”
Speakers at this year’s Seminar included Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., president of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities; Antoine M. Garibaldi, Ph.D., president of the University of Detroit Mercy; Eugene J. Cornacchia, Ph.D., president of Saint Peter’s University; and Chris Lowney, best-selling author and motivational speaker. Several Jesuit scholastics attended, including Timothy O'Brien, S.J., who served on two panels. Noted Jesuit historian Rev. John O’Malley, S.J. spoke at the Seminar on the Ignatian tradition, and also celebrated a milestone: his 90th birthday.
In addition to hearing from speakers and panels, participants had opportunities to attend daily Mass celebrated by the Jesuit speakers and participants, and to tour both Loyola’s Madonna della Strada Chapel and Institute of Environment Sustainability. An evening reception was held at Loyola’s downtown Water Tower campus, allowing attendees to experience campus life in downtown Chicago.
Several participants from this year’s Seminar offered testimonials to its program and faculty:
In reflecting on the Seminar, Lord said, “I'm grateful to Fr. Sheeran and to the presidents and mission officers of Jesuit colleges and universities for their support of the Seminar; to our participants, who are such extraordinary partners in the work of Jesuit higher education; and to our program coordinator, Kevin Sullivan. We're already looking forward to 2018!”