Xavier Magazine

Extra Credit: George Traub, S.J.

Once a week, a group of 25 or 30 Xavier faculty and staff come together to listen, learn and reflect on Jesuit history, Ignatian spirituality and the University’s mission. The group is part of AFMIX, (Assuring the Future of Mission and Identity at Xavier), which has guided 123 employees through the two-year process so far. For participants, it’s a way to better understand Xavier’s mission in light of its history and spiritual foundation; for George Traub, S.J., executive director of the Center for Mission and Identity, it’s another step toward understanding, transmitting and living the Jesuit identity.

“The purpose of AFMIX is to get a knowledge and an experience of Ignatian spirituality and Jesuit education such that a person can incorporate that into her own particular work. I couldn’t tell a math professor how to teach math or a development person how to raise money, but if we give them this common fund of knowledge and experience, they can run with it.”

Traub entered the Jesuit novitiate at Milford, Ohio, in 1954, fresh out of high school. He went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in literature

from Xavier, and then advanced degrees in English and philosophy from West Baden College, Loyola University, Bellarmine School of Theology and Cornell University.

In 1972 Traub returned to Cincinnati to teach at Xavier. “I loved teaching and I was pretty hard on the students, and word was out not to take courses from me. All of that drew the very best students to my class, and it was more a question of moderating the conversation, which was so eagerly entered into by the students.”

In 1980, he was called to help with the education and formation of both young Jesuits and those in middle age and beyond. He enjoyed

the new work, and related responsibilities in spiritual and retreat direction, and when a group of Jesuits wanted to launch an effort to transmit Jesuit spirituality to lay people on Xavier’s campus in the late 1980s, they turned to him.

Around the same time, Traub and two colleagues began collecting definitions of the most commonly used terms in Ignatian and Jesuit circles. It became Do You Speak Ignatian?, which has sold 60,000 copies and is now in its 11th edition.

The effort to transmit the Jesuit legacy to lay employees has evolved in the years since Traub became director of Ignatian programs. Early on there were weekend programs for a few dozen faculty, staff and administrators at Grailville, a retreat center outside Cincinnati, and new employees have their own Manresa program to welcome them.


“It gives new people the opportunity to get to know each other across departmental lines, which is very important,” Traub says. “We offer it to everybody who comes to Xavier and we offer further developmental opportunities for anyone who wants them.”

And in 1999, the University created AFMIX, its most ambitious program yet for transmitting the Jesuit vision and legacy.

With the sixth class now halfway through, the program’s popularity shows no signs of abating. Traub’s career has been one of constant

evolution, but with AFMIX it seems best to let a good thing keep going.

“We’ve talked about taking a year off,” Traub says, “but there are always people waiting at the door.”

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