Leaders from Saint Louis University recently traveled to Chicago to take part in a historic meeting with the superior general of the Society of Jesus, Adolfo Nicolás, S.J.
Chairman of the SLU Board of Trustees J. Joe Adorjan; Interim President William R. Kauffman, J.D.; and President Emeritus Lawrence Biondi, S.J.; attended the meeting, which was hosted by the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities.
The summit, held Oct. 10-11 on the campus of Loyola University Chicago, was the culmination of a two-week visit to the United States by Nicolás, who was elected to his current position in 2008.
Presidents and board chairs from all 28 U.S. Jesuit colleges and universities attended, marking the first time these leaders had gathered in such a setting.
During his remarks, Nicolás shared his thoughts on Ignatian spirituality and encouraged greater collaboration amongst all Jesuit institutions, including those overseas. He also acknowledged the increasing role of the laity on Jesuit campuses — eight of the 28 current sitting presidents are laypeople.
"What made the event truly special was the chance to meet Father Nicolás and to have a candid dialogue on the challenges that Jesuit higher education faces today throughout the United States," Adorjan said.
In addition to the presidents and board chairs, the summit also drew representatives of the Jesuit Curia in Rome, a number of Jesuit provincials and the rectors of several Jesuit communities.
"I found it invigorating to begin my service as SLU's interim president by meeting with the presidents and board chairs of the other Jesuit colleges and universities," Kauffman said. "The opportunity to also meet with Father General Adolfo Nicolás truly was inspiring. It affirmed for me the distinctiveness of our Jesuit mission and what SLU is all about."
To learn more about the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, visit ajcunet.edu.