By Deanna Howes Spiro, Director of Communications, AJCU


One of the characteristics that defines a Jesuit college or university is the inclusion of philosophy in its core curriculum. Though the number of required courses may differ from school to school, philosophy remains an essential part of the student experience of becoming Jesuit-educated.

Although we touched upon philosophy in my all-girls Catholic high school, I wasn’t truly immersed in the subject until my freshman year at Fordham University, when I took Philosophy of Human Nature to help fulfill my core curriculum requirement. I was, admittedly, skeptical about taking this course: even though I intentionally chose to go to a Jesuit school, I was much more interested in taking communication courses in the media capital of the world, in order to fulfill my major.

But in many ways, this particular philosophy course (and the one that I took my sophomore year, Philosophical Ethics) was one of the most useful and impactful courses that I took in my four years at Fordham. It helped that I had a great professor (Katherine Kirby), but it was the subject matter that opened my eyes to new ways of thinking and writing. I always loved writing, but this class helped me to become more thoughtful and mature in the ways that I approached my essays, my research and even my ability to rhyme (yes, I competed in a freestyle rap competition at Fordham my freshman year!). I came to appreciate how philosophy is one of the ways that professors at Jesuit schools teach their students to be more just, ethical and empathetic leaders, attuned to the needs of others.

In this issue of Connections, you will learn about the Philosophy, Politics and the Public Honors Program at Xavier University; the role of the Chair of Ignatian Thought and Imagination at Regis University; interdisciplinary philosophy courses at Rockhurst University; and ways that philosophy professors at Le Moyne College and Seattle University explore diversity in all its forms. I hope that you enjoy learning about these programs and courses as much as I did—it certainly took me back to my freshman year at Fordham!

On behalf of all of us at AJCU, I wish you a meaningful Advent season and a wonderful Christmas and New Year!