Mesa, Ariz. ~ Today's students are tomorrow's leaders, and they often want answers to the same questions that have been perplexing mankind for millennia. Questions like "Why do I exist?" "Is there a God?" "Does life have meaning?"
Rob Curtis will try to answer these questions and many others for the students at Benedictine University at Mesa.
Curtis, who has served at parishes and schools in the Diocese of Phoenix for the past 15 years, has been named the new campus minister at BenU at Mesa.
"Rob brings with him years of campus ministry experience, a familiarity with the surrounding community and a strong ecumenical background," said Kevin Broeckling, associate vice president for University Services and Student Life. "Rob will be tasked with providing opportunities for students to explore, develop and strengthen their understanding of their faith and how they share it with others."
Curtis comes to Benedictine from Seton Catholic Preparatory High School in Chandler, Ariz., where he was director of Campus Ministry.
"I think a campus minister is one of the most crucial positions at any Catholic university," Curtis said. "The campus minister serves as a bridge between the university community and the greater Catholic world. I am thrilled to be at Benedictine because of the tradition, heritage and spirituality of St. Benedict.
"I see St. Benedict as a unique model for young adults," he added. "Like so many young people today, he became disillusioned with the world (of Rome). But unlike many today who turn away from God, he retreated to seek out God, to seek out wisdom and to seek out meaning in his life."
Curtis hopes to use the office of campus minister to facilitate the spiritual growth and journey of all students regardless of faith, but to do so from a uniquely Catholic (i.e. universal) worldview that sees everything and everyone as being of consequence.
"It truly boils down to answering the call of Christ to share the good news to all," he said.
Curtis said he is listening and gathering information from students, faculty and Mesa campus administration regarding the kinds of activities they would like to see. There have already been requests for retreats, Bible studies, outreach to the athletic teams, development of student ministry leadership teams, spiritual guidance and further development of campus liturgical life.
He will also work closely with Fr. James Aboyi, V.C., a parochial vicar at the Holy Cross Parish in Mesa who serves as BenU at Mesa's chaplain, to create stronger ties between the institution and the area's Catholic populace.
"I am keenly aware of the need to be ecumenical in my approach," Curtis said. "It is my hope to offer programming that fits the spiritual needs and hopes of the student body by the start of the spring semester. I am also looking to help connect the University in a stronger way to the local Catholic community."
In addition to his work at Seton Catholic Prep, Curtis has served as a junior high teacher and Pastoral Minister responsible for Liturgy, Marriage and Adult Faith Formation at St. John Vianney Roman Catholic Parish in Goodyear. He got his start in lay ecclesial ministry as an intern at the Arizona State University Catholic Newman Center, where he found his calling to serve the Church as a lay minister.
Curtis earned master's degrees in Secondary Teacher Education at the University of Phoenix, and Pastoral Theology and Educational Leadership at St. Joseph's College of Maine.
Curtis is a native of Arizona who was born and raised in Chandler. He and his wife, Carrie, have two daughters – Taylor, age 9, and Molly, age 5.
Benedictine University at Mesa is a branch campus of Benedictine University, an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois, just 25 miles west of Chicago. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine was named among "America's Top Colleges" for the sixth consecutive year in 2016 by Forbes magazine. Accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (hlcommission.org). For more information, contact (602) 888-5500, firstname.lastname@example.org or visit ben.edu/mesa.