By Deanna Howes Spiro, Director of Communications, AJCU


The past two months have been unexpectedly challenging for all of us at AJCU. In January, our former president, Rev. Charles L. Currie, S.J., passed away and just four weeks later, our vice president for federal relations, Cyndy Littlefield, died. Fr. Currie and Cyndy were among the AJCU network’s greatest champions for Jesuit higher education and are sorely missed (tributes are available on our website for both Fr. Currie and Cyndy; we will celebrate Cyndy’s life with a memorial service at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Washington, D.C. on Saturday, April 6 at 10:30 AM).

It was, admittedly, a little strange to edit this issue of Connections, knowing that we wouldn’t have a Federal Relations report from Cyndy. But thankfully, our new interim vice president for federal relations, Scott Fleming, agreed to take on this task and has produced a comprehensive update on what to expect in the upcoming reauthorization process of the Higher Education Act (HEA). Scott will be with us through the end of May, and will provide updates again in March and May (we will not be publishing in April).

In addition to our Federal Relations report, this issue of Connections features five articles on interdisciplinary programs and collaborations being conducted at Georgetown University, Marquette University, Gonzaga University and Creighton University. The fifth article offers an international take on interdisciplinary scholarship: it features the work of the Bollandist Society, a Jesuit institution based in Brussels whose members specialize in objective hagiography, the study of saints based on established facts. The Bollandists are few in number and use their niche expertise to conduct research for the Acta Sanctorum, a comprehensive anthology on the lives of the saints. As part of a new plan for modernization, the Bollandists are seeking to increase their exposure in the United States through an interactive Facebook page, coverage in America, and presentations at Jesuit colleges, universities and high schools.

After a tumultuous winter, we are looking forward to what we hope will be a happier spring. All of us at AJCU are grateful for your prayers over the past two months, and thank you for your unending support.