SYLVANIA—Patricia O’Connell, an associate professor of Business & Leadership, has been named the first endowed chair in Franciscan Integration for Lourdes University.
The endowed chair and a scholarship in Franciscan Integration were established through a $500,000 sponsorship from the Sisters of St. Francis of Sylvania, the founders of the institution.
Patricia O’Connell, an associate professor of Business & Leadership, has been named the first endowed chair in Franciscan Integration for Lourdes University. (Photo courtesy of Lourdes University)
The establishment of the Franciscan Integration chair and scholarship program seeks to deepen the understanding of Lourdes University as a sponsored ministry of the Sisters of St. Francis. As the university carries forward the mission and heritage of its sponsor, it is imperative that knowledge of and reflection on the traditional four core Franciscan values — contemplation, conversion, minority, poverty — and their current embodiment in the four core values of Lourdes — community, learning, reverence and service — be integrated into the curriculum and life of the university in meaningful ways.
“At Lourdes, we’ve always tried to infuse our Franciscan values into the educational process, and the establishment of the Franciscan Integration chair and scholarship program provides a formal way for us to do this,” says Keith Schlender, interim provost. “We’re eternally grateful to our founders, the Sisters of St. Francis, for instilling within us these Franciscan values and through their new sponsorship, granting us the opportunity to truly incorporate these values throughout our institution.”
Up to two faculty members from two different academic departments are to be named to the endowed chair on a biannual rotation. Qualified faculty members are to demonstrate a deep commitment to integrating Franciscan thoughts and values into the University curriculum. They are to emphasize the Franciscan character of Lourdes University.
The faculty members are to present the annual “Sisters of St. Francis Endowed Lecture in Franciscan Integration,” with the inaugural lecture planned for sometime in February 2013.
Five $1,000 scholarships are to be awarded annually beginning in 2013 to students demonstrating a commitment to integrating Franciscan thought and values into their lives. Recipients are to be expected to continue to model the Franciscan values throughout their time at Lourdes.
Dr. O’Connell began her post this semester and is to continue through spring of 2014. She was selected as chair based on the research she has done on 21st Century Leader Development Framework which focuses on five core Franciscan concepts: learning, reverence, purpose, authenticity and fleneur. Fleneur is a French word that speaks of maintaining balance in life and with society.
For the past two years, Dr. O’Connell has worked to create a universal leader development model. The quest has taken her from the USA to England, France, Hungary and Italy. She credits the inspiration for her model to the Franciscan values that permeate the Lourdes Community.
“Having worked in an environment that instills these universal Franciscan values among all members of our community and having witnessed how our alumni then impact their communities, it was natural to research the validity of these components when applied to the development of leaders,” says Dr. O’Connell.
Last summer, she presented her theory to scholars at the Franciscan International Leadership Institute in Perugia, Italy, and was a featured presenter during the Association of Franciscan Colleges & Universities Conference. Her model was utilized in a summer course in Hungary, at a leadership and team building retreat with members of Toledo Central Catholic High School’s