Students, staff and Jesuit tradition highlighted during Inauguration Week events
By Alex Budzynski, Editor-in-Chief
Following a week of celebratory events, Dr. Colleen Hanycz, president, will be installed as Xavier’s 35th president today in Cintas Center. Her inauguration marks a historic changing of the guard, as she becomes the first woman and layperson to serve in the presidency.
“It’s been a generation since Xavier has last had a presidential inauguration, so it really is a moment to pause and realize that it’s bigger than us,” Vice President of Mission and Identity Dr. Debra Mooney remarked. “Now, (Hanycz) is more than who she is. She’s representing Xavier University.”
The Inauguration Committee was co-chaired by Mooney and English professor Dr. Niamh O’Leary. Together, they oversaw the inauguration proceedings that began this summer, working with over 100 students, faculty and staff across the university to execute a series of thoughtful events.
Inauguration Week commenced on Saturday with Xavier’s biannual Community Action Day (CAD), which coincided with the National Day of Service and Solidarity. More than 200 students and their families were joined by alumni across the nation to pick up litter, plant trees, stock food pantries and more.
Participants aided several nonprofit agencies around Cincinnati, including local chapters of the Irish Heritage Society, Queen City Kitchen and Stepping Stones. Alumni also yielded truckloads of donations to Xavier’s food pantry for a “Stock The Store” drive.
Moving from national community to immediate family, Hanycz was joined by Xavier’s resident Jesuits to host a continental breakfast for parents and students on Sunday in Cintas Center. Surrounded by tasty pastries and warm comfort food, this event wrapped up Family Weekend.
On Monday, faculty were in the spotlight during the Academic Showcase and Reception. Faculty from all four colleges reflected on the four Universal Apostolic Preferences: “Showing the way to God,” “Walking with the Excluded,” “Journeying with Youth” and “Caring for Our Common Home.” A faculty representative from each college shared how one of these pillars of Jesuit discernment manifests in the classroom.
Tuesday’s campus reception saluted the student experience, as Hanycz connected with current students over pizza rolls and mozzarella sticks in Gallagher Student Center. In addition to casual mingling, she challenged students to think about their purpose and vocation.
“Vocation… is your response to a call that is bigger than you, a call to use your gifts and your strengths and to make the world better,” Hanycz said in her opening remarks.
“When we talk about our vocation in life, the idea is that it is not about just me. It is very much about others and about making the world around us better,” she concluded. “Think deeply, discern what God is calling you to and commit to doing it.”
Attendees roamed the student center to three stations which reflected the different Jesuit values; giveaways included an inscribed journal and a Xavier pen.
Yesterday afternoon, the community congregated in Bellarmine Chapel for the Missioning Mass, the penultimate celebration of Inauguration Week.
Recognizing Xavier’s Jesuit Catholic foundation, the Missioning Mass brought together multiple faith communities to give thanks for the beauty and joy of the week.
Rev. Karl Kiser, S.J., presided over the Mass, accompanied by more than a dozen Jesuit priests — including Father Michael Graham, former president.
A special blessing at the conclusion of the ceremony was extended to Hanycz by representatives from Muslim, Protestant, Jewish and Catholic communities. Together, they invoked the virtues of grace, wisdom and justice as the university transitions into a new presidency.
The Mass was also inspired by the theme of Inauguration Week, The Ignatian Year, which commemorates the 500th anniversary of Jesuit founder St. Ignatius of Loyala’s conversion. After being injured during the Battle of Pamplona, the nobleman found God and sought a life in service for others.
This afternoon’s culminating ceremony will begin with a series of formal presentations succeeded by the official missioning and installation by Kiser, Graham and Vince Caponi, chair of the board of trustees. Hanycz will offer a series of remarks as Xavier’s newly-installed president with a reception to follow.
Numerous notable guests will be present this afternoon, including Archbishop of Cincinnati Rev. Dennis M. Schnurr, Mayor of Cincinnati John Cranley and presidents from significant colleges and universities, including Villanova University, Creighton University, Thomas More University, Mount Saint Joseph University and the University of Dayton.
The entire Xavier community is welcomed to the ceremony beginning at 1:30 p.m., with doors opening at 1 p.m. During this time, all offices will be closed and classes are cancelled from 12:45-3:45 p.m.