By Pablo Muñoz
Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., made an appearance at the invitation of the Distinguished Speakers Club in Xavier Center on Monday, May 2, where he gave a speech on libertarian values and signed copies of his book “Taking a Stand.”
Paul’s visit to Loyola, which was coordinated by the Distinguished Speakers Club, was preceded by a visit to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library in Yorba Linda, where he signed books and spoke about his time as a presidential candidate earlier this year.
Paul, whose son attends Gonzaga College High School, a Jesuit school in Washington, D.C., said, “I like the idea that people are taught the importance of taking care of others. I like that everybody is here not only to get a good education but also to learn that we do have an obligation to be our brother’s keeper.”
Paul held a private meeting in Ruppert Hall with a donor before inviting members of the Advancement Department and The Loyalist in for discussion over refreshments.
Following his meeting, the senator gave an approximately half-hour speech in Xavier Center to students, parents and alumni before fielding questions from the audience. Distinguished Speakers Series club president senior Daniel Lytle moderated the event.
Michael Castaño, a senior and the Distinguished Speakers Series Vice President for Media and Marketing, said he found himself reassuring fellow students of the event’s authenticity, given the prominence of the speaker.
“[Paul] brought up a lot of interesting points that I’m sure provoked a lot of thought within the Loyola community, whether it be agreeing with the senator’s sentiments or at least providing a basis for things to research,” Castaño said.
“Senator Paul came and talked about some of the work he has done, some of his perspectives on global events, and while not everyone necessarily agrees with what he said, we had a very good response overall from the event,” Lytle said.
“He was definitely passionate about what he believed in, and he was warm and friendly. He was a great speaker,” Principal Frank Kozakowski said. “In a tradition of Jesuit education, we want to be exposed to all sides of an issue; to debate, to reflect and to make an informed decision.”
“We were a little nervous because we weren’t sure how many people to expect to show up, and I think we ended up with an audience that was just the right size,” co-moderator Karen Jardine said. Both Jardine and co-moderator James Zucker ‘91 said the event could not have been successful without the assistance of the Loyola Advancement Department and the efforts of Director of Events Karin Chamberlain.
“We as a club are always looking for distinguished speakers in general, so there was no political agenda,” Jardine said.
“This was student-led, and what was really impressive was that we had student leaders like Daniel Lytle leading the event and giving commentary, and you don’t often times see that for an event like this,” Zucker said.
“I really liked it because it was a student-run event for students,” said President the Rev. Fr. Gregory Goethals, S.J. ‘73. “It was definitely his truth that he was speaking, and appreciated that it wasn’t filled with politics or him trying to please the audience, but it was all the things he believed.”
“I think our biggest goal was that we wanted to open up a speaker series about politics especially in a campaign year, but we wanted to make sure it was something done in a civil and fair way,” Zucker said. “We wanted an event where he could voice his perspective in a way that was open and receptive while still being challenging, and I think we accomplished that.”
“The Loyola Distinguished Speakers Series believes that in our highly politicized world, it is imperative that Loyola provide not only more of a class-based education, but also one based on current events, and have people that are out there shaping the world come here and tell us about their work and also how we can do that over time,” Lytle said.