Wednesday, August 13, 2008

XXIX Olympiad & RU

The opening ceremonies in Beijing were totally awesome, a true tribute to what the human spirit can achieve. Equally breath-taking are Michael Phelps’ performances. That 400M relay was like nothing else!

But what does the XXIX Olympiad and Rockhurst University have in common? China. Back in April 1997 Dr. Frank Smist of our Political Sciences Dept. led a trip to Hong Kong. This trip was sponsored through the Global Studies Center and run through our Center for Arts and Letters. Frank’s last group tour to China was in March 2002. But last year Dr. Martin Stack from the Helzberg School of Management was on sabbatical which involved taking a trip to China to study their beer making. (What a sabbatical!) But Dr. Stack did some serious business research and was on a panel held this past Spring.

The International Studies and Global Perspectives Committee organized a series of three events related to China in Spring 2008. Five Rockhurst faculty members and one student participated in a panel in which they discussed their experiences of traveling, studying, or living in China. Dr. Catherine Green (Philosophy) spoke about the Catholic Church in China; Dr. Cecilia Samonte (History) talked about China’s foreign policy toward southeast Asia; Dr. James Daly (Dean of HSOM) and Dr. Stephen Holland-Wempe (Director of our Study Abroad Program) also presented information regarding how Rockhurst students can study in China. And Dr. Martin Stack discussed the research on beer that he conducted. Finally Ms. Elaine Chen, an RU student, shared her experiences as an Asian-American immigrant.

The second China event was a guided tour of the world-renown China exhibit at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, right here in Kansas City. The tour was organized especially for the Rockhurst community. The Committee wrapped up the China event with a campus viewing and discussion of the film, “Joy Luck Club” (1993), based on the novel of the same name by Amy Tan.

So you see, RU has a strong connection with China. At the games athletes strive for excellence, to give it all they’ve got. This need of the human spirit to perform at one’s peak is part of the Jesuit tradition called magis, to strive for greater and greater things, all for the glory of God. The best athletes are the ones who are humble and know that there is a greater Power, and are filled with gratitude for their innate abilities that they have honed. This is what Rockhurst education is all about, honing the God-given talents that one has and empowering them to their utmost. So check us out. And maybe even study abroad in China!


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