Michigan State University is establishing the Foglio Chair of Spirituality in its College of Arts and Letters.
The Foglio Chair is named to honor Father Jake Foglio, an alumnus and Roman Catholic priest still in active ministry after more than 50 years of service to the MSU community through St. Johns Student Parish, 11 years on the faculty, and as an invaluable spiritual advisor for countless student-athletes and coaches.
The position is made possible by committed donors and a reinvestment of media revenues received by MSU from the Big Ten Network.
For the past two years, the Athletics Department and the College of Arts and Letters worked with a committed group of donors to endow a faculty chair position to make the practice of spirituality more available to all MSU students.
The position will allow MSU to recruit a world class scholar who will play a critical role in embedding into MSU’s general education curriculum how to put your values into the practice of living a meaningful life.
“This idea for this chair resonated with me because of the vision Father Jake has for the notion of spirituality, which is really a sense of articulating the whole person and how we can help each individual lead a meaningful life over the course of their lives,” says Chris Long, dean of MSU’s College of Arts and Letters. “That’s at the heart of what the liberal arts are about, and we see our mission in the College of Arts and Letters at the center of the MSU mission to cultivate the next generation of citizen leaders in the country.”
For Father Jake, religion is a spiritual matter, but spirituality encompasses more than religious belief and practice. It draws in the myriad ways humans seek meaning and define what matters most in their lives and to their communities.
“Spirituality is not synonymous with religion,” says Father Jake. “Spirituality is the seeking and the practice of excellence in being a human being.” And some people do that with the help of religious information, and others are secular.”
Father Jake believes the Chair of Spirituality is consistent with MSU’s land grant mission.
“At the heart of Michigan State’s land grant mission and at the heart of the Morrill Act itself is the idea that we create spaces around the country to advance the liberal and practical education of our students,” adds Long. “And this is exactly what this chair of spirituality is designed to embody.”
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