Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Who knew? Certainly not me. That's embarrassing. The man who had been working behind the counter at the Mail Center for the last two years had a bigger plan. Since the Mail Center is an important part of the division of Student Affairs, I should know more about the people working in my area. So when Joe Ruiz told me last week that he was leaving for Philadelphia to join the Augustinian order I was surprised. Wouldn't he be at Trinity forever? No. He will spend a year at Villanova and then move to Racine to begin his novitiate the following year.
I knew Joe to be a religious man. I even knew him to be a Catholic and to have an advanced degree. Shame on me for not learning more sooner. He took a couple years off from his religious life to be sure he had found the right calling. While serving students and employees here with a kind and understated demeanor he was also confirming his own path. That path is to become an Augustinian brother. Joe has a deep faith. He is introspective and he has dedicated much of his life to serving others.
Joe's last day here is August 12. Joe attended St. Edward's in Austin and was a first generation college student and part of the McNair program there. He graduated cum laude in 2006. He completed his Master of Arts at the Oblate School of Theology in 2010.
I have learned two things from Joe's experience. The first is really just a reinforcement of something I already knew. The Trinity community, as with almost any other, is filled with people who have interesting and surprising stories. Sometimes you just need to pay attention. Thanks for the reminder, Joe.
The second lesson is that no work is unworthy. I knew that too. Joe is an exemplary employee. Like his colleagues, Carl, Mary, and Edward, he has great pride in the quality of work done in the Mail Center. Carl and Edward have found ways to save the University tens of thousands of dollars through increased efficiency standards. Mary will tear up talking about her interactions with student workers and other students. She has been a mother to some and is as proud as anyone of Trinity University. One thing I love about my Student Affairs colleagues is that each one thinks his or her job is the most important one and the best one on campus. It is an amazing group. (Although my job really IS the best one!)
Once again, I am reminded of the specialness of the Trinity community. The stories are everywhere. This one was closer to home than I recognized. So with that, best wishes to Joe as he pursues his ministry. After all, it seems it never really stopped.