James E. FitzGerald

The Random Wikipedibottle spun around today to Reverend James E. FitzGerald, S.J.

S.J. in my mind stands for “Statens Järnvägar“, which is the name of the Swedish national railways. But here, it means Society of Jesus, the formal name of the Jesuit Order. The abbreviation after a name means that this person is a Jesuit priest or brother.

From 1958 to 1964, Father FitzGerald served as the fourth President of Fairfield University, a Jesuit university in Connecticut.

The Jesuit Order has received a lot of publicity lately after Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio of Argentina was elected Pope Francis on March 13, 2013, becoming the first Jesuit pope.

Pope Francis made news today when he said that people who do good deeds, even atheists, are good people. “Just do good and we’ll find a meeting point,” he said.

Fairfield’s diversity statement seems to reflect that same “find a meeting point” sentiment that Pope Francis expressed today.

Fairfield University defines diversity in the broadest sense, reflecting its commitment to creating a more inclusive community that is reflective of the richly diverse global community of which we are part. Diversity encompasses not only racial, ethnic, and religious diversity, but also diversity of socioeconomic contexts, cultural perspectives, national origins, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, physical ability, and educational backgrounds.

Not sure how much that’s a function of their shared, timeless Jesuit values, which Father Fitzgerald would have agreed with back in the 1960s, and how much such a diversity statement is a function of the values of the 2010’s.

But it seems that Fairfield’s commitment to diversity at least welcomed both extroverted and introverted personalities back in the 1960s. Fairfield’s web site describes Father FitzGerald as “a determined man who wanted everything to be very structured and orderly. He avoided public appearances as much as possible and suffered when obligated to make speeches.” Sounds like an introvert to me. Yet even while avoiding public speaking, Father Fitzgerald managed to grow Fairfield University, adding some new fields of study, like a Graduate School of Education, and also constructing several new buildings, where people learning to do good deeds could find a meeting point.

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