Chris Lowney, one-time Jesuit seminarian, the author of the bestselling book, Heroic Leadership, will give the Commencement address on Saturday, May 5, at Wheeling Jesuit University
The university will hold its 60th commencement ceremony at 10:30 a.m. inside the Alma Grace McDonough Center, where 290 bachelor, master and doctorate degrees will be conferred by Dr. Debra Townsley, president of WJU.
“Chris’ commitment to social justice and entrepreneurship is a fine example to our graduates of how Jesuit trained graduates can impact the world. I know his message to the class of 2018 will inspire them to live our mission to be men and women in service to others,” said Dr. Townsley.
His latest book, Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World), will be published on May 1. Lowney will share key themes from that book during his commencement address.
A summa cum laude graduate of Fordham University, Lowney chairs the board of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI), a healthcare/hospital system with $15 billion in annual revenue and 95,000 employees that provides $900 million of charity care/community benefit. During his board tenure, CHI has doubled in scale and will become the largest non-profit healthcare/hospital system in the U.S. if its announced merger with Dignity Health is completed.
Additionally, Lowney has a long-standing commitment to social entrepreneurship initiatives that serve poor and vulnerable populations. As founding president of Jesuit Commons, he helped pioneer a multinational collaboration to offer online university education in refugee camps in Kenya and Malawi and now elsewhere.
He founded Pilgrimage for Our Children’s Future, which has supported secondary education in South Sudan and teacher training in India’s Nagaland, among other initiatives. As special assistant at Catholic Medical Mission Board in the early 2000s, he helped establish that organization’s first Mother-to-Child-HIV-prevention programs in South Africa and Kenya. He conceived and co-founded Contemplative Leaders in Action, a young adult leadership formation program now active in a half-dozen cities.
After leaving the seminary, Lowney served as managing director of J.P Morgan & Co. in Tokyo, Singapore, London and New York. He left the firm in 2001 and since that time has authored seven books. Heroic Leadership, which has been translated into 11 languages, is on the recommended reading list of the Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corp.
Lowney is featured in a PBS documentary based on his book Vanished World: Muslims, Christians, and Jews in Medieval Spain. He also has authored Pope Francis: Why He Leads the Way He Leads; Everyone Leads: How to Revitalize the Catholic Church and, most recently, Make Today Matter: 10 Habits for a Better Life (and World).
In addition to serving as WJU’s Commencement speaker, Lowney, who grew up in Queens, New York, will be awarded an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters, adding to the six he already has received from other colleges and universities.