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Seattle University

All Things Jesuit

Why Jesuit education?

June 18, 2012

Award-winning journalist and author (and graduate of Gonzaga Prep) Tim Egan delivered Seattle University's undergraduate commencement address and had plenty to say about the impact of Jesuit education. Here are excerpts from his speech:

"How could anything on the 50 acres where you've spent the last four years, that Jesuit oasis in the middle of urban Seattle, affect this messy, troubled planet? 

It starts with something simple: Connect to nature. Watch a long-legged blue heron lift off. Nurture a garden.  Stick your face in a winter storm. Make wine. Go into the woods in the fall and pick chantrelle mushrooms. Feel the healing power of this planet, and then…go out and fight for it!

You know, these Jesuits were fabulous teachers. What I remember from them is how much they challenged us to think for ourselves, and ignore fads and trends. One priest said you must be in constant search for your God and yourself.

So now, in the face of accelerated change of all our major institutions-technology, democracy, the planet itself-the imperatives of the Jesuit tradition, dating 450 years,  are more vital than ever before. And what are those imperatives? To question conventional wisdom, to nurture the heart as well as the mind, to go forth and engage the world.

You leave here today with a commodity from Seattle University. That commodity is the ability to think clearly, to think logically, to think humanely. You've been apprentices of this great tradition until now, when you are released-masters of the method."