Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of October 23, 2006
Prof inspired by experience at Newman
By BILL GLEN
WCR Staff Writer
As a determined 20-year-old, Charles Webber found himself studying at Newman Theological College summer school with several parish priests who told tales similar to those he had heard from his own American ancestors.
He then realized the richness of the Church and Catholic education in Alberta.
"It was one of the most influential summers of my life," Webber told the graduates, faculty and guests who attended Newman Theological College's convocation Oct. 14.
"I not only focused on my studies, but I heard the stories of the priests who came from the Pacific Northwest and Western Canada to take summer classes. Their stories were very powerful and motivating."
Webber is associate dean of the graduate division of educational research at the University of Calgary. He has been a teacher, curriculum consultant, principal and professor. He has been a keynote speaker at conferences all over the world.
Webber grew up in Lacombe. After attending the University of Calgary, he moved to Medicine Hat to teach in the Catholic school system.
The superintendent asked him if he could teach hockey and religion. The 20-year-old Webber was then invited to attend Newman Theological College.
He and his colleagues at the University of Calgary try to continue the work done by those who established Newman College. "I can say the work that had its basis here has taken me all over the world."
Webber said he has worked in privileged locations in Canada and abroad, as well as dire situations in Nairobi.
"We had about 300,000 people living in the most abject poverty I have ever seen in my life," Webber told the group.
"But in the middle of all that was a school where there were self-described aging Irish nuns who were providing educational opportunities for young people that really was nothing short of heroic.
"It is the kind of work I hope we can all achieve at some point in our lives."