July 8-21, 2004
By Kristen Fox / SUN Staff Writer
Le Moyne College Names Medal in Honor of Bishop Thomas Costello
Le Moyne College has recognized Bishop Thomas Costello’s long-standing contribution to peace and justice by naming a medal in his honor. The medal, given on behalf of the college’s Center for Peace and Global Studies, will bear the bishop’s name. The Thomas J. Costello, D.D., Medal in Peace and Global Studies is to be given annually to a senior who exemplifies peace and global studies traits for service. “I am flattered to be so recognized by an institution of higher education which I appreciate so enthusiastically,” said Bishop Costello of the honor. The Center for Peace and Global Studies was founded two years ago with the mandate of educating the Le Moyne campus and the Syracuse community about the centrality of peace to the human endeavor.
“The center promotes the importance of understanding the nature of the global environment and ethical issues at a global level,” explained J. Barron Boyd, professor and director of the Center for Peace and Global Studies. “We hope that it helps students and the community to be productive and ethical global citizens. Boyd said that when the committee was discussing whom to name the award after, Bishop Costello instantly came to mind. “We couldn’t have thought of a better person,” said Boyd, who has known the bishop for 20 years. “I have come to admire him so much for his dedication and service. His commitment to peace and social justice is absolutely manifested in his activities.” Over the years Bishop Costello has served as a Roman Catholic activist for social justice and non-violence. He marched in Alabama during the civil rights movement and has been a staunch advocate for peace, justice, non-violence, and human and civil rights. “Bishop Costello has always demonstrated an excellence in peace and public service through his devotion to issues of social justice and peace and war,” said Boyd. “His intellectual inquiry and ethical implications are consistent with what we are trying to do as an institution of higher learning.”
“Generations to come will associate the name of Bishop Thomas J. Costello with achievement in and dedication to the ideals of peace and global studies and public service,” Boyd added. The Center for Peace and Global Studies promotes critical engagement with issues of global peace and justice. It also explores the ethics of both national policy and personal action for global affairs. A variety of events is held each year to further the mission of global peace and justice. One ongoing initiative supported by the center includes a speaker’s series that has brought to the campus Mairead Corrigan Maguire, recipient of the 1976 Nobel Peace Prize, John Esposito of the Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding and Dimon Liu, Chinese Human Rights Activist. Le Moyne’s commitment to issues of global studies runs deep, explained Boyd. “It is a reflection of the diverse community of scholars that make up the Le Moyne student body and faculty. It also keeps with the Jesuit tradition of inquiry and thinking about issues that transcend national boundaries,” he said.
The first recipient of the Thomas J. Costello, D.D., Medal in Peace and Global Studies v is Charles Keeley, who graduated from Le Moyne in May of 2004. Keeley now lives New York City, where he is preparing to attend Fordham University School of Law. The political science major was an active participant in the Center for Peace and Global Studies during his time at Le Moyne. In the spring semester of his junior year, Keeley took part in the center’s service learning program and volunteered at the Syracuse Refugee Center, where he and a few other classmates helped a Cuban couple who recently arrived in the U.S. get acclimated to the area. He also participated in the 2004 Model United Nations in Boston. In May, Le Moyne sent a delegation of 11 students to the 50th Anniversary Harvard Model United Nations. The trip was co-sponsored by the International Relations Club and the Center for Peace and Global Studies. While in Boston, the students represented the West African country of Guinea Bissau in the simulated United Nations session. The college has participated in the program for over 20 years. Keeley believes the peace and global studies program is one of the most exciting and valuable programs at the college.
“In my mind, the program seeks to shift the focus of students’ awareness to the contemporary international arena, to think critically about citizenship and civic responsibility in an era of globalization, and to apply education in efforts to further human rights and social justice locally and globally,” he said. “Such ideals are central to the Catholic mission, particularly to the Jesuits.”
Although Keeley has never met Bishop Costello, he said that he is honored to receive the award. “His reputation as a progressive church leader and an advocate of social justice serves as an example to the Le Moyne community,” he said. “I am deeply honored to accept the medal for Peace and Global Studies that bears his name.”