December 19, 2014

Be Our Guest / Daniel Elsener

Preparing leaders for service to the Church and the world

Daniel ElsenerI hope you’ve heard the news: Marian University’s Football Knights are headed to the NAIA (National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) national championship game in Daytona Beach, Fla., on Dec. 19, to play the Southern Oregon University Raiders. The game is scheduled for 3 p.m. Eastern Standard Time, and will be broadcast on ESPNU, WFNI 107.5 FM in Indianapolis and streamed online at I hope you can join us!

Marian University is committed to excellence in every endeavor. Our success in athletics mirrors our success in the classroom; our students, faculty and staff simply want to be the best at what we do. Marian’s mission is to prepare our students for transformational leadership positions in a variety of professions.

Athletics is just one of the laboratories on campus where leadership development occurs. More than one-third of our undergraduates participate in intercollegiate athletics, and they are learning the importance of teamwork, accountability, discipline, perseverance through adversity, and the pursuit of excellence. We’re building character and developing leaders through athletics.

Our athletic director, Steve Downing, has ingrained into the culture at Marian University the principle that academics always come first, and he has set up study tables to ensure our student-athletes succeed in the classroom. Steve and our coaches have their priorities in the right order, and we’re putting student-athletes on the field that our alumni and fans can be proud of. We believe that athletics build character, especially when combined with the kind of values that a Catholic university like Marian espouses.

Marian’s mission is to be a great Catholic university in the Franciscan and liberal arts tradition.

Marian University is on the rise. We’re collaborating with the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to provide academic formation for students at Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary. We’re also preparing lay women and men for ministry in Catholic parishes and schools through our award-winning San Damiano Scholars program. We’re helping to solve Indiana’s doctor shortage by opening the state’s first new medical school in over a century. We’re training teachers to serve in Catholic schools as well as public, private and charter schools in very diverse regions and circumstances.

We have record enrollment, and our freshman class has the best average GPAs and SAT scores in the history of the university. We’re competing for national championships in football and cycling on a regular basis. If you want to be a part of a growing organization that is transforming our community and beyond, Marian University is the place to be!

When we say that we’re preparing students to be “transformational leaders,” we mean that we want all Marian graduates—regardless of their religious background or faith tradition—to be women and men of character who embody the Catholic Franciscan values that set us apart from the other great universities in Indianapolis and central Indiana.

We take as our model the Blessed Virgin Mary, our patroness. We acknowledge Mary as the “Sedes Sapientiae” (“Seat of Wisdom”) whose humility, courage and fidelity to God’s will made her the first Christian disciple—a servant leader who inspires all who know her to follow Jesus, her son, and to “Do whatever he tells you” (Jn 2:5).

There’s an old joke that goes something like this: “Father, does Jesus care which team wins our championship football game?” the eager fan asked. “No,” the priest replied, “but his mother does.”

At Marian University, we believe that Mary, our mother and our patroness, cares deeply not about winning or losing, but about forming leaders who will make a difference in their personal lives, in their families, in business and their professions, and in service to the Church and to the communities they will serve.

Please join all of us at Marian University in supporting the Football Knights, and all our students, as they prepare for victory on the playing field and in their daily lives.

(Daniel Elsener is president of Marian University in Indianapolis.)

Local site Links:

Like this story? Then share it!