Yesterday, I sent 13 students to cover a lunchtime panel discussion at the Alumni Memorial Union. Titled "The Theology of Work" – and among a slew of Entrepreneurship Week events offered by Marquette's Kohler Center for Entrepreneurship – the discussion was moderated by Lyle Dabney, associate professor of theology, and included two panelists: John Fontana, director of the Arrupe Program in Social Ethics for Business at Georgetown University, and the Rev. John Cusick, director of young adult ministry for the Archdiocese of Chicago.
Hopefully, the students soaked in the theologians' great advice as they practiced their journalism. Fontana took my two-types-of-students equation – those who want a grade and those who want a career – to a new level by focusing on three types of people: those who focus on their job, those who focus on their career, and those who focus on their life as a vocation. A job and career are both important, but a vocation is more likely to sustain us, Fontana said.
Cusick expressed concern that too many business leaders care more about maximizing profits than uplifting people. He also warned against leaving undesirable footprints in the Digital Age. "One of the most amazing things in the world to me is that people can be so intelligent and great leaders and yet be so stupid with technology," Cusick said.
This was the second time I dispatched a JOUR 1100 class to an Entrepreneurship Week event. The turnout for this year's occasion meant my aspiring journalists had the speakers all to themselves. Not a problem, said Tina Quealy, the Kohler Center's associate director, and who wisely suggested the discussion would be great for students.
"Though I was only able to observe them for a short period of time, your students are exceptional," she said. "They turned the panel discussion into a dialogue through their meaningful engagement of the panelists. Their follow up questions after the panel were also engaging and insightful. They made me proud to be part of the MU community."
Well said, Tina. Though they work my nerves from time to time – OK, too many times – I couldn't agree more.