In accordance with article 6 par. 1 of the ITI’s Statutes, after more than nine years of service to the ITI as President and Rector, Prof. Dr. Christiaan Alting von Geusau, JD., LL.M will retire from his duties on July 31, 2023.
Dr. Geusau expressed deep gratitude to God for placing him in the position of rector, as well as gratitude to ITI’s Grand Chancellor, Cardinal Schönborn, for entrusting him with these responsibilities. He also thanked ITI’s generous benefactors and the members of the Board of Trustees for their steady support. Furthermore, he remains grateful to his colleagues among ITI’s faculty and staff for their positive collaboration over all these years, and to the students for allowing him the privilege of witnessing their transformations at the ITI. Finally, he especially acknowledged his wife Paola for always standing steadfastly by his side, as well as his parents, whose visible love as a couple is the rock upon which he stands firmly. He conveyed his profound appreciation to all: Thank you for allowing me to follow this calling to serve Christ and His Church.
The ceremony for the outgoing rector took place on the feast of St. Anthony of Padua. His Eminence Cardinal Schönborn presided over the Thanksgiving Mass. The Cardinal preached about how there is one invincible reality: Jesus is not ‘yes and no,’ He is always ‘yes.’ In Him all the promises of God are ‘yes’, therefore we say amen to Him for God’s glory. This conviction is the basis for our faith and trust in Christ. His ‘yes’ to us endures and this is why we can be told by Jesus that we are the salt of earth, we are the light of the world. This ‘yes’ of Jesus provides our security, is the foundation for our trust, and forms the rock of our life. The Cardinal added that this is true also of the future of the ITI, since the existence of the ITI depends on a continual act of trust that the ‘yes’ of Jesus stands firm. Looking at that, we can joyfully say: amen.
In the presence of the dear friends and benefactors who joined the ITI community that evening in the Riley Hall, ITI’s Dean Dr.Dr. Bernhard Dolna reflected on almost twenty years of collaboration and friendship with the Rector. He pointed out that Dr. Geusau was always trying to follow the inner voice of God. Going out into the world and showing others the beauty of what the ITI does became his way of serving the Church and society. During Dr. Geusau’s tenure, the ITI added two new courses of study: the Studium Generale and Bachelor of Liberal Arts programs.
‘During the Covid crisis, the ITI was like an oasis of normality, common sense, and freedom amid a desert of chaos and restrictions,’ Mr. Matus Hagara, the representative of the student body, recalled. Rector Geusau, a lawyer by profession, defended the rights and freedoms of citizens including the rights of the Catholic Church, so that ‘the negative effects [of the measures introduced during the time of pandemic] were not experienced as much at the ITI. While students at other universities spent many months behind their screens studying online, ITI students were able to have classes in-person again not long after the outbreak of the pandemic. Additionally, we were even able to celebrate daily liturgy together and lead a bit more of a normal social life on campus than the rest of society. I would even say we were privileged. Thank you very much, Dr. Geusau, for fighting for us,’ Mr. Hagara concluded.
The delegate of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Benedikt Spiegelfeld, expounded on Dr. Geusau’s leadership virtues: ‘You [Christiaan] have been extremely active all these years and have enjoyed enormous success, as a professor, fundraiser, administrator, and rector. You helped lift the ITI to an all-time high. And this accomplishment will make it easier for your successors to build on your many achievements.’
His Eminence, the Grand Chancellor of the ITI, shared his memories of common fundraising trips with Dr. Geusau from when he served the ITI as Vice-President for Development. Dr. Geusau’s conviction that fundraising is not about making cash, but rather making friends, has created a wide network of true friends to the ITI through whom we always rely on God’s providence. ‘I believe you [Christiaan] have followed the mission you have received from the Lord. The ITI was an adventure for you from the very beginning and the way you go now, focusing your professional efforts amongst others on the International Catholic Legislators Network (ICLN), is also an adventure. It is like walking on water, but Jesus is there. He will guide you. God bless you!’ Cardinal Schönborn stated in the closing words of the ceremony.
The outgoing Rector will deliver his final Commencement Address during graduation on Saturday 24 June in the Riley Hall.
The entire ITI community thanks Dr. Christiaan Alting von Geusau for his faithful service to the ITI during his ten years as Vice-President for Development and more than nine years as President and Rector. We wish him abundant blessings as he retires from his duties at the ITI and takes up new professional responsibilities in his life.
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