Taking Time to Listen
Dear Loyola Community,
Welcome back to a new semester at Loyola University Chicago. We come together as a community that has had an opportunity to refresh and reenergize and is now ready to reconnect, engage, and continue our work. We find ourselves better able to pause, actively listen to and learn from each other, reflect critically on ourselves and our communities, and find ways where we can continue to improve and grow. We push the frontiers and boundaries of our individual and collective knowledge and embrace opportunities to serve in our professional, academic, and personal spheres.
As we return to our work and mission, I encourage our community to take some time to honor and contemplate the ongoing struggle for social justice during the 2019 MLK Celebration at Loyola. This series of events, sponsored by the Executive Council for Diversity and Inclusion, focuses this year on “Addressing Disparity through Awareness, Advocacy, and Action.”
Keynote speaker at the Lake Shore and Water Tower campuses will be former White House Cabinet Secretary Broderick Johnson, chair of the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force, addressing social policy and racial justice. At the Health Sciences Campus, Dr. David Ansell, author of The Death Gap, will discuss the racial, social, and economic vectors that come together to create glaring inequity in health care access and health outcomes in Chicago. I encourage all to attend the presentations and participate in discussions and multi-faith celebrations during the week. I particularly encourage you to volunteer at one of many opportunities across the city on MLK Service Days on January 21 and 25.
As this new year of 2019 begins, we are completing our University-wide Mission Priority Examen. Throughout these community conversations, we have challenged ourselves to look deeply within and around us, and share perspectives on how we are fulfilling our Jesuit, Catholic mission in all of its dimensions. More than 700 faculty, students, staff, trustees, members of the Jesuit community, and alumni took part in more than 90 focus groups across campus. This broad and deep participation exemplifies how our community cares genuinely for this mission, its legacy, and its importance for our future. The written summary Examen that will be given to the Jesuit leadership will be shared with our community and will serve as a foundation and directional blueprint for Loyola’s next strategic plan.
In a time of rancorous division, confusing distraction, and global political strife, our Jesuit, Catholic mission and method of education has never been more vital. Through deep inquiry and dialogue, through research and service, Loyola continues to help catalyze change that reduces disparity and advances justice with a grounding in faith.
It is truly a gift and a blessing to be here, in this time and at this place. Throughout this new year, may everyone be able to exercise the opportunity to continue shaping knowledge, compassion, and justice with all your voice and energy. May you take full advantage of opportunities to be challenged and to challenge, to be changed and to lead change, to discuss and to listen, to debate and to reflect with others as you serve your community and neighbors.
Best wishes for a wonderful semester and 2019.
Jo Ann Rooney, JD, LLM, EdD