.- Mike Kent grew up Catholic in Florida. He attended the University of Central Florida for a year and played football. Then he went to World Youth Day 2002 in Toronto.
"I had an empty feeling in my heart, and I thought it would be filled by partying and things like that," he told NBC's Today show Monday. "It was when I went to World Youth Day in Toronto, Canada, in 2002, and I met the Lord."
The young man's encounter with Jesus was so strong that he withdrew from UCF, left for Rome to learn more about his faith and then enrolled at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.
Since then, he says, the environment at the Franciscan University has nurtured every aspect of his life.
"Academically, my grades have never been better," says Kent. "When I work, my work ethic is better. I have something to live for."
"We're combining faith and reason, academics and spiritual life," says university president Fr. Terence Henry, "and it seems students hunger for both, and we've got a beautiful way of combining it. It seems to work and the proof is in the pudding,"
The university will be prominently featured in the latest edition of Newsweek. The national magazine has conducted a special study on the surge in spirituality in the United States.