Ignatian Values Lecture
The purpose of the Ignatian Values in Action Lecture is to introduce students and the larger community to the mission and core values of the University. Initiated in the fall of 2012 under the leadership of Dr. Brian Conniff, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, the lecture has brought men and women of international prominence to the University to speak about meaningful service to the world, particularly as understood within the tradition inspired by Ignatius of Loyola, founder of the Jesuits.
Invited Ignatian Values lecturers are almost always also authors, and their books are made available to members of the University community before their arrival. The “first-year read” (see below) is correlated to their visit, which is usually scheduled in the 3rd week of the fall term. Since lecturers have interesting and challenging lives and work closely with and for others, they sometimes bring special guest with them who are able to interact with students and relate the stories of their lives, which are often both heart-breaking and inspiring.
The Ignatian Values in Action Lecture is a large event that invites the entire University community together for an enlivening discussion of what following the Christian call to action and service in the world can bring about if it is fully heeded. Jesuit education aspires to form “men and women with and for others”; the Ignatian Values in Action Lecture is an important occasion at the beginning of the academic year for this vision of education to be considered and reaffirmed. The lecture is held in the Byron Center to accommodate the more than 2000 attendees who come each year.
First Year Seminar students are required to attend the Ignatian Values in Action lecture. Stations are set up at the door so students can “swipe in” with their ID. The lecture and the “first year read” associated with it is discussed in FYS classes. Students are also encouraged to attend other smaller events associated with the lecture where the speaker and his or her guests are able to share their story more intimately and informally.
Previous Ignatian Values in Action Speakers
- 2012 - Fr. Gregory Boyle, S.J. – Fr. Boyle is the founder of Homeboy Industries, a widely recognized gang intervention program located in Los Angeles, California. In his lecture he related stories of his experiences working with “homies” (gang members) in LA. He brought with him two former homies to share their stories of how their lives had been changed.
- 2013 - Kevin Ryan and Tina Kelley – Kevin Ryan is the President of Covenant House International, a ministry that provides shelter and care for homeless youth in major population centers throughout the USA and the world. With Tina Kelley, a former Pulitzer Prize winning writer for New York Times, Ryan related a number of personal stories concerning troubled teens who have found hope through Covenant Homes.
- 2014 – Jay Sullivan - As a young man, Jay Sullivan taught English in Kingston, Jamaica and lived with orphaned boys in a large group home run by nuns in the midst of poverty. He spoke of the impact the experience continues to have on him many years later. Mr. Sullivan brought several guests, including Desmond, who was raised in the group home, and Dr. Check who visits from the USA to care for the boys’ teeth.
- 2016 - Mark Ravizza, S.J. - presented The University of Scranton’s Ignatian Values in Action Lecture as part of its 2016 Royal Reads Program for first year students. The lecture was held recently in the University’s Byron Recreation Complex.
- 2017- Rev. James Martin, S.J. -The University of Scranton held its annual Ignatian Values in Action Lecture for members of its incoming class of 2021 in September. “The Jesuit Guide to Almost Everything” by Rev. James Martin, S.J. H’17, was the selected book for this year’s incoming class, who were required to read the book and attend the lecture.
- 2018 - James O'Connell, M.D. -An author and professor of medicine at Harvard Medical school spoke about his work with the homeless at The University of Scranton’s Ignatian Values in Action Lecture. James O’Connell M.D., is the founding physician of the Boston Healthcare for the Homeless Program and author of “Stories from the Shadows: Reflections of a Street Doctor.” The book follows his experiences taking care of the homeless on the streets in Boston, Massachusetts. He began his work with the homeless after transferring from an intensive care unit to a homeless shelter clinic in Boston.
- 2019- Stephanie Soldaña - The author of The Bread of Angels: A Journey to Love and Faith, and A Country Between: Making a Home Where Both Sides of Jerusalem Collide, spoke at The University of Scranton’s 8th annual Ignatian Values in Action Lecture in September. Soldaña’s memoir, The Bread of Angels, was the Royal Read’s book for the University’s class of 2023.
For more about the Ignatian Values Lectures and the Royal Reads, visit : academics/provost/ival/royal-reads
Each Ignatian Values in Action Lecture is twinned with a book called the “Royal Read.” Usually the speaker is the author of the book—although this is not a necessity. The lecture and the book work with common themes, ones that provide interesting points of discussion for the FYS. All incoming Students should purchase and read the book before arriving on campus in August. It should be still fresh on their minds at the time of the Ignatian Values in Action Lecture in September.