LOYOLA FACULTY MEMBER OF THE YEAR
Diane Geraghty, J.D.
Faculty Convocation - September 13, 2009
On the occasion of my favorite law professor's retirement he told the following story.
Upon his death he was delighted to find himself transported back into his favorite classroom filled to the brim with students. In his pleasure, he exclaimed aloud - "I must be in heaven and you are my eternal reward!" To which a student in the back row replied - "No, Professor, you misunderstand. This is not heaven and we are not your reward. This is hell and you are our eternal punishment."
Well, none of us knows for certain what eternity holds for us, but as for now, I can think of no greater reward for a teacher than to be named Loyola's Faculty Member of the Year. Of all the awards I have received none, none, means more to me than this because it goes to the very core of what I have aspired to in my professional life and because, as President Garanzini observed, it is a precious gift from my colleagues.
This award has given me an opportunity to reflect on how fortunate we are to be faculty members in this University. We have been given a sacred trust, in the word's of Loyola's new strategic plan, "to prepare young men and women with those habits of mind and heart that will enable them to meet the great challenges of their day and assist them in their quest for truth, for faith, and in their struggle to create a more just society for and with their fellow citizens."
One of the great pleasures of teaching at Loyola over the last three decades has been the opportunity to work in concert with faculty not only in the law school but throughout the university in our collective pursuit of a more just society for children and families, the essential building block of all societies and a value espoused by all faiths. The discipline of children's law in particular is inherently interdisciplinary. One cannot truly prepare students to serve the interests of children and families without exposing them to the research, literature, and insights of other disciplines, not just psychology and social work and education, but other fields, such as medicine and economics and the sciences. In carrying out this work, my colleagues and I have been witness to and received sustenance from the Catholic intellectual tradition upon which Loyola stands and seeks to build. We are all privileged to be part of an institution that characterizes it mission as "transformative education."
Let me close by commenting on the values we share as faculty members not just at Loyola but everywhere in the world. The word "university," roughly translated (and with apologies to Latin scholars in the audience), refers to a "community of teachers and scholars." The universality of this concept was recently brought home to me as I walked through the library of a university in Ethiopia near the Somali border. There I saw a blind law student, wearing a headscarf, and hunched over the one law school text in the library in Braille, so different in time and space from out experience at Loyola, and yet so clearly a member of that same community of teachers and scholars engaged in the same search for knowledge and truth that we see as we walk through Loyola's Information Commons in this beautiful setting on this beautiful day.
Ours is a sacred trust, indeed.
Thank you again for this award and the honor it represents.