Page 4 - Annual Report3

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Dr. Ray Keck, III
Student Center. Aren’t we, the University, an
instrument of the State of Texas, to hold all religious
alliances at some remove from collegiate life?
In reflecting upon the matter, and in spite of our
secular traditions, we are struck by the immense similarity
between the University and a religious institution, in this
case the Church. Consider what we say to students as we
welcome freshmen into University life: “We were here
before you; we will be here when you are gone.” “Our
purpose is to help you find new life. We have no goal
beyond serving your needs.” “Everything you see here is
for you to take and use. Everyone you meet is here for a
similar reason, and your potential companion and fellow
traveler.” “You cannot take up permanent residence
here, but you may return to regenerate yourself as often
as you like.” “At the point you decide to leave, we will
embrace you and remind you that these doors are always
open to you, that these spaces are always uniquely your
own.” “We are for you; we have no other purpose. What
we mean in your life is for you to decide.”
And so another home will soon be nearby TAMIU.
That home, inspired by the Brothers of St. John
and led by the Diocese of Laredo, will be designed and
funded by the people of Laredo and South Texas. The
complex will be built on land made available by the
Killam family. Adjacent to University property, the
Center will not encroach upon holdings of the State of
Texas. No issues of legality or of fidelity to American
traditions should trouble us. Programs at the Center,
however, both engage and complement University life
and study.
Father Michael Thérèse, head of Campus Ministry
for the Brothers of St. John, reminds us that we are
creatures of reason and of intuition. The first is easy
to describe, embodied in the science and technology
which drive our society. But our deeper longings resist
scientific and rational scrutiny. Much of what we most
wish to know remains hidden from our eyes, manifest
through intuitive faculties. That intuitive dimension
lodges itself in many academic programs. When we
allow the great poets to embargo our thoughts, when
we study or perform music, when we interrogate the
facts of history to ascertain motive…we call upon our
intuitive faculties.
William James, founder of the study of psychology
in America, described religion as “the belief that there
is an unseen order.” The pursuit of that unseen order
frames all scientific and spiritual quests. The University
remains home to both. We welcome all home.