In my previous columns for Inside CUA this semester I have shared a lot of information, some of it (I hope) useful. In this month’s column I will limit myself to two reminders of things I’ve written about previously, and offer a reflection.
By the end of April we will have hosted 20 events related to the inaugural year theme Intellect and Virtue: the Idea of a Catholic University. Two of the most important ones are coming toward the conclusion of the semester. The first is the April 11-12 symposium on intellect and virtue. You can read more about it here. The thing I want to be sure everyone understands is that the symposium is open to everyone — students, faculty, and staff — and that it’s free. The only catch is that you have to register by April 5.
Following immediately on the heels of the symposium is the Cardinal Leadership Celebration on April 13. Like the symposium, it will occur in the Pryz Great Room. We’ll be presenting the Cardinal Medal for Fortitude to seven living members of our community and in memory of two who have recently passed away. I hope we can have a great turnout of students, faculty, and staff. In honoring those who have demonstrated the virtue of fortitude we will all be celebrating the virtues to which we aspire individually.
My reflection has to do with the virtue of fortitude. In Latin the word “fortitudo” means “courage.” It’s a term I associate with the student athletes on our campus, who make up about 20 percent of our undergraduate population. I mean “courage” not only in the way one might usually associate with athletes, namely being fearless on the playing field. That’s important, to be sure. But the fortitude that impresses me more is the mental toughness and commitment I see on display. I have had occasion to go to DuFour for an early morning swim and see our football players outside practicing, when the easier course of action for them would involve a bed and a pillow. I know that when our athletes travel out of town, they’re lugging books with them on the buses to keep up with their coursework.
Recently, I took two of my grandchildren to watch a women’s lacrosse game. Our team definitely played to win. Play hard, work hard. It’s a wonderful motto and I think those who embrace this ethic get a lot out of their CUA experience. But it also takes a great deal of willpower and sometimes even bravery — the courage to commit to a course of action that demands more sacrifice than the many other available options out there. So, in the month of April as we celebrate the cardinal virtue of fortitude, take a moment to congratulate an athlete!
May you all have a blessed Easter!