Friday, June 19, 2009
Recently, I was appointed to St. Gregory's University's Board of Directors. Yesterday, I attended my first board function - an all day retreat, And, I came away inspired and very hopeful about the future of Catholic higher education, at least in Oklahoma. The day started with the University's Chancellor, Abbot Lawrence Stasyszen, O.S.B. providing an overview of St. Gregory's mission and vision. What was clear from the start was that St. Gregory's aspires to provide an integrated Catholic education in the fullest sense. Abbot Lawrence said that although the Board has a separate Committee on Mission Effectiveness, mission effectiveness ought to be a top or central priority for every committee. He said that the Catholic and Benedictine identity of the university must be intentionally fostered and not left to chance and must be present in every facet of the university. He pointed to Paragraph 49 of Ex Corde Ecclesiae (the Catholic university as "a living institutional witness to Christ and his message...") as a foundation for the work of the university. I look forward to contributing my small part to the development of this wonderful institution.
St. Gregory's is a small Catholic liberal arts university located in Shawnee, Oklahoma (with a College for Working Adults located in Tulsa, Oklahoma City, and Shawnee). Its fascinating history dates to the 1870's when the Citizen Potawatomi Nation asked the Benedictines to send priests to Indian Territory. The relationship between the Benedictines and the Citizen Potawatomi continues to this day with the current Chairman of the tribe serving on St. Gregory's board. (As an aside, both Jim Thorpe and Tony Hillerman were baptized by this group of Benedictine's in their Sacred Heart Mission in nearby Konawa, Ok).