(Photo courtesy of Regis University)
In 2004, the Opus Construction Group founded a grant organization that awards $1.2 million dollars to faith driven non-profits every year. Their commitment to elevating impactful service around the world led them to create the Opus Prize Foundation. Opus looks for nominees who embody their values of social entrepreneurship, transformational leadership, life of service, sustainable change, faith, and unsung heroes. Every year, Opus partners with different Catholic universities to host the prize while faculty members and students are directly involved in the finalist selection process.
Regis is the partner university for the 2017 award ceremony, thanks to the networking efforts of President John Fitzgibbons S.J. The award ceremony will be on October 11, 2017. The foundation and award aligns closely with Regis’ mission and according to Fr. Fitzgibbons, “This is in our DNA.” Opus fits with Regis because it celebrates transformational humanitarian work and inspires others to lives of service, as do Regis’ values.
Each year, the partner university plays a critical role in the nomination and selection process. Regis solicits nominations and anyone can nominate a faith based, non-profit organization. Once nominations are submitted, a report of each organization is drafted and the entire report is sent to the Opus jury. The jury consists of community members, Regis faculty, and one Regis student. This year, Chief Justice Senior Mikaela Meyers served on the Opus jury. The jury collaboratively selects three nominees, including a domestic organization.
Students and faculty members are then invited to apply to participate in the “due diligence” site visits. Opus Prize Coordinator in University Advancement, Connie Bennett, interviewed students and selected six to participate in the site visits. Faculty members selected one professor for each trip. The “due diligence” trips are for a week at a time; over spring break and the first two weeks of summer in May.
Graduate student Chris Lew, undergraduate Marley Weaver-Gabel, and professor and Assistant Dean of Physical Therapy Dr. Cheryl Footer attended the spring break trip. The early May trip team is graduate student Amy Bloomquist, undergraduate David Mooney, and Dr. Geoffrey Bateman. In the second May trip, undergraduates Bailey Gent and Katie Skowronski will be traveling with Dr. Meghan Sobel for the final observational site visit.
Visiting teams also include two Opus Prize Foundation board members, a photographer, and the Foundation Director Don Neureuther. Neureuther has been working for Opus since the beginning of the award and has completed over 40 trips on site visits. Don remarks, “It has been the greatest thing I’ve been involved in.”
At Regis, we ask the question, “How ought we to live?” in regards to our day-to-day interactions as well as our long-term pursuits. It may take us a lifetime, but the University education brings us one step closer to an answer everyday. Not only do we look to ourselves to answer, we look to others to observe their response. The Opus introduces us to incredible individuals as evidence of living in the path of faith and service.
According to 2012 recipient Father Richard Frechette, “Opus is Glory and the Light of God” because of the great work we can do together. Regis is a community full of this light and the award is really an opportunity for our campus to share that with the glory of selfless, compassionate leaders.
The Highlander will provide you with frontline coverage for this award, so stay tuned for on-campus updates and press releases about the finalists!
For more information about Opus visit http://www.opusprize.org/students. To learn more about Regis’ involvement, read about Mikaela Meyers experience as a OPUS Juror here http://www.regis.edu/News-Events-Media/Signature-Story-Directory/Honoring-Unsung-Heroes.aspx.
Marley Weaver-Gabel Editor-In-Chief