By Deanna I. Howes, Director of Communications, AJCU
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Participants in the 2017 Jesuit leadership Seminar at Loyola University Chicago (Photo by Glenn Kaupert)



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.

Dr. Jeanne Lord (Photo by Glenn Kaupert



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.”

Group participants (Photo by Glenn Kaupert)



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:

The Seminar was an unparalleled opportunity to connect, reflect and grow. I relished this chance to learn from colleagues and discern how I can best embrace my professional vocation as a woman for and with others, refining my voice as a leader in Jesuit education and continuing to cultivate a habit of Magis in my day to day life. Surely, I will return to my notes and hastily jotted insights in the future! The week felt like a retreat, and I left the shores of Lake Michigan humbled, grateful, and fraught with hope as my fellow participants and I continue to endeavor forming as emerging leaders oriented toward creating a more just world.

— Marissa Corliss, Admissions Assistant, School of Theology and Ministry at Boston College

It was an honor to be one of a handful of faculty participants among our group of distinguished university personnel. One of my favorite parts of the conference was starting each day with the liturgy. It invited my heart to have a disposition for the day’s work. It also brought me closer to some of the Jesuits, especially Fr. James Voiss, who gave me some moving spiritual advice on the bus ride downtown. It was an enriching experience that invigorated my faith and love for work.

— Rolf J. Ryham, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Mathematics at Fordham University

Four years ago, I participated in the Jesuit Leadership Seminar as a newcomer. This year, I had the opportunity to revisit the experience in a twofold capacity: as an observer and as a faculty member or presenter. Once again, it was a rich experience. The setting, on the Lakeshore Campus of Loyola University Chicago, is, of course, stunning! The presentations offered a rich range of approaches to deepening our understanding of and appreciation for the mission of Jesuit higher education.

But perhaps what touched me most was the group of people assembled—participants and faculty alike. Women and men working in finance, student development, public safety, and the promotion of diversity on our campuses—the whole range of activities that comprise contemporary life on a Jesuit university campus—all were represented among the participants. This extraordinary gathering of colleagues from such diverse areas of expertise, but united in a desire to better understand and promote the mission of Jesuit higher education, laid the table for a veritable feast of conversation. It was exciting, challenging and enriching.

— Rev. James Voiss, S.J., Assistant Vice President for Mission at Gonzaga University

The Seminar recharged my batteries and provided space for reflection and valuable conversations with colleagues. How fortunate we are to work in a system interested not solely in the learning and personal development of its students, but of those at every level of its institutions.

— Kelly Welsh, Senior Director of Executive Communication at Saint Joseph’s University

Dr. Jeanne Lord, Rev. Michael J. Sheeran, S.J., Rev. John O’Malley, S.J., Randy Hopkins, Timothy O’Brien, S.J., Rev. Kevin O’Brien, S.J., Kevin Sullivan (Photo by Glenn Kaupert)



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!”

For more information about the Jesuit Leadership Seminar, please visit To view a full gallery of photos, please click here.