Early in his career, the Rev. Patrick Quinn, S.J., found himself more at home with staff in his various assignments at universities, colleges and high schools. As a math teacher, engineer and IT worker, he got to know the staff of each institution where he worked.
It was in those roles that Regis University’s new mission coordinator for staff outreach discovered how important employees are to the overall Jesuit mission. For Quinn, who started at Regis in August, his new goal is to better connect University staff with the University’s mission. He recently sat down with Regis Today to discuss why that’s important and how he plans to integrate mission into campus life.
Why is mission important for staff?
Most of our efforts on mission are geared toward Ignatian pedagogy or the classroom experience. It’s not usually about staff. How do you understand the mission if you’re a staff member and are not in a classroom? Many of the staff do interact frequently with students — from those who work in student life to those in Athletics to those who work with work-study students. It’s not that staff doesn’t do mission, we just have not found a good way to articulate that mission.
What do you plan to do?
I want staff to be able to tell their story. I’ve done lots of retreats or homilies and it’s not my experience that I’m usually talking about. It’s the experiences I’ve heard about. It’s the wonderful stories of people that I pass along. These aren’t heroic or unimaginable feats. They are the common stories of good people helping out. People hear them and are inspired by them, because they feel, “Hey, I can do that too.” I want to get our staff to tell us their stories so we can share them with the larger community. For me, magis is really regular stories that inspire us to greater efforts. It’s our employees going above and beyond that’s their contribution to mission in the community.
Those interested in sharing their stories or ideas, should contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s something interesting people may not know about you?
I’ve had many quirky experiences in my travels but one of the more bizarre involved jumpstarting a house. I was living and working in Mobile, Alabama — a location known for frequent lightning storms and hurricanes. A community house was equipped with a whole house generator because of frequent power outages. During one storm the lights went out, and the generator failed to start because the battery was dry. We got some distilled water, added this to the battery and brought the truck over. Once we hooked up the cables, the generator fired right up. Only in Alabama.