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Chilling at the Colloquium

July 11, 2012

Father Andy McAlpin, Brent Smith, Paul Murray and Richard Woods at the Dominican University Colloquium

On June 14th more than 100 faculty and staff from colleges and universities affiliated with the Dominican Order gathered for a long weekend of presentations, discussions, good food and drink.  A small group of students, including myself, received entrance to the Dominican Higher Education Colloquium. Contemplative Vision: Love, Truth, and Reality, was the theme of the conference.  I enjoyed catching up with some of my Dominican peers, along with some new friends from other Dominican institutes including Angelicum in Rome and Molloy College in New York.

One highlight of the weekend was my participation in a presentation with Assistant Professor Shannon Janicki, from the communications arts and sciences department.  I added a student perspective of leadership development in the classroom.  During the same session — the fourth one out of five sessions — the presentation preceded one given by Siena Heights University Professor of philosophy Mark Schersten, who spoke about his first year as a dean at Siena Heights University.

Millennium Park

Concert at Millennium Park

Another highlight was spending the late afternoon and evening in downtown Chicago.  My fellow colloquium participants and I savored a lovely picnic in Millennium Park followed by a concert of the Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus.  I enjoyed the final performance of Only Converge: An Exaltation of Place by composer Michael Gandolfi.  On the way back on the coach bus we toured some of the downtown area, passing Buckingham Fountain, Malcolm X College, and the United Center, among other places.

St. Catherine of Siena said to “dwell constantly in the cell of self-knowledge” for true contemplation.  Such constancy should take place before and after moments out on the frontier of community-exploration.  My academic career as a Dominican scholar has caused me to grow in my understanding of both my self and my community.