Fr. Sundborg: My comment on that would be never underestimate the ability of the Jesuits to continue to produce eccentrics. If people have not had a chance to get to know Father Bill O'Malley (Matteo Ricci College) and his humor and puns, they should--he's a worthy successor to Father Reichmann. Now he won't be walking around campus every afternoon at 4…
The Commons: All right, let's get to the books. What were your favorites from the past year?
Fr. Sundborg: The best book I read this year was Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher, by Tim Egan, our Commencement speaker from last year. My other favorite book was a theological book by Gerhard Lohfink titled Jesus of Nazareth: What He Wanted, Who He Was-just a superb book. I'm a little concerned. I look at my whole list and I think there's only one novel. There's a lot of poetry--I'm kind of tripling my poetry capacity--and I'm reading a lot of serious books, but I've sort of moved away from novels, and I don't know why. (Click here for the full list of books Father Steve read in the past year.)
The Commons: How do you choose what books you're going to read?
Fr. Sundborg: The thing that people should be aware of is that Jesuits dedicate a lot of time to reading book reviews and talking knowledgably about books they have not read but about which they have only read the reviews. So I read a lot of reviews--I read the New York Times Book Review every week as well as reviews in America and Commonweal.
The Commons: Do you get a lot of book recommendations from colleagues or other Jesuits?
Fr. Sundborg: I do. That's one of the very best things about being a Jesuit--the conversations we have about books. (Rector) Pat Howell and I will often be exchanging ideas or books we read, and that's true with several others. I'm given a lot of books--at least two a week.
The Commons: What are your plans for the summer?
Fr. Sundborg: I am going to have some time off this summer. I'm going to England for the sake of being renewed for the launching into the capital campaign. I'm particularly looking forward to spending some time in London and making my retreat at the famous Saint Beuno's in Wales where (Jesuit) Gerard Manley Hopkins wrote his poetry. I am turning 70 this summer, and I've schemed to celebrate my birthday while at a Carmelite monastery in a remote part of England where no one can get at me.
The Commons: Boy, you really know how to party! So no trip to Lake Winnipesaukee to spend time with your sister and her extended family this year?
Fr. Sundborg: No, not this year.
The Commons: So much for the seven follow-up questions I had on Lake Winnipesaukee alone.
Fr. Sundborg: I am worried about this because last year at Winnipesaukee, there were 11 people in the main house and there was one in the cabin, Father President Steve Sundborg. I thought that was just the right proportion. I'm worried that this year without President Steve Sundborg at Lake Winnipesaukee they're going to discover that the cabin would be great for a family of five and that I'm not going to have those accommodations in future years. So it's dangerous not to hold onto my property rights at Lake Winnipesaukee.
The Commons: Maybe you could invoke SU's faculty-to-student ratio as grounds for maintaining sole rights to the cabin.
Fr. Sundborg: I hadn't thought of that. Yeah, that's perfect. I'll tell them that-that I'm used to something around an 11:1 ratio. But I do hope they'll carry on and have a good time without me this year. I hope the loons will continue to do their calls and the morning mist will be out in full force. I hope someone will have the courage to walk five miles with my sister before breakfast because she badly needs someone to talk to every morning for a couple of hours. There's just some duties that need to be kept up!
The Commons: This one's a little out there, but we've been doing these interviews for seven years now and we need to get creative with some of the questions. OK, here goes…As we know, the provost has two consecutive "a's" in his first name. Have you ever thought of doubling up on the "e's" in your first name--as in "S-t-e-e-v-e?"
Fr. Sundborg: Ha, no. But I can tell you this…There is one faculty member who sticks an "i" in there between the "v" and the "e"--with courage--whenever they e-mail me. This should not be encouraged! My grade-school nuns and mother have copyrighted that.
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