Dear young people, Christ asks you to be wide awake and alert, to see things in life that really matter.”
– Pope Francis
The pontiff’s words beautifully encapsulate what we do at Le Moyne – invite our students to lives of faith and service, intellect and integrity. In a world as fractured as ours, it is easy to become fatalistic and disillusioned, but I am an optimist. It is hard not to be when you work at Le Moyne. Here is why: Students do not come to this College in search of shortcuts or material comforts, as attractive as they may sometimes seem. They come to this place in search of something much more profound. They’re yearning for what the Jesuits have refined in 500 years of scholarship and reflection. They want – and deserve – an education that is worthy of their curiosity, an education that honors their humanity, an education that guides them through the uncertainty of the future.
Like nearly 30 percent of our undergraduates, I was a first-generation college student. My parents, James and Mary LeMura, immigrated to the U.S. with very little in the way of material wealth but with great faith in their community, their family and the future. My story, and the story of my family, is also the story of Le Moyne College. Whether from humble origins or great wealth, immigrant or native born, we are united in our belief that an education is an act of faith, an expression of confidence and calm in the face of the unknown.
As Le Moyne’s 14th president, I am humbled and honored by the faith that has been extended to me by so many. My experience – three advanced degrees, 15 years of teaching and research, 10 years of administrative work – has shown me that, in the words of Pope Francis, “The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart, but the important thing is that they lead [toward] the Good.” Our students are carving out their own paths on these roads, and when I reflect on the journeys they are choosing to take, I am filled with immense pride. Aided by an education rooted in ethics, service and intellectual rigor, they have rallied around a classmate whose parents are seriously ill, dedicated a Saturday morning volunteering at nearly 20 sites around the city of Syracuse, and completed sophisticated research of their own design. These are surely the “things in life that really matter” that the pontiff referenced.
I am confident that the courage, tenacity and imagination of these young people will surely heal the world.
Linda M. LeMura, Ph.D.