This story appears in the Winter 2016 issue of Instaurare. Subscribe today!
Catholic Businessmen Find Hope for Future.
College students generally do not impress many business leaders anymore. Research has shown this increasingly to be the case as we move into 2017 and beyond. When employers do find a college student who possesses leadership skills and a thirst for knowledge, it comes as a revelation. For top Catholic businessmen Gellert Dornay, Tim Busch, and Dr. James Sheehan, visiting Christendom College this fall proved not only to be a revelation: it turned out to be a revival of their hope for the future of today’s youth.
For years, Christendom’s career and leadership development office has been assisting students in their pursuit of career success by helping them meet and network with successful figures through its “Life on Tap” speaker series—something that is essential to breaking into the professional world after graduation. This year, the college continued that tradition by welcoming Dornay, Busch, and Sheehan to campus. The hope of these speakers upon coming to campus was to simply give some helpful career tips and inspire those students who came to their talks to be better Catholic businessmen and women. They came away from their talks with so much more, however.
“As Newman and others have suggested, the heart of the educational experience is really to pursue a better understanding of the reality God has presented us,” said Dornay. “Christendom is truly creating that opportunity. It’s not too common to find college kids interested or even aware of the many and complex economic and political considerations of our day. That is not the case with Christendom’s student body. It’s clear that Christendom is creating an environment for the students to develop a great love of learning, and that they are being given the tools to maximize their positive contribution to the future of our society.”
For Dornay, who spent a year at Christendom in the 1990s, the experience was not only a homecoming — it was a renewal. The president and CEO of Axia Home Loans in Seattle, Dornay spoke on the need for students to be truly Catholic in their careers later in life, and was impressed with each student’s thirst for the Truth.
Dr. James Sheehan, the founder of multiple hospitals in Ireland, the inventor of the artificial knee replacement system, a creative leader, and faitful Catholic, walked away with the same impressions and more. While he had previously spoken to students during Christendom’s St. Columcille Institute in Ireland, he was not prepared for the awe he was going to experience on Christendom’s Front Royal campus, from both the environment and the student body.
“It’s clear that Christendom is creating an environment for the students to develop a great love of learning, and that they are being given the tools to maximize their positive contribution to the future of society.”
“My wife, Rosemary, and I were awestruck with the campus, initially with the layout and the beautiful environment available to the students,” said Sheehan. “However, the lasting impression was the caliber and commitment of the students that we met. Never have we visited a campus that came to a halt at 11:30 a.m. each day so both the faculty and students could partake at the Sacrifice of the Eucharist. The genuine profession of their Faith left a huge impression on us. The interaction with the faculty, where they dined with the students and entered into discussion, was a unique experience and a portrayal of the Christian unity that existed between all present on campus. We sat in on a number of classes, and the diligence and interaction of the students at class was again most impressive. I will always remember a philosophy class on friendship, and have since quoted many times the different forms of friendship discussed in it.”
Finding a college where each of the students cared about their education and strove to live out their calling to “restore all things in Christ” was truly refreshing for Sheehan, who traveled from Ireland to speak with the students and spend time on campus. For both his talk and Dornay’s, students filled the room to the rafters, eager to listen to their words of wisdom — another feature that impressed the two men.
That same eagerness was paid to Tim Busch upon his arrival to campus. Founder of The Busch Firm and the Napa Institute, Busch has a keen interest in Catholic higher education and encounters many such students in his travels. During his talk, he gave the students a lot of encouragement as they consider their vocational callings post-graduation.
“In the American world of business, Catholic social doctrine is critical,” Busch told the students. “The younger generation, the ‘millenials,’ are given an opportunity that is unlike any throughout history. They have the freedom to market ideas and provide products or services that allow people to improve their lives more effectively than ever before.”
Christendom allows students not only to experience an authentic Catholic liberal arts education, but also to meet and learn from some of the greatest Catholic minds in the world. Thanks to the college’s education and vibrant Catholic environment, students can impact these great minds as well — restoring hope not only in themselves, but in each person who encounters someone formed by the Christendom educational experience.