Jesuit alumni gathering inspires

University of Detroit Mercy was well-represented at the World Union of Jesuit Alumni Congress held last week at John Carroll University in Cleveland. Two attendees shared their thoughts on the event after it ended.

Gerald Cavanagh, S.J., Detroit Mercy professor of management, planned the program for alumni interested in business and filled it with topics close to the heart of Jesuit mission. He was also on a panel discussion titled “Supporting Business Decisions for a Sustainable World: Pope Francis, Laudato Si,”

“There were people there from different continents,” Fr. Cavanagh said. “And it was great to hear from some of the speakers, talk about what Jesuits are doing around the world.”

That celebration of Jesuit eduction was, for Cavanagh, the theme of the congress: “We talked about what we have to do to make Ignatian values real for the present day. How can Ignatian values impact the world we live in? People all over the world are doing terrific things and it’s important we hear from them.” 

Gregory Ulferts, a Detroit Mercy Professor of Decision Sciences in the College of Business Administration was on a panel discussion called “Global Networking: Technology Benefits Jesuit Alumni.” As executive director of the International Association of Jesuit Business Schools (IAJBS), it’s a subject to which he has given much thought.

“We should be using technology to bring resources and people together,” he said, citing the work done by the IAJBS toward this goal. “Instead of competing with each other, we should ask ‘how do we come together to create more exchange programs and partnerships that promote Jesuit values?'” This networking with other Jesuit alumni was an important aspect of the congress, he said.

Ulferts added that there is a growing understanding that alumni of Jesuit institutions are united by their Jesuit education, and not just loyal to their own institution. Jesuit colleges and universities should tap that resource by creating opportunities for more collaboration with each other.

That’s necessary for an important reason, he said: “United, we have a better chance of leavening up society.” 


The World Union of Jesuit Alumni Congress is held every four years; this year is the first time it was in the United States. 

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