Preparing Transformational Leaders in the Spirit of Saints Francis and Clare

by Tori Kincaid | Sep 04, 2015

By Daniel J. Elsener, President of Marian University

President Daniel J. ElsenerIn June 2016, leaders from nearly two dozen Franciscan colleges and universities will gather on the Marian University campus in Indianapolis, Indiana, for the Association of Franciscan Colleges and Universities’ (AFCU) biannual symposium. A significant element of this AFCU symposium will include focused discussion of opportunities for ongoing collaborations among faculty, staff, and administration from Franciscan institutions. This collaboration will not only preserve, but enrich and dramatically advance our individual and collective missions in Franciscan higher education.

The changing world around us requires us to venture forward courageously in new collaborative arrangements, paradigms, and entrepreneurial efforts in the spirit of our respective founders. We believe that in the current economic, religious, and social climate there is a strong need for dynamic, growing Franciscan institutions. Our forerunners recognized the critical value of Franciscan higher education in their own times, and we are called to continue these foundational efforts with an ever greater dedication and fervor today.

Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi are the models for all our efforts to develop transformational leaders for service to the world. They inspired thousands of men and women—in their own time, and in succeeding generations down to our own day—to live the Gospel by embracing simplicity, purity of heart, and service to everyone in need, especially the most vulnerable social outcasts. As AFCU institutions, we want to work together to make authentic Franciscan values available to our students and to the communities they will serve, especially in the fields of education, business, health care, and church ministry.

AFCU logoWith that in mind, it is our vision that the 2016 AFCU symposium allow for meaningful dialogue among presidents, congregational ministers, religious superiors, board chairs, faculty, and staff about leadership, governance, and collaboration. Top leaders from several AFCU institutions have agreed to work with me to coordinate the high level conversations that need to occur to ensure that the symposium is a truly collaborative affair from beginning to end. We are especially eager to promote fruitful dialogue in the critically important areas of academics, institutional advancement, finance, information technology, marketing communications, and strategic planning.

During the coming months, pre-symposium conversations will take place among leaders of representative institutions about agenda items, speakers and presentation topics, and break-out sessions. Future issues of The Faithful Leader will report on our progress. In the meantime, please pray for the success of this courageous venture. It is our fervent hope that this historic opportunity for collaboration will strengthen our respective missions as Catholic Franciscan institutions and enliven the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare on our individual campuses and throughout the global community.

Thank you for all that you do to support and advance Marian University and Franciscan higher education. May God continue to bless you, today and always.

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