Faculty experience eloquence convention


With the help of the Jesuit Center, faculty and staff were able to experience full eloquence for an entire weekend by participating in the Heartland Delta Faculty Conversations.

The conference is held at different Jesuit universities from the central part of the United States each year, and it was hosted by Loyola New Orleans’ Jesuit Center from Feb. 22-24. According to Jesuit Center Fellow Nick Courtney, 68 faculty and staff members attended this year’s convention, with about 43 participants coming from 13 different Jesuit colleges in the Heartland region.

Courtney also said that the visiting faculty members were very impressed with the conference and the different lectures that were presented.

“I think that the Heartland Delta Conversations was very well handled,” Courtney said. “We received a lot of positive feedback from all the of the faculty members.”

Ricardo Marquez, the Jesuit Center’s assistant director, said that a main goal for the convention was to give visiting staff members a welcoming environment of New Orleans by surrounding them with local food and atmosphere. To help with this, the convention held an environmental tour of the city, led by Bob Thomas, professor of environmental communication, and a film screening for “Beasts of the Southern Wild.”

“One of the goals of the conference was to make present the typical New Orleans context and situation,” Marquez said.

Another goal of the conference was to help apply the notion of eloquentia perfecta across many different academic fields. According to Courtney, eloquentia perfecta, or perfect eloquence, is an early Jesuit teaching that is used to develop the form and content of an argument. The teaching helps people to understand words and knowledge with more accuracy.

Many lectures were held to show how eloquentia perfecta could be applied to different subjects. Both Courtney and Marquez thought that the most noteworthy demonstration was by Judith Rock, who has a Ph.D. in Theology and Art from the Graduate Theological Union. She gave a visual lecture on how eloquentia perfecta could incorporate dance and bodily movement, using ballet as an example.

“Her keynote address was one of the most unusual addresses I have ever seen,” Courtney said. “Just from the amount of care and experience she brought to it from her own background in dance, choreography, theology and history, you could really tell that she was very passionate about what she was doing.”

Marquez said that the conference was able to create a stepping stone for attending faculty and staff, so that they could better understand how eloquentia perfecta can affect them.

“We want faculty to get more knowledge about this type of trend in the Jesuit tradition that can be embraced in their daily work,” Marquez said. “I do believe that this was one more step to create that kind of conscience.”

Burke Bischoff can be reached at [email protected]