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Remarks by President John J. DeGioia

Alpha Sigma Nu Induction Ceremony 2012

FEBRUARY 3, 2012

Thank you, Mark.  We are grateful for your leadership and for the role that each member of Alpha Sigma Nu plays in enlivening and strengthening our community.  It’s a pleasure to be with you and to celebrate the induction of 50 new members.

I’d like to welcome all of you and your families and friends, as well as the faculty, members of our Jesuit community, and the Alpha Sigma Nu review committee who have joined us on this special occasion.

I’d also like to express my thanks to Bob Bies, for his remarks this afternoon, faculty advisor Father Walsh for his enduring commitment to the growth and success of the Alpha Sigma Nu chapter here on campus, and Carolyn Conkling for being with us today and sharing her reflections.

Mark and Diana have shared with us the rich history of Alpha Sigma Nu and the significance of its presence in our community.  The diversity of your achievements, your unwavering commitment to service, and your exemplary scholarship represents the very best of Jesuit education.  This tradition, as we have learned over our years here, in this hilltop, is a way of being, a way of proceeding, that serves as the foundation for everything that happens here.

In your years on the Hilltop, each of you, our 50 new inductees, has animated this way of life that we pursue together, with your passions—inside and outside the classroom, your compassion for others, and your willingness to integrate the values of scholarship, loyalty, and service into all aspects of your lives.

Our “way of life” here is not passive.  It is defined by the purposeful work that we do and in the knowledge that we actively pursue each day.  It incorporates the practice of learning that we derive from the Spirituality of Ignatius—which puts at its very center the act of imagination.  We are asked, in the process of seeking knowledge, to find the truth that resonates most deeply with who we are, that we can internalize, make part of our interior, and that offers us a sense of consolation.  It is through these acts of what Ignatius called “sentir,” or “felt knowledge,” that we can come to know ourselves in ever deeper ways.  And in doing so, we become better prepared to work in service of others.

We know that this pursuit of knowledge does not happen in isolation. As we seek to transform ourselves, we are also asked to be ready to respond to the world around us, to make a difference, and, as Ignatius required of the early Jesuits, to “live with one foot raised.”

On this day, February 5th, 1991, the man often regarded as the second founder of the Society of Jesus, Father Pedro Arrupe, passed away. During his years of leadership of the Society of Jesus, he helped to reimagine in a contemporary way the vision of St. Ignatius. It was through him that we have terms that help shape our understanding of our work here, terms like “faith that does justice” or perhaps an idea we share even more often here, that we are called to be “women and men for others.”

On a day like today, we draw from these terms to find the richness of the tradition that goes back 500 years. We reimagine the new in ways that were also so beautifully put forward by Professor Beis, and reimage what it means to live these values, today, on this Hilltop in each of our lives.

We engage in two kinds of work—the transformation of ourselves and of the world—together, in this community; and, it is in those places where our pursuit of excellence aligns with the needs of our world that we are able to do our very best work.

This is our task as individuals and as a university committed to the ideals of Jesuit education.  And it is your challenge as you continue to grow as leaders here on this Hilltop and in the years to come. It is a privilege for me to be here today and to express on behalf of the University community congratulations to each of you for what this recognition represents and the contributions and commitment that each of you have made for the life of this community. And we express our gratitude for each of you. Congratulations to all of you on this very special day.

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