Father Sundborg reflects on 2013-2014 academic year and more, much more

(story continued)

So, boy, that's a lot of advice for a poor guy just starting out (laughs).

The Commons: Let's talk books. What were some of your favorites from the past year?

The President’s Reading List

Thanks to the crack efforts of Lynn Deeken and Rick Block in the library, you can view Father Steve’s entire reading list from the past year HERE. Titles carried by the library are hyperlinked to make for easy ordering!

President Sundborg: Without question, the best book I read this year and I think in five years is called My Promised Land: The Triumph and Tragedy of Israel. It is a phenomenal book, well-written by an Israeli journalist (Ari Shavit) about the history of Israel in vignettes. The other book is called The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade and this is by Thomas Lynch, the poet. Thomas Lynch was an undertaker in Ohio and a poet, and he's written several books of poetry, and I've read them all, but this is a book of essays and kind of an autobiography. It was most interesting to see what an undertaker sees of human foibles and reality. I found it funny and insightful. It's a fun book.  

The Commons: Pope Francis? I'll leave it at that and let you answer however you'd like…

President Sundborg: I spent a lot of my year, and probably about a third of my reading of the year, studying and trying to figure out Pope Francis. I think it's because, as a Jesuit, I'm very curious that there is a Jesuit pope, and I'm very interested to see how his Jesuit background affects the way he is pope. So I've done a lot of digging into his background and decisions he's made.

I'm still sort of surprised that there's a Jesuit pope, because it's kind of like, "They like  us? Really? (laughs) I thought we were the ones they were suspicious about." I'm just so amazed at the number of people that stop me on the streets and say, "Hey, Father, I'm not a Catholic, but, boy, do I like this pope of yours!" A very, very intriguing kind of a person. He's changed the conversation of the Catholic Church. He may not have changed the teachings of the Church, but he's changed what it is that we talk about that's important. And that's the biggest thing he'sFatherStevewithStudents_360_2 done. And the way he's just open to people is phenomenal.

The Commons: It came out recently that the pope said he would be open to baptizing an alien. How about you-could you see yourself doing that?

President Sundborg:  You know, most children when you do baptize them are like little aliens. (Laughs)  

The Commons: Is it difficult for you sometimes to remember what life was like on campus in the "Pre-Segway" era?

President Sundborg: I can't remember what it was like to not be looked down on by these giants riding around on these stilts. But I'm not really used to it yet. It's kind of like "Brave New World," this silent scooting around of these stand-up safety people.

The Commons: Any new apps?

President Sundborg: Yeah, got an idea for a new app. Last year's was Bon App. My new app would be called the "Nap App" or just "N" and then "app" for "Napp." And what this is, is an app that tells you the closest place where you can take a nap without anyone noticing. I think it's the fact that I'm now well into my 70s, approaching 71, that that's the app that I want.

The Commons: What about Facebook, Twitter…?

President Sundborg: Excuse me?

The Commons: Are you still on the sidelines?

President Sundborg: Yes, I'm clean. I'm trying to figure out where I draw the cyber line and I have not advanced a whole lot. I do have an iPhone 5. And I do use an iPad when I travel and I get on WiFi. I do use my cellphone as an alarm clock because I cannot figure out-I don't know who makes these things, but if you can figure out how to use an alarm clock that's in motel and hotel rooms, you're a better person than I am. I just can't figure out that high technology.

The Commons: What was your favorite act at Quadstock?

President Sundborg: My favorite act was the closing. I was just coming back on campus and they had the last drumbeat, and that was my favorite act of Quadstock.

The Commons: If you could choose what acts played at Quadstock, living or deceased, who would you bring here?

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