Celebrating our Jesuit tradition of excellence

As the end of this relaxing summer approaches and we begin preparing for the start of another busy academic year filled with promise and hope for our students, I reflect on John Carroll’s Jesuit heritage. I also recognize that our prominence in the region and the world is demonstrated by our commitment to academic excellence, faith that does justice, and an engaged campus community.

I begin with an important milestone in our history. This year we celebrate our 130th anniversary of when the Society of Jesus established Saint Ignatius College in Cleveland on April 19, 1886. One-hundred-thirty years later, John Carroll continues to develop the potential of all our students so they will become the thought leaders, change agents, community builders, and ethical thinkers so desperately needed in today’s society. To commemorate our 130th anniversary, we invited alumni throughout the country to celebrate Founder’s Day, when graduates gathered to recall and share their life-changing Carroll experiences. Help us continue the Founder’s Day tradition by marking your calendars for April 19 to celebrate again.

This year is historic for the Society of Jesus because it will elect a new Father General to succeed Rev. Adolfo Nicolas, S.J., and lead the almost 17,000 Jesuits throughout the world. The general congregation, which is comprised of the heads of Jesuit provinces throughout the world and elected members, will convene on October 2 in Rome. JCU’s own, The Very Reverend Tim Kesicki, S.J., ’84, president of the United States Jesuit Conference, will participate in the election.

John Carroll is one of three Jesuit universities in the United States that was selected to undergo a pilot mission examen and identity reaffirmation process. After we hosted a visiting team of peer reviewers from the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities and received approval by the provincial last spring, we submitted materials to AJCU, which were then sent on to our general in Rome.

In this issue, you can read about the University’s leadership in the field of molecular medicine led by Jim Lissemore, Ph.D., and our historic leadership in seismology led by Frs. Frederick Odenbach, S.J., and Henry Birkenhauer, S.J., who helped build Carroll’s nationally known reputation in this field. You also can read about our dayhops and how the University Club fostered service and leadership by bringing many legendary rock bands to campus in the 1970s.

Continuing with the Jesuit theme, I’m proud we will be hosting The World Union of Jesuit Alumni (WUJA) Global Congress on our campus next summer from June 28 to July 2. This is the first time the global congress, which convenes every four years, will meet in the United States. All alumni of Jesuit schools – elementary, high school, colleges, and universities – throughout the world are invited to participate and discern how to promote peace and justice in a global and sustainable world in sessions led by Chris Lowney; Carlos Gianicolo, Ph.D.; Fr. Greg Boyle, S.J.; and Fr. Jose Mesa, S.J. to name a few. Frank Brady ’70 is a member of the Council of WUJA representing North America, and Dave Vitatoe, ’00, our executive director of alumni relations, is the University’s liaison for the organizing committee. I encourage you to attend this historic conference next summer immediately following Reunion Weekend, which has been moved to accommodate WUJA. Please note Reunion Weekend for classes ending in 7s and 12s will convene next June 23-25, 2017.

I close by offering St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Prayer for Generosity, which we pray individually and for the general congregation:
“Lord, teach me to be generous:
to serve you as you deserve;
to give and not to count the cost;
to fight and not heed the wounds;
to toil and not seek to rest;
to labor and to ask for no reward
save that knowing I do your will”

May God guide us as we continue to live the mission in the Jesuit tradition.


Robert L. Niehoff, S.J.

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