Dec 10, 2021
I love baseball and the film Field of Dreams (1989). My favorite scene may be where James Earl Jones’ character says, “The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America … has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time … Oh, people will come, Ray. [If you build it] people will most definitely come.”
My thoughts have turned to this film and this scene as I’ve read the history of Franciscan University of Steubenville, which marked 75 years since its founding on December 10.
“Will anyone come?” had to be a big question for the founders of the College of Steubenville in 1946. After all, it’s one thing to build a fictional ballfield in the middle of an Iowa cornfield but quite another to build a Catholic college in an Ohio steel town 18 months after the end of World War II—with no money, no classrooms, no professors.
But people did come—258 students and 10 professors who doubled as administrators at the start. Today, they still come, in numbers larger than ever, to the now internationally well-known Franciscan University of Steubenville. The secret to this ongoing success comes from one constant, one common thread, through all the ups and downs of the past 75 years.