Congrats Fr. Shanley!

Fr. Brian Shanley, O.P., is being installed today as the 12th President of Providence College. There's an article in today's Projo (but you might have to register to read it...crazy Rhode Islanders!). You can also read the press release from P.C. back in February, when Fr. Shanley was first appointed.

I'm privileged to say that Fr. Shanley was an advisor and teacher of mine back at Catholic University, and that I learned as much from him about Aristotle, philosophy, and passion for academic inquiry as from any other teacher I've had. The honors program at C.U.A. has a philosophy track with a two-year Aristotelian studium, and due to some administrative shuffling in my time there, I had Fr. Shanley twice.

He'll be a great president of P.C. for two complementary reasons. First, to be frank, he can be a hard-ass. The weightlifting and martial arts give you a sense of his personality...some of my friends, whom I won't name, referred to him as the ├╝berpriest after we read Nietzsche together in his class. He's a very intense guy with a lot of active energy, and he doesn't put up with half-hearted work in or out of the classroom. I almost always did my best work for him, because I knew that he expected it. Second, and perhaps because he is so confident of his abilities and positions, he's very good at engaging in dialogue with difference. A quick look at this blog will show that Fr. Shanley and I are unlikely to agree on every point, but he not only treated those differences of opinion with respect, he was very good at questioning me and my friends in a respectful way. While he walks into a room with strong positions, they aren't prejudices, and so he's genuinely interested to ask questions, even if he has reached a provisional answer to that question. It's as if all those years of Aristotle and Dominican life in search of truth had sunk in or something...

Note: I'm in California now, enjoying less humidity than New England, getting work done, etc...peripatetic life is not the life for me, I've discovered...

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