Thoughts on the year’s end

Dean's Reflections

“What is it about the Sellinger School and Loyola University Maryland that is so unique?”

That’s a question we’ve asked our students time and again, from the first day they arrive on campus right up through their final weeks here with us. It is a question that each student will ultimately answer personally from his or her own experience, but one that ties into a common thread that connects all members of the Loyola community. In both the Sellinger School and the University as a whole we are persons both with and for others. It is a distinctly Jesuit bond that we share in the classroom, in our residence halls, on the athletic fields, in the performance centers, in the city of Baltimore, and wherever our paths may take us. As the Class of 2012 prepares to graduate this month we are proud to reflect not only on their personal accomplishments, but on how they pause and consider concern for others in their decisions—and the role we, as faculty, administrators, and staff—have played in the development of those principles.

I am teaching a Sellinger Scholars—our school’s honors program— class this semester. I posed the question above to them before our last class meeting. They described the difference as one in which their educations are designed to contribute to the benefit of society and their personal characters as a whole—not just to benefit business or their professional track records. The students spoke of their desires to be effective leaders in the wide array of professions that they will be starting in the weeks and months ahead, but all stressed that part of that leadership is the willingness to work for social justice in their companies and lives. Their reflections on their core classes, diversity courses and experiences, guest speakers, and the leadership seminar they completed in the final days as Loyola undergraduates spoke highly of Loyola’s Jesuit mission. One student even recalled the personal “eulogy” that each class member prepared during our first meeting. Beginning with the end in mind, the students were asked to write how they would wish to have their lives remembered. For this student, the idea of having lived a life for others was a central component of her eulogy. I am confident that these considerations will continue with the new experiences they will have as members of the greater business community.

Much of the credit for instilling these ideals in our students is due to our excellent faculty. Our last mission lunch of the academic year occurred on Friday, April 14. In these discussions we address how to incorporate 10 mission propositions from the undergraduate curricular recommendations into our programs. We talk about the values the core instills in our undergraduate students; the values specific to the business core; and the role of mission in each of our specific disciplines. Timothy Quinn, J.D., our new associate dean, and I will continue to address the question of how our teaching can support the mission of the School and our University—and we’ll continue to ask our faculty to do the same.

We are greatly pleased to see examples of the Loyola mission put into practice every day through the University’s York Road Initiative. I continue to be so gratified to hear the work that is taking place in the community. One of our classes is helping the Govans Ecumenical Development Corporation (GEDCO) evaluate its branding, work that will carry on into the next fall. Another project that will continue in the next academic year is collaboration with Cards for CARES, an organization that sells handmade cards to benefit a local food pantry and emergency financial assistance center. Many students attended a recent event to help prepare next year’s class leadership to make sure this partnership continues properly in the fall. For next year, we are considering having every Sellinger Scholar complete a project related to York Road, and hope to one day have every Sellinger School student engage in a similar effort in support of the initiative.

As always, if you have any thoughts on this topic or if you would like to brainstorm some ideas, please contact me at sellingerdean@loyola.edu.

Best wishes to our graduates and to all of you.

Karyl

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