STEUBENVILLE, OH—Franciscan University students have always heeded Jesus' call to lovingly serve him and their neighbor, but they now have a new way to develop their leadership potential.
In August 2011, Franciscan University launched a Center for Leadership with an inaugural class of 32 freshmen. The center will better prepare young Catholic men and women to serve their country and the Church in the fields of business, politics, media, education, health care, and every occupation that is proper to the Christian laity.
The Center for Leadership will also promote a practical knowledge of authentic Catholic social teaching along with the timeless and timely principles of the American founding.
A distinguished Board of Advisors will guide the Center for Leadership’s curriculum and growth. Members include the Honorable Jeff Fortenberry MA ’96, U.S. House of Representatives, Nebraska; Father Jonathan Morris, FOX News analyst; Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review; Frank J. Hanna III, Hanna Capital LLC; Barbara Henkels, Regina Academies; and Father Robert Sirico, president, Acton Institute.
"The present times demand a new form of Christ-centered servant leadership, and we hope to prepare our students to contribute just that," says Franciscan University president Father Terence Henry, TOR. "We're very excited about this new opportunity to better equip our students to serve God through service to their families, their country, the Church, and the world."
David Schmiesing, the center's director and vice president of Student Life, says the program fosters the virtues and teaches the knowledge and skills necessary for long-term, effective Christian leadership, all in the context of the student’s vocation to serve others.
"The Christian leader understands his or her life as a vocation, a calling from God that is actively discerned and cheerfully accepted," says Schmiesing. "The call to lead in a family, in an organization, or in society as a whole is an integral part of this vocation. These students will be prepared to be bold, courageous, virtuous, and effective leaders.”
The four-year leadership program exposes students to lectures, readings, discussion, mentorship, and experiential learning while they continue their degree and engage in other academic, spiritual, and extra-curricular activities. The students receive competitive scholarships based on their participation.
Students are selected based on their academic achievements and demonstrated leadership skills during their high school years. Starting with this year’s freshman class, the program will eventually comprise select groups of students from all four years at Franciscan University.