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Waynesburg University's Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership develops leaders to positively impact America's political and social institutions. The Stover Scholars traveled to Washington, D.C. in November 2012 and met six leaders who have had an impact on American society.

 

Former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, former U.S. Attorney General and Pennsylvania Governor Richard L. Thornburgh, Roman Catholic Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Supreme Court litigators Michael Carvin and Gregory Katsas, and economist Richard Rahn provided insights about leadership, law, economics and ethics to the scholars.

 

Commenting on the D.C. trip, Stover Scholar J.R. Kautz said, "I can honestly say this trip has been one of the most influential and notable experiences of my life. I am proud to be a Stover Scholar."

 

During their meeting with former U.S. Justice Department Officials Gregory Katsas and Michael Carvin at the Washington, D.C. office of the Jones Day Law Firm, the largest law firm in the world, both attorneys described their experience and strategy litigating the National Federation of Independent Business's constitutional challenge to Obamacare.

 

The group then visited Cardinal Donald Wuerl at St. Matthew's Cathedral, where Wuerl expressed hope that the Stover Scholars would be leaders of change in the future and urged them to stay connected to America's traditional values and moral foundations.

 

Later, the Scholars met retired Justice Sandra Day O'Connor at the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice O'Connor told the Stover Scholars that she "worked hard to set a good precedent as the first woman Justice, not a bad one."

 

The Stover Scholars then visited former Chamber of Commerce economist Dr. Richard Rahn, Chairman of the Institute for Global Economic Growth, at the Cato Institute, where he listed the requirements for a prosperous economy.

 

At the National Archives, the Stover Scholars viewed the original Declaration of Independence, U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights.

 

The Stover Scholars ended their D.C. trip by meeting former U.S. Attorney General and Pennsylvania Governor Dick Thornburgh at the Metropolitan Club. Thornburgh's remarks about ethics and law drew upon Micah 6:8: "do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God."


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Second lieutenant Courtney Parker, motivated by her parents' sacrifices and devotion, embarks on a journey to serve God and her country.

Fulfilling her duties as both a patriot and a Christian means everything to Waynesburg University alumna Courtney Parker.

A second lieutenant in the United States Army from Columbus, Ga., Parker was inspired to serve in the military by her parents, both once active duty soldiers. Parker's goals of honoring their sacrifices, emulating their devotion to America and continuing a legacy of pride motivated her throughout her demanding training and continue to drive her as she embarks on her military career.

Parker and other Waynesburg University students interested in pursuing careers in the military are eligible to participate in Reserve Officer Training Corps (ROTC) program at West Virginia University (WVU) through an agreement between the two universities.

“The almost daily commute between Waynesburg and WVU, the insanely early morning wake ups, all the nights spent training in the mountains, all the hard work… I'm glad I did it. I am so proud to finally be an officer and a soldier,” said Parker, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in sociology (pre-law) in 2012.

Sworn in on May 11, Parker is currently serving as Camp Cadre at Fort Lewis, Wash., with the Leadership Development and Assessment Course, which is a one month ROTC camp every cadet must attend prior to commissioning. In her role of Camp Cadre, Parker is evaluating cadets in their third year of ROTC.

In September, Parker will move to Fort Lee, Va., where she will participate in a Basic Officer Leadership Course for five months, after which she will take on her first duty assignment with the 108th Air Defense Artillery DBE at Fort Bragg, N.C., in February 2013.

“I have no doubt that Courtney will be successful as an officer in the U.S. Army,” said John McIlwain, instructor of criminal justice at Waynesburg University. “I have the upmost respect for her.”

McIlwain said Parker successfully balanced academics and her commitment to ROTC, demonstrating a notable ability to excel at both.

She was also active in the Pre-Law Society, the Stover Scholars Program and participated in several service mission trips during her time at Waynesburg.

“In these past four years, I have traveled to a foreign country, jumped out of airplanes, met with some of the highest ranking officials, became a United States Army Officer, made lifelong friends, completed a Bachelor of Arts degree and discovered more about myself than I could imagine,” Parker said.

As for the nature of her personal discoveries – they cover a broad spectrum.

“I can accomplish great things,” Parker said. “I can be strong. I can excel in academics. I can navigate an airport all by myself. I can tour a new city. I can learn a new language. I can talk to strangers. I can fall in love with God every day. I can have gigantic dreams. I can.”


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The opportunity to be a part of a program founded upon the principles that embody who he is has restored Dan Czajkowski's hope in the world.

Ironically, more than five years ago when the program was established, Waynesburg alumnus Dr. W. Robert Stover (1942), the man for whom the program is named, approached Waynesburg University President Timothy R. Thyreen with concerns about the direction in which the United States was heading. From that conversation, Waynesburg University's Stover Scholar Program for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership was developed with the purpose of finding young women and men exactly like Dan Czajkowski.

“Centered on the first principles of our nation and ethical Christian leadership, the Stover Scholar Program seeks to bring Christianity into the public sphere,” Czajkowski said. “The Program is consistent with the University's mission to integrate faith, serving and learning, and encourages its scholars to be faithful servants to the public good.”

Through his involvement in the Program, Czajkowski, a junior criminal justice administration major, has found assurance that there are others, like him, “who desire to make a difference by walking in integrity and committing themselves to lives of public service.”

“Our world needs men and women who will stand with moral fortitude against popular culture, and I am fortunate to be in a program that supports my desire to do that,” Czajkowski said.

Czajkowski's testimony is validation that the Stover Scholar Program is achieving precisely what it was intended to achieve.

“Waynesburg University's Stover Scholar Program is committed to developing leaders who embrace the constitutional principles that guided the Founding Fathers in an effort to positively impact the direction of American politics and law,” said University President Timothy R. Thyreen.

Appropriately, from an early age, Dan Czajkowski was captivated by the notions of law and justice which inherently led him on a path to find a career within the criminal justice system.

“I am passionate about righting wrongs, and I desire to find the career where I would be most capable of bringing justice to the world around me,” Czajkowski said.

Regardless of what his next step might be, there is no doubt in the minds of those who know him best that Czajkowski will be effectively prepared to fill a significant role.

“Daniel Czajkowski is a well-respected leader at Waynesburg University with a gentle and friendly disposition which makes his strong analytical insights very persuasive among his peers and professors,” said Dr. Lawrence M. Stratton, director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership.

Stratton reflected upon Czajkowski's role in a play put on last September during Waynesburg University's Constitution Day celebration in which the Stover Scholars reenacted the debates surrounding the 1787 Constitutional Convention and ratification. Stratton said Czajkowski fittingly played the role of future President James Monroe, which led him to his next thought.

“It is not hard to imagine Daniel Czajkowski occupying the Oval Office himself one day,” Stratton said.

His courses and the opportunities afforded by Waynesburg University have served as deliberate steps toward his future goals, whether that is working in law enforcement or a government career.

“Waynesburg is very effective at producing career-ready graduates. What sets Waynesburg apart in preparing its graduates for life after college is the emphasis it places on how a graduate uses the skill set that he or she developed while at Waynesburg,” he said.

Czajkowski is certain that the Criminal Justice Administration Program, specifically its curriculum and opportunities for experiential learning, has effectively prepared him for the challenges ahead.

“My time working seasonally for a police department speaks especially to the quality of our Criminal Justice program, as I felt head and shoulders above my peers in the amount of understanding I had of my field compared to students from other colleges,” he said.

Similarly, Waynesburg's social science curriculum, according to Czajkowski, has complemented his education by enhancing his knowledge and understanding of both government and governance.

Czajkowski plans to pursue a master's degree in Public Administration following his graduation from Waynesburg University. Although he has theories of what his future will hold, ultimately he said his plans will rely on God's plan for his life.

“I will continue to dedicate my talents to God and seek to use them for His glory and honor,” he said. “Although I am currently pursuing a path in law enforcement, I am open to God's leading in my life and am anxious to see where He will guide me.”

In the spring of 2013, Czajkowski will spend his semester in Washington, D.C., studying through the Best Semester's American Studies Program. The Program is one of 12 off-campus study abroad programs offered through the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities.


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Waynesburg University Stover Scholars recently visited U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager in Washington, D.C.
Justice Sotomayor urged the students to pursue their passions while contributing to the broader community. Sotomayor hinted that one person in the room might one day become a member of the Supreme Court. Sotomayor emphasized that the opportunity to serve should be recognized as a privilege and that it is worthwhile to give of oneself to fulfill his or her vocation.
 
The Stover Scholars, chosen for their interest in the relationship between the U.S. Constitution and Christian Ethics, asked Sotomayor questions about the role of her own experiences, her faith and the personal challenges of being in the public eye.
 
"When people are presented with the privilege of serving the public, they have an obligation to take it," she said.
 
"Meeting Justice Sotomayor was more than memorable to me," said Chase Ayers, a pre-law major from Charleroi, Pa. "Hearing her words conveyed a special meaning that I could not have received from a book."
 
The group then visited Ambassador Sager at the Swiss Embassy. They discussed Switzerland's system of government, strong economic foundation, neutral foreign policy, and Swiss-American relations.
 
"Hearing about Switzerland from the Swiss perspective was unique," said Jeremy Hinkle, a freshman history major from Washington, Pa.
 
The students then met several prominent Washington government officials and scholars at the historic City Tavern Club in Georgetown. Thomas R. Johnson, a partner at the Pittsburgh law firm K&L Gates, spoke on the attributes of strong leadership.
 
“Mr. Johnson reminded us that when we are called to fulfill a duty, it is our civic obligation to do so,” said Daniel Czajkowski, a criminal justice and political science major from Frederick, Md.
 
Reflecting on the trip, Zander Shashura, a business major from Fredericktown, Pa., said, “On this trip, we were surrounded by people who are carrying out what they and the Stover Program preach.” Shashura continued, “Talking to them and listening to the stories they have to tell of their own lives gives us all examples to follow as we aspire to be leaders and change the world around us.”
 
Zachary Mason, a secondary education major from Waynesburg, said, "Our trip to D.C. was a truly remarkable experience that I will never forget. Not every person has the privilege to meet a Supreme Court Justice, meet a foreign Ambassador and have dinner with so many distinguished individuals."
 
Dr. Lawrence M. Stratton, director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership, said, "I was proud of the Stover Scholars as they conversed with Justice Sotomayor, Ambassador Sager, Attorney Johnson, and the other individuals who are making a difference for civilization. I hope that the Stover Scholars will aspire to follow in their footsteps and that the officials will cherish memories of meeting Waynesburg University students."
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Waynesburg University's Roberts Chapel recently hosted an ordination and installation service for the Rev. Dr. Lawrence M. Stratton as the director of Waynesburg University's Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership and a minister of the Presbyterian Church.

The Rev. Tom Ribar, Waynesburg University chaplain, issued words of welcome and a call to worship for the very special service. Ribar quoted Psalm 46 verse 10, “Be still and know that I am God,” to illustrate God's hand in Stratton's journey to ministry.

Stratton was surrounded by his colleagues, friends and family as he received the traditional “Laying on of Hands” ceremony and accepted the charge to guide Waynesburg University in the way of Jesus Christ.

“It was a very special experience to be surrounded by so many people from the Waynesburg University community, along with my family and many friends and colleagues from the past,” Stratton said. “During the service, I looked forward toward the pulpit and lectern; only when I stood up after kneeling for the laying on of hands and after greeting the many Ministers and Elders did I look toward the congregation and see how many wonderful people were there.”

The Rev. Dr. M. Craig Barnes, Senior Pastor of the Shadyside Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh, preached a message entitled “The Great Temptations of Scholarship” in which he outlined the challenges that Stratton will face as a newly ordained minister. One temptation, Barnes said, is to satisfy the educational hunger of students.

“As a professor, and now a minister, resist the opportunity to fill the hunger of students. God created them to be hungry,” Barnes said. “You are to nurture this hunger and to help your students and your colleagues ask better questions about the world.”

Waynesburg University's Lamplighters sang two anthems, “Sicut Cervus,” by Giovanni P. Palestrina and “My Soul's Been Anchored in the Lord,” by Moses Hogan, under the direction of Melanie Catana, director of choral music at Waynesburg University. University faculty, staff and trustees, as well as University President Timothy Thyreen and his wife, Mrs. Carolyn Thyreen, attended to show their support.

“It is a constant inspiration for me to be part of Waynesburg University's endeavor of being a Christian institution dedicated to the pursuit of truth and service, especially as my academic and spiritual path to Waynesburg began almost two decades ago,” Stratton said.

The Rev. Dr. Donald P. Wilson, interim executive presbyter at Washington Presbytery, conducted the prayer of ordination and the “Laying on of Hands” ceremony. Wilson charged the University to hold strong to its anchor in the Lord and to welcome Stratton with open arms. In the same prayer, he called Stratton to be an example of Christ in Waynesburg University's classrooms and hallways.

“We live in a broken time; to accept a call to ministry at a time such as this could be frightening,” Wilson said. “The University accepts Stratton at a time such as this to continue a mission of faith, serving and learning.”


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