Springs of Joy: Celebrating a university’s centennial PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 02 December 2011 15:09

BY Jane dela Cruz Bascar

By the time this write-up comes out, festivities will be underway as the Ateneo de Zamboanga University celebrates its centennial…

Celebrations are milestones that gently invite us to look at where we are on our life’s journey. They beckon us to pause, take stock of our lives, and take a harder and more honest look at ourselves, at what we have accomplished and what are still called to do. Yet regardless of the celebration, the call remains basically the same: to recognize the gifts we have been entrusted with, to acknowledge how richly we have been blest and the responsibility of being bearers of those gifts.

For us alumni, as we celebrate 100 years of Jesuit education, we are challenged to do the same – reflect on our lives, examine ourselves and see if we have been true to what we stand for. Chris Lowney in his book Heroic Leadership says even without being conscious about it, all of us are leading others all the time, often in small, unintended ways. But that task of leading is greater for us who bear the stamp of a Jesuit education. We are called to be “heroic leaders” as we stand witness to St. Ignatius’ core principles: 1) magis-driven heroism that prods us to aim high and be staunchly disposed towards doing something more, something greater; 2) ingenuity that urges us not just to think, but to live outside the box; 3) love that lends purpose and passion to ingenuity and heroism; and, 4) self-awareness that grounds us and nourishes the other three values.

Celebrating our school’s Centennial therefore invites us to ask if we have lived by what we have been taught. Have we gratefully acknowledged our many blessings and paid them forward by doing something more, something greater? Have we been relentless in testing our limits, breaking barriers, challenging our mindsets and embracing newer perspectives, nurturing our creativity, infusing freshness into our routines, welcoming change and flirting with uncertainty? Or have remained firmly set in our ways, chained to and safe and comfortable in our old ways of thinking and doing things that no longer work? Have we done our tasks with deep passion and great love? Have we paused every so often to look at ourselves and why we do what we do, with the purpose of doing better each time? If we say yes to these questions, then the legacy of the Jesuits here in ADZU for the past 100 hundred years burns brightly in our lives giving us more than a hundred reasons to celebrate. But if our answer is no, then it is not too late. This Centennial can mark our turning point when we start living our motto of being men and women in the service of God and country instead of merely paying lip service to it like we’ve probably been doing for so long.   

Oprah Winfrey in the finale episode of her show tells us that it doesn’t matter how big our sphere of influence is. What does is that we can and do influence others. Wherever we are is our own platform, our stage, our talk show from where we can make a difference in someone else’s life. Wherever we are is where we are called to shine our light and illuminate the paths of others, inspiring them with our unique gifts, talents, abilities - our whole being. This centennial challenges us Ateneans to start lighting up our respective corners of the world with our brand of leadership. The gauntlet has been thrown. Do we take it or do we ignore it and go on our merry way? 

We want to know what you think, what you feel and what topics interest you. Please send your comments, reactions and/or suggestions to: springsofjoy@ymail.com.