We Honor a Genuine Leader

Father John Malone joked on Thursday at our ceremony to rename Selby Hall as Flynn Hall after Archbishop Harry Flynn that the occasion might be the closest I ever would get to naming a baby.

Father Malone was right, in his own inimitable fashion. He was even more right when he added that I chose a good time to do so.

Truth be told, I couldn’t have chosen a better time.

As I mentioned at the ceremony, very few activities in my nearly 18 years as president of St. Thomas have brought me as much satisfaction as naming the building after the man who has served as chair of the St. Thomas Board of Trustees since 1995.

And I meant it. Archbishop Flynn has all of the qualities that one looks for in a leader. He is wise. He is insightful. He values our mission. He has been, as I told the crowd, “our chief cheerleader.”

But he also brings something else to the table: the word of God. In his brief acceptance remarks after we pulled the cover from the words “Flynn Hall” over the main entrance, Archbishop Flynn said he hopes the students who live there today and in the future will “come to understand one thing . . . that God looks at each one of us individually and loves each one of us individually.” He then urged our students, in turn, to reach out to others and to share that love with them.

Simple words, yet profound words, and they so beautifully reflect the essence of this great man and the message that he always carries with him: that God loves us, and that we must share that love with others.