March 2013 has been an amazing time in the Roman Catholic Church. We had the first resignation of a pope in 700 years, and now we have the first Jesuit elected pope in the almost-500-year history of the Society of Jesus. I have heard from many excited Carroll alumni about the selection of a Jesuit to lead the Catholic Church. We were not expecting one of our brothers, Cardinal Jorge Maria Bergoglio, to be the first Jesuit pontiff, but we are confident his Ignatian spirituality will guide him during his ministry.
Pope Francis is creating an opportunity for the world to learn more about the Society, Jesuit education, and what it means to be men and women with and for others in the spirit of Saint Ignatius of Loyola. There will be much more to come as our new pontiff begins to shape and implement his vision, and I look forward to sharing those updates with you.
I hope the papal announcement helps all of us articulate the value of a Jesuit education more broadly – that our foundation of academic rigor has not only created leaders, but leaders driven by values, ethics, and integrity. Whether it was a philosophy class, a service learning experience, or another aspect of Jesuit education that began the transformation, we always emphasize the importance of thinking critically and having a broader, more global perspective. In short, our students learn how to think and solve problems. By drawing from multiple aspects of their liberal arts education in this way, generations of Carroll alumni have used their creativity and imagination to be effective leaders in many fields, including higher education.
Among our alumni, five individuals who got their start at Carroll now serve as college or university presidents (see page 20). It is interesting how much we have in common as higher education leaders and how much our Jesuit education has helped us discern and act on strategic issues affecting our institutions.
For example, encouraging our students to think beyond themselves is one of the areas we focus on – and to do that, we must educate them in mind, body, and spirit. Building character through service is a defining element of a Carroll education, and in choosing to make the commitment to serve the region and the world, we see thoughtful leadership skills emerge. Service learning inspires minds and transforms lives. You can read more about how that happens at Carroll on page 8.
We are not resting on our 125 years of tradition and success; rather, we are focused on innovation and building the next 125 years. From new health-care programs, internships, and partnerships to bringing more of a global focus in all we do, please know we are working to keep your alma mater strong and a place you are always proud to call home.
Yours in Christ,
Robert L. Niehoff, S.J.