UIC Associate Dean Albert Schorsch, III, PhD retired at the end of June, 2015 and began work on July 1st as Director of the Integritas Institute for Ethics at the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center and its School of Catholic Thought at 700 S. Morgan in Chicago.
The Integritas Institute for Ethics, founded in 1997, brings a Catholic vision of justice and professional ethics into dialogue with the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) community, providing symposia, adult education events, Internet media, and other resources in bioethics, business ethics, and general ethics. The School of Catholic Thought offers lifelong learning opportunities for the UIC community to explore Catholic Social Teaching, Catholic arts and letters, the lives and teachings of the saints, and interreligious dialogue.
Schorsch, whose career has combined decades in business, in non-profits, and in Catholic and public higher education, has been associated for 34 years with UIC as a student, alumnus, research faculty member, and for 16 years Associate Dean of the UIC College of Urban Planning and Public Affairs (CUPPA), where he also served as acting Dean. At UIC Schorsch worked in community computing and other economic development projects, in teaching, in administration, in the founding of UIC CUPPA’s Urban Data Visualization Lab, and in human capital development for research administration and for the improvement of business processes and of buildings and grounds. He has taught ethics at the secondary, undergraduate, and graduate level, and has volunteered on the Integritas board and with the School of Catholic Thought for several years.
A student also of the history of Catholic Action, Schorsch has been associated since 1976 with Friendship House, the Catholic interracial apostolate, where he previously edited publications. In the early 1990s, while teaching philosophy and social sciences at the former Niles College Seminary, he directed the Reynold Hillenbrand Institute and initiated a Gang Ministry Research Project. Schorsch earlier participated in Cardinal Bernardin’s Jewish-Catholic Dialogue.
“The call by St. John Paul II Center chaplain Fr. Patrick Marshall for me to join the pastoral team at the St. John Paul II Center was a vocational moment, and an opportunity to follow the Lord more publicly in Catholic service,” said Schorsch. “It will be a challenge to work directly in the footsteps of the previous Integritas director Fr. William Blazek, SJ, MD, a Jesuit priest, physician, and Army combat veteran so uniquely qualified for the position, who returned after two years of leadership at the Integritas Institute to retreat mission in Louisiana to prepare for his final vows. I’m thankful to Fr. Blazek, who very thoughtfully ‘blazed’ a clear trail for me to follow.”
“UIC is the largest university in Chicago,” said Schorsch, “with fifteen colleges, among which are seven health sciences colleges (medicine, nursing, dentistry, pharmacy, public health, applied health sciences, and social work), with UIC students, faculty, and staff totaling alone almost 40,000. Then UIC’s health sciences campus is situated within the Illinois Medical District (IMD), which contains four major hospitals, several clinics and health education institutions, research centers, and related businesses, with tens of thousands of patients and employees—one of the densest concentrations of health care institutions in the world. Likewise, UIC’s business and other alumni populate thousands of Illinois businesses. The moral message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the Catholic tradition of faith and reason must therefore remain visibly present here at UIC, and the Integritas Institute for Ethics and the School of Catholic Thought have a challenging role in making Catholic lifelong learning available to students, faculty, and staff, given the immense scope of the UIC campus and the IMD.”
A graduate of St. Priscilla grade school and Quigley Preparatory Seminary North in Chicago, Schorsch earned degrees in psychology from Niles College Seminary and from Loyola University after a counseling internship at a City of Chicago mental health center. An interest in city planning led Schorsch to complete a PhD in public policy analysis in urban planning and policy from UIC while teaching at the university. He later pursued professional studies at MIT’s Center for Real Estate Development, at the Harvard Institutes for Higher Education, at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, at Business Innovation Services of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and from professional associations. Schorsch is a Certified Research Administrator as recognized by the Research Administrators Certification Council, and has been completing the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt designation.
In the early 1980s, Schorsch taught religion at St. Ignatius College Prep, where he was named Outstanding Educator in 1982. Earlier, while a young graduate student and the editor of Community Magazine for Friendship House, Schorsch drove a cab and tuned pianos. In intervening years among study and teaching, Schorsch worked in the century-old Schorsch family real estate businesses, building homes in Chicago, Deerfield, and Lake Forest, IL, and later worked as quality manager in the printing industry. A musician, Schorsch directed the Precious Blood choir in 1976-77, the St. Ignatius College Prep chorus 1980-82, and served in music ministry at St. Thomas of Canterbury in the late 1970s and early 1980s. After the relocation and renaming of Niles College to St. Joseph’s College Seminary at Loyola, Schorsch returned to UIC and its Center for Urban Economic Development in 1994. He has served on several non-profit and Catholic school boards. Schorsch and his wife Betsy, a nurse and lactation consultant, live in St. Priscilla’s parish, have five children and five grandchildren. Schorsch states that his career has been a bit like the character Bert in the Disney film Mary Poppins. “I appear one day as a one-man band, and the next as a chimney sweep. My job is to bring out the magic in others.”
Schorsch added, “On October 5, 1979, the day that St. John Paul II said his historic Mass in Chicago’s Grant Park, I took my young daughter to a McDonald’s downtown after Mass. There we bumped into Fr. Ray Sullivan, my old guidance teacher from Quigley, who told me that the Pope had approved the naming of the campus ministry at UIC to be the John Paul II Center, where Fr. Ray was to be chaplain. Shortly after taking the job at St. Ignatius in 1980, I visited Fr. Sullivan at the newly-built and dedicated John Paul II Center. My memory of the St. John Paul II Center thus spans its entire history, and I have a special love for its mission of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ at UIC and the IMD.”
© Copyright 2015 by the Integritas Institute for Ethics of the St. John Paul II Catholic Newman Center
All Rights Reserved