Danute Nourse, Director of Programs for the Center for Catholic Studies, is retiring from Seton Hall after 25 years of dedicated service.
“I’m retiring but not leaving!” That was Danute Nourse’s repeated line over the course of a week of events celebrating her friendship, accomplishments and legacy at Seton Hall University. Danute arrived at the University nearly 25 years ago and for the past 17 years, she served as the Director of Programs for the Center for Catholic Studies, retiring from her role in May.
Prior to joining the Center for Catholic Studies, Danute began her professional career at the University as Assistant Director for Corporation and Foundation Relations in University Advancement in 1998. She was hired to fund and implement programs for the newly-formed School of Diplomacy and International Relations and other internationally-based projects, including the G.K. Chesterton Institute for Faith & Culture. Among her projects, in 2001 she worked with the School of Diplomacy and International Relations to jointly found a graduate degree program in diplomacy and international relations at Vytautas Magnus University in Lithuania. The program continues to this day, and is among the most popular programs at Vytautas Magnus University, graduating hundreds of those with master's degrees to represent Lithuania in the post-Soviet era.
She joined Monsignor Richard Liddy, Ph.D. in the founding of the Center and played a key role in its many initiatives. She has been indispensable to its success and influential in the direction it has taken. Speaking about her role, Monsignor Liddy put it simply: “Danute Nourse has had a profound effect on the Catholic mission of Seton Hall University.”
The opportunities open to a modern Catholic University are tremendous as are the challenges. In ways analogous to prior eras, “contemporary Catholic thought seeks to mediate the faith through the contemporary sciences, scholarly disciplines, and practical efforts to make the world a better place,” noted Monsignor Liddy.
Annual Faculty Summer Seminar 2018, Seton Hall University, Faculty participants with Fr. Lawrence Frizzell, Guest Speaker.
One of Danute’s key contributions was the insistence that this work requires not only better programming, but deeper relationships and communities. Working together with the Director of the Center for Vocation and Servant Leadership Linda Garofalo, she helped develop the Praxis Program of Advanced Seminar on Mission, an interdisciplinary professional development program for faculty and administrators. To date, that program has provided ongoing support and community to over 100 faculty, staff and administrators across all campuses and from the 11 colleges involved in the program. It is a model that has had unusual success and is being replicated at universities across the United States.
Linda Garofalo spoke about Daunte’s “programmatic genius” in developing a program that serves the needs of its participants by enabling them to incorporate the mission of the university into their teaching and research:
From the first meeting we had, attempting to programmatize the inspiration that was the inception of the Praxis Program, Danute knew exactly what the ingredients for success were. Mission, goals and objectives were her constant focus. And in the thousands of hours of program development that we have spent together during the last 10 years, she had the genius to tailor the mission, goals, and objectives to the needs of our participants, almost none of whom are in the fields of theology or philosophy. Her unique and irreplaceable professional contribution is as a programmatic genius.
Beyond the Praxis Program, Danute was instrumental alongside Monsignor Liddy in creating the Catholic Studies major as well as student and faculty trips abroad. She organized and facilitated excursions to Oxford, Rome, France and the Czech Republic. Nancy Enright, Ph.D., professor of English and director of the University Core, recalled Danute’s importance in making these events transformative for both faculty and students:
Danute combined grace and elegance with practicality and charity – a wonderful combination. I went on three trips to Oxford as a faculty member in the CAST study abroad course, ‘Foundations of Christian Culture.’ She helped to make the experience incredibly meaningful and enjoyable for both faculty and students, including my daughter, who was graciously welcomed by Danute. She will be missed but we hope she will always visit us in the Core and Catholic Studies.
West Coast Method Institute Conference 2018, Lonergan Research Institute, Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles California, with presenters Ligita Ryliskyte , Linda Garofalo, Jeremy Wilkins, Danute Nourse.
In her role as Director of Programs, she helped facilitate lectures and seminars by leading thinkers throughout the world. Remarking on this work, Monsignor Liddy said, “I think of so many activities Danute organized here, such as the 2008 Conference on Lonergan’s Economics with the printed proceedings in the Lonergan Review. 150 people, 30 papers: papers that are still cited today. She also organized a conference for the Newman Association of America, a three-day conference with participants from all over the country.” Among these activities were a set of summer seminars that led to the development of our University Core Curriculum.
Monsignor Liddy credited Danute’s success at Seton Hall to the “attitudes and method she has brought to all of her involvements: first of all, her faith-filled approach to all challenges, certainly rooted in her profoundly faith-filled Lithuanian family heritage and an extraordinary ability to articulate and communicate her values and plan accordingly. She is a woman of strength and courage with deep convictions, and she is not afraid to say what she thinks to whomever. She has the courage to articulate the truth of her convictions and to work incessantly to bring about the good.”
Danute has been essential not only to the founding of the Center for Catholic Studies at Seton Hall, but also to its continuity. She remained at Seton Hall to oversee the transition of the Center’s current director, Gregory P. Floyd, into his role after Monsignor’s Liddy retirement.
Commenting on Danute’s impact, Floyd noted:
She helped guide us through the unchartered waters of pandemic programming and she was instrumental in ensuring her own replacement would have both the necessary skills and the depth of vision to continue the good work to which she has dedicated her professional life. We are so grateful to her and wish her well. And, we are very glad that she is, 'retiring but not leaving' us here at Seton Hall. Linda Garofalo summarized well many of our sentiments when she said that, 'Without question, Danute has been a source of creative healing in the realms of influence in which she has operated. That influence, not only of her presence, but also of the fruitfulness of her work, is a testament to her commitment to incarnate the meaning of the University’s mission in all that she is, and in all that she has accomplished.'
Bravo, Danute! Bonne Chance!
Categories: Faith and Service