Remarks upon receiving Spirit of Ignatius Award
- Ida Androwich, BSN ’78, PhD, RN-BC, FAAN
- Remarks upon receiving Spirit of Ignatius Award Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing Blessing of the Hands Mass and Alumni Awards Brunch June 6, 2015 Mundelein Center
Greetings - Thank you.
Thank you - Dean Keough for those immensely kind comments and for your ongoing support. Thank you to my friends and colleagues who have helped to create the rich environment that nourished me here at Loyola for nearly 40 years.
I feel that I should begin my remarks by saying how incredibly delighted I am to receive this Spirit of Ignatius Award. I am also very humbled to be recognized in this way by the MNSON Alumni.
So, as I reflected on what this meant and what remarks, I would like to make –two themes came to me. So I will focus my comments on these areas, Alumni and the Spirit of St Ignatius.
In the first, I considered what it is to be an Alumna of Loyola’s University School of Nursing. What does that mean?
My first introduction to the Niehoff Alumni Association was during Dean Julia Lane’s course in Professional Development, when I was a “BSN completion” student in 1978. The class was required and was considerately offered on Friday afternoon from 4 to 5. In addition to developing our resumes, we had a number of guest speakers.
One of these was Kathy Blanchfield, the President of the Alumni Association. She reminded us how important it was to stay in contact through with our school. I took this to heart, as I did Mary Ann McDermott’s advice to go to the U of I and get my masters and come back and teach.
As a new faculty member, I frequently participated in the Alumni Phonathons calling alums. I admit to “cherry picking,” scanning the list for fellow graduates and former students.
When I was teaching undergraduate clinicals in the early ‘80s, one manager asked me, “Where does Loyola ever get all these bright and dedicated students, each year, year after year?” Over the years I became aware that a part of this was the focus and clarity that informed their clinical or administrative practice, and both Sheila and I often commented that both in Chicago and across the country, Loyola alumna serve disproportionately in leadership roles.
I realized that there was something special, a distinct difference, in individuals who were educated at Loyola.
So, what is this difference? My answer, of course, is the Jesuit difference.
We know Loyola as Chicago’s Jesuit, Catholic University (some even say big J, little C!)
Thus my second focus is the St Ignatius’ Society of Jesus and the hallmarks of a Jesuit education:
1. A commitment to excellence – a passion for quality, a demand for rigor, often played out in seemingly interminable curriculum meetings…..
I often warn new students that they have not selected the easiest program as preparation for LEADING extraordinary lives, but they will be educationally prepared to make a difference.
2. A strong faith in God – portrayed in a broad acceptance of a variety of belief traditions, yet a critical sharpness in examining our own.
I see this as similar to our emphasis in InterProfessional Education. Working and respecting other disciplines, but secure in our nursing identity.
3. Service for Others – Social justice is deliberatively embodied and thoroughly integrated in our didactic and clinical courses and experiences.
Issues and potential issues are called out for students for reflection and incorporation into future practice.
A great example of this occurred when I was in clinical as a student. We attended a Mass for the handicapped, and an evening Square Dance for the Handicapped.
I brought two of my children to the square dance held at a community center, around 30 hundred on Addison on a frigid January night.
Amy danced with an older blind man, and Ed with a woman in a wheel chair. Life changing for us all – especially when we realized the man had left his south side home at noon on the bus to attend the dance.
4. Care for the Individual – cura personalis – what says that better than this characteristic that spans the others.
I have been incredibly fortunate to have experienced faculty colleagues serving as role models – you know who you are – who have agonized over how best to support a student or other faculty member, support a non-traditional approach to learning and generously giving of time and expertise.
These core values are real, freely on display, and I have had the great fortune and privilege to see them exemplified for nearly 40 years and for that I am truly appreciative.
I will remain connected to Loyola and will always have a special place for this great school.
I might note that I will need to become more ecumenical as this week I was asked to join the Board of my High School in Milwaukee, Dominican. (I suspect only because I outlasted any good sister who might have remembered me from those days!)
You see it took the Jesuits to turn me into a scholar!