As Lourdes University’s founder and sponsor, the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania have given another priceless gift – a $500,000 sponsorship that has given Lourdes the opportunity to establish an endowed chair and scholarship in Franciscan Integration.
The establishment of the program seeks to deepen the understanding of Lourdes as a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis. As the university carries forward the mission and heritage of its sponsor, it is imperative that knowledge of and reflection on the traditional four core Franciscan values — contemplation, conversion, minority, poverty — and their current embodiment in the four core values of Lourdes — community, learning, reverence and service — be integrated into the curriculum and life of the university in meaningful ways.
“At Lourdes, we’ve always tried to infuse our Franciscan values into the educational process — and the establishment of the Franciscan Integration chair and scholarship program provides a formal way for us to do this,” said Keith Schlender, interim provost. “We’re eternally grateful to our founders the Sisters of St. Francis, for instilling within us these Franciscan values and through their new sponsorship, granting us the opportunity to truly incorporate these values throughout our institution.”
The Sisters of St. Francis Endowed Chair in Franciscan Integration ($400,000):
- Up to two faculty members from two different academic departments will be named to this Chair on a biannual rotation. Qualified faculty will demonstrate a deep commitment to integrating Franciscan thoughts and values into the university curriculum.
- These faculty will emphasize the Franciscan character of Lourdes.
- The faculty members will present the annual “Sisters of St. Francis Endowed Lecture in Franciscan Integration.” An inaugural lecture is planned for February.
The Sisters of St. Francis Endowed Scholarship in Franciscan Integration ($100,000):
- Five $1,000 scholarships will be awarded annually beginning in 2013 to students demonstrating a commitment to integrating Franciscan thought and values into their lives. Examples may include students who volunteer in care for the environment or who give of their time in community service to underserved populations.
- Recipients will be expected to continue to model the Franciscan values throughout their time at Lourdes.
Patricia O’Connell, associate professor of Business & Leadership has been named as the first endowed chair in Franciscan Integration.
She began her post this semester and will continue through spring of 2014. Dr. O’Connell was selected as chair, based on the research she has done on 21st Century Leader Development Framework which focuses on 5 core Franciscan concepts: learning, reverence, purpose, authenticity, and fleneur. Fleneur is a French word that speaks of maintaining balance in life and with society.
For the past two years, Dr. O’Connell has worked to create a universal leader development model. The quest has taken her from the U.S. to England, France, Hungary, and Italy. She credits the inspiration for her model on the Franciscan values that permeate the Lourdes community.
“Having worked in an environment that instills these universal Franciscan values among all members of our community and having witnessed how our alumni then impact their communities, it was natural to research the validity of these components when applied to the development of leaders,” said Dr. O’Connell.
She has presented and tested her universal leader model with much success. Last summer, she presented her theory to scholars at the Franciscan International Leadership Institute in Perugia, Italy and was a featured presenter during the Association of Franciscan Colleges & Universities Conference. Her model was utilized in a summer course in Hungary, at a leadership and team building retreat with members of Central Catholic High School’s Glee Club and was taught to leadership professionals at the Leadership and Learning Retreat in Perugia, Italy in July 2012.
For more information on Lourdes’ Franciscan Integration chair and scholarship, please contact Dr. Schlender at 419-517-8920 or email email@example.com.