Fr. William Graf, Chair
Saint John Fisher, Bishop of Rochester (England) and Chancellor of Cambridge University, is the patron of the College. Erasmus described him as “one man at this time who is incomparable for uprightness of life, for learning, and for greatness of soul.” The Basilian Fathers have as their motto lines from Psalm 119, “Teach me goodness, discipline, and knowledge.” John Fisher embodied these qualities as a man of integrity, a scholar rooted in the liberal arts, and one who chose to make a difference in his service to others. As Chancellor, he was committed to the liberal arts (e.g., rhetoric, philosophy, sciences) as tools to best prepare students for further work in theology (religious studies) and careers of service and transformation. John Fisher employed Erasmus as a professor of languages, and his own tutor in the same languages, so he and the students could better read documents/resources that would help support and articulate reasoned arguments and further discussion.
The minor in Catholic heritage utilizes the talents of the various departments/schools, especially in the liberal arts, to honor John Fisher by exploring in depth the rich heritage that he fostered as Chancellor to promote the mission of Cambridge University. The minor encourages students to realize various intellectual underpinnings for their intentional choices in the service of others. The interdisciplinary approach to the study of Catholic heritage mutually strengthens the students’ understanding of the Roman Catholic religion as well as its articulation in the arts and sciences.
The minor also concretely reflects the spirit of the concise mission statement of the College. The minor will maintain a deliberate focus on the interdisciplinary study of the Catholic heritage beyond the religious studies department’s minor, which concentrates on Roman Catholic theology. This will support students becoming academically well-rounded, and learning to approach problems from a multidisciplinary perspective, by directing them to broader interests and perspectives in a structured and intentional way.