The Adamson University September issues presents “The Heart of Vincentian Higher Education” by Dennis H. Holtschneider, CM 16 July 2012  He delivered this presentation on the occasion of an Academic Convocation Celebrating Adamson University’s 80th Anniversary and the 150th Anniversary of the Vincentians working in the Philippines.

He writes,  “I’ve been asked on various occasions what St. Vincent would think if he were to come back today and see universities run by his priests and brothers.  My answer is that I think he would be quite surprised.

“It’s not that Vincent was anti-intellectual or thought ill of universities.  He personally sought extensive higher education and held multiple degrees.  No, St. Vincent’s surprise would come from the vastly changed role of universities in society since his time.  In his day, universities were not required or even able to achieve his ends for the poor.  What Vincent WOULD recognize, I think, is the continuation of the insight he had that day for his precious foundlings.

“He saw possibility in the young people of his time.  And so must we who continue his great work.  …

“It’s no accident that so many statues picture St. Vincent surrounded by children.  These weren’t just any children.  These were children with possibility but no futures, and he sought pathways to give them a future.

“That is, of course, exactly what Vincentian universities attempt as well.  Pathways.  Our time might even call it “mainstreaming.”  It’s more of course.  Universities in our age are powerful platforms for the intellectual life, and able to play a strong social role in shaping social policy, in moving a populace’s social commitments through the arts, humanities or social sciences; in improving the living conditions of so many through scientific and applied engineering advances; or in creating a student and alumni deeply imbued with the religious and social values that care for the poor, in a world that too quickly ignores the poor in favor of their own well-being.

Full text The Heart of Vincentian Higher Education

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