Last month, we were thrilled to have over eighty attendees at our recent CWL lecture series, a sizeable turnout for an event so close to our equally successful Ozanam Day workshop. This year, the topic was The Role of the Catholic University in the 21st Century, and we were proud to host renowned experts in this topic as they gathered to explore the Catholic Intellectual Tradition in this riveting discussion.
At the beginning of this lecture, The Catholic Women’s League generously donated $3,000 to StMU; which was raised from selling shirts. Thank you to the CWL for their continued and generous support, as they help the vision and mission of StMU continue to thrive!
This lecture series focused on answering how the Catholic Intellectual Tradition, with its rigorous intellectual inquiry and rich roots in the past, can serve as a creative guide for transforming Catholic higher education in the 21st century.
Our three panel experts each explored this topic with a distinct focus in mind. In addition, each focus narrowed further into the St. Mary’s University context and experience with each speaker.
Fr. Dennis Holtschneider, CM (President, Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities), was the first to speak and framed his lecture around Catholic education in the international context. Further, he elaborated on how the generosity and dedication of the Catholic Church have made its impact across the world – through both charitable branches and private universities that offer unparalleled education which focuses on the mind, body, and spirit.
Dr. Michael W. Higgins, an experienced academic leader, celebrated author, and lecturer was the second to speak and focused on the role of Catholic higher education in the 21st century in the Canadian context. Dr. Higgins focused his time on emphasizing the importance of Catholic universities having a gentle openness to dialogue.
Therefore, we have nothing to fear for our futures as private institutions. He also explained that we should frame how we act and treat others as an institution within the frame of how our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, would respond.
Lastly, St. Mary’s own Dr. Norman Knowles took the stage to speak to the Alberta and StMU-specific context. Dr. Knowles is widely recognized as one of the leading scholars of Canada’s culture and religious history; thus, he spoke to the three most significant challenges facing Catholic universities in Alberta today.
He explains the challenges as Fundamentalism, Utilitarianism, and Fetishism of Technology. Dr. Knowles explained that he believes our core purpose is not just to teach our students how to make a living, but how to build a life worth living.
The evening ended with an engaging Q&A period, where audience members had the opportunity to bring their most pressing questions to our panelists for discussion.