Dean Robert Vischer

Dean's Column - Engaging the World

Dean Robert Vischer discusses how School of Law graduates contribute to the "globalization of solidarity."

At St. Thomas Law, our mission compels us to engage the world.

Over the last few years, our School of Law’s international enrollment and outreach have increased dramatically. It’s hardly news for a law school to tackle global problems or form overseas partnerships. Preparing students for professional success requires giving them a global perspective, and St. Thomas is no exception to this rule. In an increasingly interconnected world, “global” is a word found in virtually every university’s strategic plan. However, the priority we’ve placed on global engagement is not about following market trends; it’s the latest chapter in our effort to be faithful stewards of a broader story.

God’s radical love for human beings provides a compelling and countercultural reason to love others as we love ourselves. Increasingly, it seems, our world defines us by our differences and implores us to care for others only to the extent that they look like, think like or act like we do. Or at the opposite extreme, the world makes it easy to ignore difference and push everyone into the same consumer-driven framework, as though culture, religion and worldview can be glossed over by maximizing economic self-interest. Both extremes contribute to what Pope Francis refers to as “the globalization of indifference.” We are called, instead, to build a civilization that is permeated by love. As Pope Francis has explained, “alongside the globalization of the markets there must be a corresponding globalization of solidarity.”

In this issue of St. Thomas Lawyer, I hope you will appreciate reading about the early fruit of our efforts to contribute to the “globalization of solidarity.” From our alumni touching lives and working for justice all over the world, to students taking advantage of opportunities to prepare themselves for careers of cross-cultural impact, to faculty and staff opening their homes to international students for food and fellowship, we aspire, in ways that will rarely earn headlines or accolades, to build relationships of solidarity that extend far beyond Minnesota.

Solidarity is not contingent on our ability to identify similarities between us and the other, but rather, in the words of Pope Paul VI, “binds us to make ourselves the neighbor of every person without exception, and of actively helping him when he comes across our path.”

We are not committed to becoming a global law school as a means of institutional self-promotion; we are called to become a global law school as an expression of our mission. We will continue to be steadfast in our effort to create a culture that shines with love for neighbor. Are we ready to make ourselves the neighbor of every person without exception?

Thank you for walking with us on this journey. If you have ideas or suggestions for how we can do better in contributing to the globalization of solidarity, please do not hesitate to let me know. You can reach me at or (651) 962-4838.

Read more from St. Thomas Lawyer.

Next in St. Thomas Lawyer