This month’s issue of Connections focuses on the 100th anniversary of Alpha Sigma Nu (ASN). AJCU enjoys very close ties with ASN, the honor society for Jesuit colleges and universities. For many years, AJCU and ASN have collaborated on the review and selection of the annual recipients of the Alpha Sigma Nu Book Awards, which recognize outstanding publishing achievement in the humanities and sciences by faculty and administrators at its 31 member Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, Canada and Korea. This year’s winners were announced this month; click here for the full list. We are proud to celebrate the many accomplishments of ASN members, and congratulate Executive Director Kate Gaertner and her colleagues on a very successful centennial conference at Marquette University last week!

October brought great excitement to our campuses for the inaugurations of four new presidents: Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J. of Creighton University; Dr. Timothy Law Snyder of Loyola Marymount University; Dr. Mark C. Reed of Saint Joseph’s University; and Dr. Christopher Puto of Spring Hill College. You will read more about their inaugurations in this issue of Connections.

Finally, in case you haven’t heard, we have launched our new website:! The site is mobile-friendly, easy to navigate, and features all of the information that you need about the 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities, and the services that AJCU provides for our members. We are proud to feature profiles of our prominent Jesuit alumni, as well as news on our blog, #JesuitEducated, on Medium. After a brief hiatus, we’re thrilled to share new reflections from students, alumni, faculty and staff. If you’re interested in submitting your reflection, please send it to me at We hope you enjoy the new lay-out for Connections too!

As mid-term season comes to an end, we wish you all a successful fall semester!

All the best,

Deanna I. Howes
Director of Communications, AJCU

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) spoke at the 2015 AJCU Federal Relations Network Conference, organized by AJCU Vice President for Federal Relations Cynthia Littlefield (right).

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA) spoke at the 2015 AJCU Federal Relations Network Conference, organized by AJCU Vice President for Federal Relations Cynthia Littlefield (right).


Saving Perkins Loans

Last October, the U.S. Department of Education extended the Perkins Loan Program for one year. Unfortunately, the General Education Policy Act (GEPA) does not allow for another year of extension, and on October 1, 2015, the program’s revolving fund would have to be recalled, thus ending the Perkins Loan Program.

In anticipation of the recall, the Campus-Based Aid Coalition (formerly known as the Perkins Loan Working Group, which AJCU organized in 2009), met regularly to strategize and negotiate with Members of Congress and their staff. Over the summer, Representative Louise Slaughter (D-CT) sent around a Dear Colleague letter with 95 signatures from both sides of the aisle supporting Perkins Loans. In addition, Representatives Mark Pocan (D-WI) and Luke Messer (R-IN) introduced a Perkins Resolution that would extend the program for one year. In September, with one month to go, H.R. 294 was introduced to push a bipartisan extension of Perkins Loans.

The House waited until the week of the deadline to bring Perkins Loans under suspension, which meant there could be no objections. On September 28th, the Perkins Resolution came up on the Floor and passed under Suspension. 

The drama then switched to the Senate side. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) was supportive of extending the Perkins Loan Program and worked behind the scenes to obtain support from Senate HELP Committee Chairman, Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) for the Resolution. When the Resolution was brought up on the Senate Floor, Senator Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) was the lead, followed by Senators Bob Casey (D-PA), Rob Portman (R-OH), Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), and Susan Collins (R-ME). But, Senator Alexander opposed the Resolution citing the high interest rate of 5% and no IBR (Income Based Repayment). The Unanimous Consent (UC) failed because of the one objection. 

After the defeat, meetings were held within days with supporters on Capitol Hill who articulated a strong desire to continue fighting for Perkins Loans. This remains a fluid situation, but at present, there is an effort to have another UC for Perkins Loans brought up on the Floor. 

Ted Mitchell, Under Secretary of the U.S. Department of Education, continues to insist that this recall will be a slow process led by the Department over a number of years. Jesuit institutions are encouraged to continue to dialogue with Senators and Members to save Perkins Loans and the Federal Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grant (SEOG) program.

AJCU Federal Relations Conference: October 7-8, 2015

Earlier this month, we hosted the eighteenth AJCU Federal Relations Conference, and joined members of the Committee for Education Funding (CEF) for their Legislative Conference and Gala. The CEF Conference featured several panels, including one with Congressional staff from the House budget and authorizing committees. Representative G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus, and Representative Rosa DeLauro (D-CT), Ranking Member on the Appropriations Subcommittee on Labor, H&HS and Education, also spoke about civil rights and funding challenges for higher education.

The CEF Gala was a great success, attended by 500 education advocates, officials, Congressional staff and supporters. Awards were given to Representative Nita Lowey (D-NY), Ranking Member of the Full Committee on House Appropriations; FCC Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel for her efforts to secure $1.5 billion in E-Rate Reductions; and John Forkenbock, former executive director of the National Association of Federally Impacted Schools (NAFIS).

The AJCU Federal Relations Conference was attended by over 30 representatives from 20 AJCU institutions. Two new Members, Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA), Member of the Senate HELP Committee, and Representative Mark DeSaulnier (D-CA), Member of the House Education and Workforce Committee, were featured speakers. Attendees had an eye-opening conversation on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act (HEA) with key Congressional staff including Bob Moran, higher education specialist with Senator Alexander on the HELP Committee; Jennifer Prescott representing Chairman John Kline’s (R-MN) House Education and Workforce Committee; and Jared Bass, Minority on the House Education and Workforce Committee, representing Representative Bobby Scott (D-VA). This discussion realized continued friction and difference of opinion on the “One-Grant, One-Loan” model with insistence on eliminating Perkins Loans.

It should be noted that the AJCU Conference was held in the U.S. Capitol building during the doomed Republican Caucus meeting where Representative Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) declared that he would not be running for Speaker of the House. News would float into our meeting with each new speaker about the status of this historic announcement.

For photos from the 2015 AJCU Federal Relations and CEF Conferences and Gala, please click here.

By Kate Gaertner, Executive Director, Alpha Sigma Nu

Alpha Sigma Nu (ASN), the honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities, marked its 100th anniversary on October 15-18, 2015, at its 33rd Triennial Conference, hosted by its founding institution, Marquette University. ASN’s Faculty Advisers, Board of Directors, Alumni Club presidents, and 55 of its student Chapter leaders heard from important voices in Jesuit higher education and from Jesuit social justice programs.  

“The theme – ASN: In the World for the Next Century: A Galvanizing Call to Action – reflects the goals of the conference,” said Patrick Cain, ASN Board President and Loyola Marymount University Regent. “We will commemorate the past, share the present, and chart the future of ASN. Our members, who model the ASN tenets of scholarship, loyalty and service, are those Jesuit-trained leaders who increasingly will be collaborators with the Jesuits on mission.”  

ASN Delegates at the 33rd Triennial Conference at Marquette University (Photo courtesy of ASN).

ASN Delegates at the 33rd Triennial Conference at Marquette University (Photo courtesy of ASN).


Conference delegates heard from Stephanie Russell, Ed.D., Vice President for Mission and Ministry at Marquette, who introduced a new video, “Expanding the Jesuit Higher Education Network – Collaborations for Social Justice,” which debuted at a meeting of international Jesuit higher education officials in Melbourne, Australia last July (available here on YouTube). The video outlines the global impact and reach of Jesuit higher education, especially in light of the Jesuit Superior General’s (Rev. Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.) focus on the power and potential of the Jesuit global network.

Two entrepreneurs from California (but both from very different fields) spoke to delegates about the power of living out ASN values every day. Homeboy Industries Founder and Executive Director, Rev. Gregory Boyle, S.J., spoke about ways that individual action can change the world, and how compassion can help us to see how we are all connected to each other. Charles Geschke, Ph.D., Founder and Chairman of the Board for Adobe Systems, Inc., and former Chair of the Board of Trustees at the University of San Francisco, explained how to balance the pursuit of professional success, while always being guided by Ignatian ideals.

On October 16th, delegates joined students at the new Cristo Rey High School (CRHS) in Milwaukee for a service project. CRHS students and ASN student leaders enjoyed the opportunity to connect and converse, and find ways that ASN Chapters, Clubs, and individual members could support their local Cristo Rey Network high schools.

AJCU Presidents Panel at Marquette University (Photo courtesy of ASN).

AJCU Presidents Panel at Marquette University (Photo courtesy of ASN).


On October 17th, Rev. Michael Sheeran, S.J., President of the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities (AJCU), Rev. John Fitzgibbons, S.J., President of Regis University, and Michael R. Lovell, Ph.D., President of Marquette University spoke on a panel about “Jesuit Higher Education and Alpha Sigma Nu in the 21st Century: Challenges, Opportunities, Imperatives.” They discussed Jesuit higher education as formation, training ground, and a guide to navigating the modern world; the power of our collective Jesuit alumni harnessed in the quest for social justice; and, the specific role of ASN in producing Jesuit-trained leaders committed to the Jesuit mission.

That commitment to mission was outlined concretely by “Members for Life: Collaborating with the Jesuits on Mission,” a panel featuring three leaders of Jesuit programs. Timothy Shriver, the newly appointed President of the Jesuit Volunteer Corps (JVC), discussed not only how ASN Chapters can support JVC recruitment, but also how alumni can support JV communities.

Mary McGinnity, Executive Director of the Ignatian Volunteer Corps (IVC), discussed ways that ASN and IVC could collaborate together. Christopher Kerr, Executive Director of the Ignatian Solidarity Network, discussed ways that all ASN members can join this national network to address social justice issues and live a life-long commitment to the “service of faith and the promotion of justice.”

“We thank these Jesuit leaders for addressing the Centennial Conference,” said Kate Gaertner, ASN’s Executive Director. “ASN delegates will consider all they have learned from this conference as they strategize and plan student Chapter programs, Alumni Club events, and outreach efforts to all members. We look forward to the next 100 years of ASN, as members become Ignatian-inspired leaders and collaborators on Jesuit mission.”

By Kristin E. Etu, Assistant Director of Public Relations, Canisius University

Canisius University Seal-blue&gold.jpg

Three Canisius College alumni are recipients of Magis Medals from Alpha Sigma Nu (ASN), the national Jesuit honor society, in celebration of its centennial anniversary. Frederick G. Attea ’61, Robert M. Greene ’66 and Megan Brenner-Zwara ’10 were among 100 Alpha Sigma Nu members to receive Magis Medals. The honor is given to those members who truly live out the values of Alpha Sigma Nu.

ASN recognizes those who distinguish themselves in scholarship, loyalty and service. The only honor society permitted to bear the name Jesuit, Alpha Sigma Nu encourages its members to a lifetime pursuit of intellectual development, deepening Ignatian spirituality, service to others and a commitment to the core principles of Jesuit education.

Frederick G. Attea was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu in 1960. A partner at the law firm of Phillips Lytle LLP, Attea is engaged in securities and corporate practice with an emphasis on mergers and acquisitions, securities law, corporate governance and legal compliance programs. He serves on the board of directors of Read to Succeed Buffalo, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing early childhood literacy and third grade reading scores. Attea is a member of the Bishop’s Lay Advisory Board for the Catholic Diocese of Buffalo, NY and a member of committees serving Catholic education. He has dedicated his life to the ethical treatment of employees and allowed his Jesuit beliefs to guide him in all areas of his life. Attea has served on the Board of Trustees of Nativity Miguel Middle School (a Jesuit school) since 2008. He has given back by volunteering with the students and purchasing equipment for the school’s two campuses.

Robert M. Greene is also a partner at Phillips Lytle LLP. He was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu in 1965. Greene visited Haiti for the first time in 2001 as part of a medical team with the Catholic Health System and the Sisters of Mercy. Since then, he has traveled to Haiti more than 20 times, volunteering in a variety of capacities. When the devastating earthquake struck Haiti in 2010, Greene became involved in fundraising for an orphanage for young girls on the outskirts of Port-au-Prince. Now completed, the orphanage is home for 240 girls with on-campus primary and secondary education. Greene is the current director and former president of the Notre Dame Law Association, director and chair emeritus of the Western New York Public Broadcasting Association, director of the Global Health Ministry (Trinity Health) and a trustee of the WNED Foundation and the Foundation of the Zoological Society of Buffalo. He served four terms on the Board of Trustees of Canisius College, two terms as chair.  

Brenner-Zwara is the Western New York recruitment coordinator for AmeriCorps Build Lives through Education (ABLE). She was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu in 2009. Zwara served as a Jesuit volunteer in Sacramento, CA, where she worked as a teacher’s assistant and music teacher at a small, Catholic elementary school. She spent a second year in service with AmeriCorps VISTA as a member of the SERVE New York program in Buffalo, NY. With AmeriCorps, Zwara worked at EPIC – Every Person Influences Children as a families-intransition military program assistant. She researched and created partnerships with local agencies that work with military families and veterans in Western New York.

By Rick Davis, Director of Communications, Creighton University

Charles Thomas, Jr.

Charles Thomas, Jr.


Charles Thomas Jr. and his best friend, Akil Goodman, two promising high school athletes, sat in a restaurant in their hometown of Flint, Mich., discussing a future beyond the violence of the inner city, when a man approached their table.

“Hey, I heard you guys talking,” said the man, whom they didn’t know.

“It’s all good to think that you’re going to do all these things in life. But one of you will be dead by the time you’re 25 and the other will be in jail by the time you’re 35.”  

“We just kind of looked at him and said, ‘Whatever, man,’” recalls Thomas, who was 17 at the time. “And he walked off, and that was it.”

The man’s words would be somewhat prophetic.

Goodman would be shot and killed outside a Flint nightclub in 2006, at the age of 24.

Thomas would go on to earn two degrees from Creighton University, as well as degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Texas-San Antonio.

He has never been incarcerated, but in a twist on the stranger’s words, Thomas spent time in jail before his 35th birthday – as a volunteer life-skills teacher with Opportunities, Alternatives and Resources (OAR) of Fairfax County, Inc. The nonprofit restorative justice/human services organization in Fairfax, VA works with inmates so that they can rebuild their lives once they are released. This summer, Thomas was named chairman of the board of OAR.

“At the time, Akil and I were walking down very similar roads,” Thomas said. “I went right; he went left. His journey took him to the graveyard, and my journey has taken me here.”

Thomas had earned an undergraduate degree from Notre Dame and was beginning graduate school when his friend was killed. The news hit him hard. He would turn to alcohol for relief. Everyday life was a struggle.

But there were those dreams. The dreams that Goodman and Thomas had shared at the restaurant that night. He couldn’t let his friend down.

He returned to school – earning a MBA from UT-San Antonio in 2007; a master’s degree in negotiation and dispute resolution from Creighton in 2009; and, in 2014, an Ed.D. in leadership from Creighton.
He excelled in the classroom. In 2013, he was inducted into Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society, during a ceremony on Creighton’s campus. And, this year, he was named one of 100 recipients of Alpha Sigma Nu’s Magis Medal – which honors outstanding members in celebration of its centennial anniversary.

“Dr. Thomas is an extraordinary young reflective leader who has a gift for inspiring and transforming the people he meets,” said Isabelle Cherney, Ph.D., director of Creighton’s Interdisciplinary Ed.D. Program in Leadership.

Thomas is also active in the community. In addition to his work with OAR, he’s involved with the Future Fund, a local philanthropic organization, and serves as treasurer of the board for Leadership Fairfax, a community-based leadership development organization.

The Fairfax Chamber of Commerce honored Thomas as the 2015 Emerging Influential Leader of the Year in Northern Virginia; The Network Journal, a quarterly publication for black professionals and business leaders, named him a national 40-under-40 honoree; and he was the keynote speaker at this year’s Ed.D. new-student orientation event at Creighton. “He captivated and touched every individual in the audience,” Cherney said of the talk. 

“The awards are cool,” Thomas said, but he finds the real rewards are in serving others. He said he’s developed a connection with the students at the county jail in Northern Virginia.

“They say, ‘You know what Dr. C? You’re just like us – minus the green jumpsuit,” he said with a laugh.

Thomas played basketball at Powers Catholic High School in Flint and was a walk-on at Notre Dame, eventually earning a scholarship. He wears a three-piece suit, with a bow tie, when he first meets with students at the jail, “just to establish credibility.” But, by the third class, it’s basketball shorts and T-shirts, exposing his tattoos.

“I’ve never been in jail, but I understand their journey,” Thomas said. “I know what the streets are like, but I wasn’t consumed by the streets. I’ve never claimed to be a thug, by any means. I’ve never sold drugs, but I have an appreciation for what that world is like because I grew up there.”

The OAR program that Thomas teaches focuses on life skills – with classes on communication, financial literacy, decision-making and mental health. But Thomas, who’s been involved with the program since 2013 and turned 35 in May, isn’t afraid to expand the curriculum.

“We talk about things from Aristotle and Plato to negotiation and conflict management to what happened in Ferguson, Mo. (with the racial unrest),” said Thomas.

“I am not judgmental. I very much see parts of myself in them and see parts of them in me. But I see the better version. Even though they are incarcerated, I see what could be.”

Thomas works full time as a project leader at LMI, a government consulting firm headquartered in Tysons, VA. In 2012, he published a memoir on his life, titled Scars, Exile and Vindication: My Life as an Experiment. He visited some ten states on a book-signing tour, but the best part, he says, was that it brought him closer to his dad, who was recently diagnosed with early-onset Alzheimer’s disease.

“We had like a three-and-a-half-hour talk,” after the book came out, Thomas said. “My dad told me he loved me and was proud of me that day. I had never heard him say that before.”

One of Thomas’ favorite quotes is from Maya Angelou: “When you learn, teach. When you get, give.” He also finds inspiration and motivation in the directive from St. Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, to “Go forth and set the world on fire.”

Thomas said, “With whatever time we have on this planet, I think we’re obligated to give and to be the best that we can be.”

By Chris Gosier, Special Projects Writer, Office of Marketing and Communications, 
Fordham University

Above: Kate Gaertner, executive director of Alpha Sigma Nu, presents the ASN Chapter award to Rachel Mae Aguilar, the 2014-15 president of the Fordham ASN chapter, and Jeremy Fague, the chapter’s incoming 2015-16 president. Photo by Chris Tagga…

Above: Kate Gaertner, executive director of Alpha Sigma Nu, presents the ASN Chapter award to Rachel Mae Aguilar, the 2014-15 president of the Fordham ASN chapter, and Jeremy Fague, the chapter’s incoming 2015-16 president. Photo by Chris Taggart, Fordham University.


In September 2014, as they began their senior year, the leaders of Fordham University’s Alpha Sigma Nu chapter set out to uphold the honor society’s traditional tenets of scholarship, loyalty, and service. 

But they also had a fourth priority in mind: visibility. 

For an organization that embodies the core values of Jesuit education, Alpha Sigma Nu had quite the low profile on campus, according to student leaders who said they’d heard little about it before being invited to apply. To address that, they joined with other service groups on and off campus and found novel ways to put Alpha Sigma Nu in the path of students to ensure it was noticed more often. 

This past May, Fordham won Alpha Sigma Nu’s Chapter of the Year Award, thanks in part to the students’ efforts to widen the chapter’s impact. The leaders have also positioned the chapter for a more active role at the University in the years ahead.

“We wanted to increase the visibility so hopefully more students would know about us before junior year [when qualifying students are invited to apply],” said Michael Charboneau, a 2015 Fordham graduate and Alpha Sigma Nu vice president for the University’s Rose Hill campus in 2014-15. If more students are seeking out the chapter’s events, “that definitely contributes to the longer-term vitality of the organization on campus,” he said. 

The national honor society of Jesuit colleges and universities, Alpha Sigma Nu inducts students as juniors based on their academic achievement, service work, and commitment to the ideals of Jesuit education. Fordham’s chapter has 129 student members along with alumni members in the thousands. A selection committee approves new members; at Fordham, they apply after receiving an e-mail during their junior year.

But students should also be encouraged to take an interest in the group before then, chapter leaders said.  

“We’re doing great things, so we’re trying to integrate the younger [students] to at least know what we’re doing and know who we are and then, if they do qualify, apply,” said Rachel Mae Aguilar, chapter president in 2014-15 and a 2015 graduate of Fordham. 

The chapter’s service work reflects this higher-profile approach. Last year, the student group held several service events, including a haunted house for Bronx schoolchildren that took place in a Rose Hill campus residence hall. They collaborated on the event with Part of the Solution, a social service agency in the Bronx.

Other new events were designed to catch Fordham students’ attention. Chapter members set up KanJam and Corn Hole games on the Rose Hill campus, asking student passers-by to donate a dollar for charity before taking a turn with the Frisbee or beanbag. Late one night during finals week, they surprised students preparing for exams at the University Library by bringing them milk, cookies, and notes of encouragement—“almost a guerilla marketing campaign,” said Charboneau. 

In the spring, the chapter joined the Crotona Achievement Program, a mentoring organization in the Bronx, to teach middle school students about planting and composting at St. Rose’s, the University’s community garden. Last Christmas, members of the chapter joined Fordham’s University Choir to provide caroling and conversation at Murray-Weigel Hall, the retirement home for Jesuits located near the Rose Hill campus. 

At Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus, Alpha Sigma Nu members hosted a career fair (open to non-members) and worked with the Loaves and Fishes soup kitchen at the neighboring Church of St. Paul the Apostle. They served food, mingled with the clients, and listened to their stories, said Gianna Sciangula, the chapter’s vice president for the Lincoln Center campus and a 2015 Fordham graduate. 

“It was really eye-opening,” she said. “It was just sort of like, ‘This woman has kids, and this woman has multiple degrees and they still are suffering in New York City and coming here?’ It’s a sad reality, and it sort of made me think, ‘What more could I be doing? What more could we be doing as a society?’”

Her fellow chapter members found their Jesuit education deepened in other ways. When asked to speak about the tenet of scholarship at a chapter meeting, Charboneau focused on being grateful for the opportunity to study at Fordham in the first place. 

“Being asked to sit down and talk about the value of scholarship and what that means was really enlightening for me,” he said. “It kind of renewed my commitment to learning and to really being mindful of what I’m there to do.” 

Aguilar said she joined as a way to give back before leaving Fordham, and appreciated that the chapter’s faculty adviser—Rosemary DeJulio, Ph.D., who retired this year as assistant to the University president—gave them such latitude to craft events. 

“Everyone has a different idea of what service and loyalty and community means to them,” Aguilar said. “That’s part of the fun of being in Alpha Sigma Nu; you get to choose something that’s important to you and you get to run with it.”

By Angeline Boyer, Manager of Media Relations, Saint Peter’s University

2014-15 ASN inductees at Saint Peter's University include Nelchael Antoine '16, Sherif Elkattawy '15, Siobham Gordon '15, Thuchni Nguyen '15, Michelle Perez '16, Mark D. Perry '15, Christina Petrelis '16, Lauren Squillante '16, Nathalie Staiger '15,…

2014-15 ASN inductees at Saint Peter’s University include Nelchael Antoine ’16, Sherif Elkattawy ’15, Siobham Gordon ’15, Thuchni Nguyen ’15, Michelle Perez ’16, Mark D. Perry ’15, Christina Petrelis ’16, Lauren Squillante ’16, Nathalie Staiger ’15, Christian Ugaz ’16 and Greta Bogel ’15. Honorary inductees include Eugene Flinn ’80, Joyce Flinn and Peter Gotlieb (Photo courtesy of Saint Peter’s).


Saint Peter’s University has a multitude of national honor society chapters that recognize the achievements of students in a wide-range of programs and fields. However there is only one honor society on campus that acknowledges students who have not only excelled in their coursework, but have also embraced the ideals of a Jesuit education: Alpha Sigma Nu. 

Alpha Sigma Nu acknowledges students who distinguish themselves in scholarship and demonstrate loyalty to the ideals of a Jesuit education. Members are students who attend one of the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States, Regis and Campion Colleges in Canada, or Sogang University in Seoul, South Korea. Induction into Alpha Sigma Nu is one of the highest honors that can be given on a Jesuit campus. Eligibility is open to juniors, seniors and graduate students who are in the top 15 percent of their class academically and are dedicated to Jesuit values.

“In order to be inducted into any honor society on campus, students must be extremely dedicated to their academics,” said Rev. Michael Braden, S.J., vice president for mission and ministry at Saint Peter’s University. “The Saint Peter’s students who are members of Alpha Sigma Nu have not only invested time and effort to their studies, but have also carved out time from their demanding schedules to explore the significance of a Jesuit education.”

The Alpha Sigma Nu chapter at Saint Peter's in 2010. Pictured from left to right: Rev. Michael Braden, S.J., Alisha Chitrakar '10, Mariya Marinova '10, Gary Young '10, Jacob Hayden '10, Rezma Shrestha '10, Peaches Dela Paz '10 and Veronica Graveline…

The Alpha Sigma Nu chapter at Saint Peter’s in 2010. Pictured from left to right: Rev. Michael Braden, S.J., Alisha Chitrakar ’10, Mariya Marinova ’10, Gary Young ’10, Jacob Hayden ’10, Rezma Shrestha ’10, Peaches Dela Paz ’10 and Veronica Graveline ’10. (Photo courtesy of Saint Peter’s)


Alpha Sigma Nu has a long history with Saint Peter’s and the efforts and activities of the chapter have grown in the past few decades. One major player in these efforts was former chapter president, Jacob Hayden ’10. 

In his senior year at Saint Peter’s, Hayden was named president of the Alpha Sigma Nu chapter. Alpha Sigma Nu hosts triennial conferences in which all chapter presidents are invited to attend and 2009 happened to be a conference year. Hayden attended the conference at Saint Louis University and had the unique experience of meeting Alpha Sigma Nu members from all across the country. The conference inspired him to spread the Jesuit mission and message beyond the Alpha Sigma Nu members to the entire University upon his return.  

In March 2010, under Hayden’s direction, Saint Peter’s celebrated its first-ever Ignatian Heritage Week, designed to strengthen the Jesuit mission and principles upon which the University was founded. The week kicked off with a scavenger hunt to explore Ignatian symbols throughout the Jersey City campus. Other events included weightier fare such as a dramatic reading of The Witness, a one-act play about the murder of six Jesuits in El Salvador in 1989. The event also featured inspiring speakers such as Rev. Greg Boyle, S.J., founder of Homeboy Industries, who discussed his experiences working with inner city gangs and at-risk youth. Students also came together as a community and celebrated a Mass.

The tradition of Ignatian Heritage Week continues at Saint Peter’s, along with other Alpha Sigma Nu initiatives such as dinner with the Jesuits and meetings with the New York City Area Alpha Sigma Nu Alumni Club. 

Today, Hayden is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Seattle, studying for the priesthood at Mount Angel Seminary in Saint Benedict, Oregon. Prior to entering formation for the Archdiocese of Seattle, he taught at Bellarmine Preparatory School, a Jesuit high school in Tacoma, WA. In addition, he volunteered as a coordinator of youth ministry at Saint John of the Woods Church, where he led weekly youth group meetings and organized activities to enrich the faith life of high school-aged young people. He also served as a confirmation catechist and a Catholic chaplain at Pierce County Jail. 

Hayden credits his experience at Saint Peter’s and in Alpha Sigma Nu as an important step toward the path he is on today. “Saint Peter’s and Alpha Sigma Nu helped me to realize that I can succeed in leadership roles and empowered me to try new things, make mistakes, learn from them and be successful,” he said.

This year, Alpha Sigma Nu is celebrating its 100th anniversary. The centennial triennial conference was held at Marquette University on October 15-18 and in honor of this celebration, Alpha Sigma Nu awarded Magis Medals to 100 Alpha Sigma Nu members who best exemplify scholarship, loyalty and service in their work to better the world. Hayden is one of four members of the Saint Peter’s chapter who were honored. The additional honorees include Christopher Giorlando ’12, Jerome Bongiorno ’84 and Marylou Tibaldo-Bongiorno ’84.

Giorlando has worked with young people from the Appalachian Mountains to the inner-city of Brooklyn. He is dedicated to serving under-resourced schools in high-poverty areas and was a member of the Magis Catholic Teacher Corps, a two-year service teaching program at Creighton University. He is currently serving abroad for the Peace Corps.

Bongiorno and Tibaldo-Bongiorno are a husband and wife team of Emmy-nominated award-winning filmmakers who focus their lens on social justice issues. Their critically-acclaimed 3Rs Documentary Trilogy on urban America does just that, examining the microcosm of their home city of Newark, N.J. The trilogy includes Revolution ’67, The Rule and Rust, which focused on issues such as the 1967 Newark riots, the success of Benedictine monks with inner city minority youths and solutions to reducing inner city poverty.  

The members of the Alpha Sigma Nu chapter at Saint Peter’s have made a lasting impact on the entire University through their dedication to Ignatian spirituality. While their influence is enduring on campus, it has also spread beyond the institution. From education to religion to social justice issues and more, these leaders have raised the bar in countless fields and are making a substantial impact on the world.

By Deanna I. Howes, Director of Communications, AJCU

This fall, four Jesuit institutions hosted inaugurations for their new presidents. We are pleased to welcome these men as the newest members of the AJCU Board of Directors!

Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, S.J. with former Creighton presidents Rev. Timothy Lannon, S.J.(left) & Rev. John Schlegel, S.J. (right). Photo by Creighton University.

Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, S.J. with former Creighton presidents Rev. Timothy Lannon, S.J.(left) & Rev. John Schlegel, S.J. (right). Photo by Creighton University.


Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., Creighton University

Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J. is the 25th president of Creighton University. A Nebraska native, Fr. Hendrickson earned his B.A. in psychology and theology from Marquette University in 1993 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1994. He received his M.A. in philosophical resources from Fordham University, a Master of Divinity degree from the Jesuit School of Theology at Santa Clara University, and M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from Columbia University.

Earlier this month, Creighton University produced a video about a poem that holds great significance to Fr. Hendrickson, and served as the theme for his inauguration: “As Kingfishers Catch Fire, Dragonflies Draw Flame” by the celebrated Jesuit poet, Rev. Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. Click here to watch the video online, which features the full text to the poem.

Fr. Hendrickson referred to the poem toward the end of his inaugural address on Friday, October 2nd: “Allow me to end with the concluding words of our inaugural theme. They come from the Jesuit priest and poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins who, faith-filled, passionate, and personal, and recognizing our call to greatness, simply says of any one of us, “I say more.”

It is something Creighton has always said: “I say more.” As a student, a teacher, and a trustee, this is quite clear – Creighton keeps saying, “I say more.” And today, in my new role, and as your new president, I do likewise. With the faculty, staff, and students of this prestigious place of higher learning, and joined by alumni and longtime friends of this institution, and for these groups and individuals and how Christ plays in ten thousand places, lovely in limbs, and lovely in eyes not his, through the features of Creighton faces, ‘I say more.’”

Click to read Fr. Hendrickson’s full biography on the AJCU website, and here to visit the Creighton inauguration webpage.

Dr. Timothy Law SNyder, Ph.D. Photo by Loyola Marymount University.

Dr. Timothy Law SNyder, Ph.D. Photo by Loyola Marymount University.


Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., Loyola Marymount University

Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D. was named the 16th president of Loyola Marymount University (LMU) in March 2015 and assumed his responsibilities on June 1, 2015. Dr. Snyder has been a professor and administrator for more than 20 years at Jesuit institutions, most recently as vice president for academic affairs at Loyola University Maryland from 2007-14. He was also dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University from 2001-07, and dean of science at Georgetown University from 1995-99.

Dr. Snyder was inaugurated on Tuesday, October 6th. Click on the titles below to view webcasts of the ceremony, Mass of the Holy Spirit and pre-inaugural lecture:

Inauguration Ceremony
Mass of the Holy Spirit
Inauguration Lecture: Science, Religion and the Cosmic Future (by John F. Haught, Distinguished Research Professor, Georgetown University)

Other highlights from Dr. Snyder’s inauguration included a welcome from Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Eighth Secretary-General of the United Nations, and video greetings from LMU students and alumni across the country.

Click to read Dr. Snyder’s full biography on the AJCU website, and here to watch a video about his life and career in Jesuit higher education.

Dr. Mark C. Reed, Photo by Saint Joseph's University.

Dr. Mark C. Reed, Photo by Saint Joseph’s University.


Mark C. Reed, Ed.D., Saint Joseph’s University

Dr. Mark C. Reed served for 15 years in progressive senior leadership roles at Fairfield University – including senior vice president for administration and chief of staff, interim vice president for university advancement, vice president for student affairs and dean of students – prior to being named the 28th president of Saint Joseph’s University in 2015. He holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Fairfield University, a master’s degree in secondary educational administration from Boston College, a MBA from Fairfield, and a doctorate in higher education management from the University of Pennsylvania.

In his inaugural remarks on Friday, September 18th, Dr. Reed suggested that the Saint Joseph’s community look to Pope Francis as an example of someone who personifies the Magis in all his actions. He said, “Francis appears – at least to me anyway – to reject or stymie attempts to be typecast or forced into a set of only binary choices on many important topics and questions. Said another way, he is a leader who embodies symbolism, does nuance well, and is sincerely authentic.

“So what does all of this mean for us as a Saint Joseph’s University community? In the interest of brevity and expediency, let me suggest three things: First, as we move forward as a University community, let’s commit to following Francis’ example individually and collectively. Second, we must challenge ourselves to be open to the possibilities – however energizing or unsettling – to which the examination of our individual and collective consciences can lead.

“Third, let’s explore together key questions about our individual and collective motivations, pledge to approach institutional problems with a sense of personal detachment from the outcome (asking primarily then what is for the greater good of Saint Joseph’s University), and test our assumptions so that we do not confuse the means with the end. 

“Let these three things be defining characteristics of SJU’s culture and community.  Let these be our way of proceeding.”

Click to read Dr. Reed’s full biography on the AJCU website, and here to visit the Saint Joseph’s inauguration webpage. 

Chairman of the Spring Hill College Board Michael Coghlan presents Dr. Puto with the SHC presidential medallion. Photo by Spring Hill College.

Chairman of the Spring Hill College Board Michael Coghlan presents Dr. Puto with the SHC presidential medallion. Photo by Spring Hill College.


Christopher P. Puto, Ph.D., Spring Hill College

Dr. Christopher P. Puto assumed the office as the 37th president of Spring Hill College on June 1, 2015. Dr. Puto graduated from Spring Hill College in 1964 with a degree in economics. He earned a MBA in marketing from the University of Miami and a Ph.D. in business administration with a concentration in marketing from Duke University. He served Spring Hill College as a member of the Board of Trustees from 2003 to 2012.

In his inaugural address on Thursday, September 17th, Dr. Puto reflected on his position as the first non-Jesuit president to lead Spring Hill, and the direction in which he plans to take the College. He said, “The values I experienced as a student here in 1964: That the purpose of a Jesuit education is to provide knowledge to be put to use Ad majorem Dei gloriam inque hominum salutem – for the greater glory of God and the well-being of humankind – these were the same values in place here in 1864 and will be firmly in place for those who graduate from here in 2064.

“We will continue to educate the whole person – mind, body, and spirit – what we all know as Cura Personalis. We will use technology – not to deliver education – but rather to enhance the educational experience that is unique to a Catholic, Jesuit, Liberal Arts Residential College.”

Click here to read Dr. Puto’s full biography on the AJCU website, and here to read his full inaugural address online.