UC, XU and Freedom Center presidents hold Crosstown Classic event to promote "servant leadership"

The event takes place at the National Underground Freedom Center on Oct. 24 | October 24, 2013

 President Michael J. Graham, S.J., University of Cincinnati President Santa J. Ono and C.G. Newsome, newly named president of the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center, are collaborating on a public discussion tonight, Thursday, Oct. 24, on the topic of “servant leadership.”

The collaboration and discussion are part of the Skyline Chili Crosstown Classic, the annual matchup between the Xavier Musketeers and UC Bearcats men's basketball teams. The 67th game takes place on Saturday, Dec. 14, at U.S. Bank Arena. For the second year in a row, a portion of the proceeds from ticket sales are to benefit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

In a show of solidarity, Xavier and UC are teaming up with the public discussion on “servant leadership” to support the mission of the Freedom Center and celebrate the Cincinnati region’s excitement and passion for college basketball. Servant leadership is a philosophy that emphasizes increased service to others, a holistic approach to work, promoting a sense of community and the sharing of power in decision-making that ultimately creates a more just and caring world. The term was coined by Robert K. Greenleaf in The Servant as Leader, an essay that he first published in 1970.

“As a Jesuit institution, Xavier’s mission is grounded in the principles of Servant Leadership,” said Graham. “Preparing our students to become leaders in service to others for the betterment of society is at the heart of what we do. Our Jesuit motto, ‘For the greater glory of God’ is the foundation on which everything we do at Xavier is based.”

“I truly believe that each of us has leadership qualities that can be called upon no matter what our position,” Ono said. “No one runs a company or institution by oneself….it takes leadership from all quarters. My goal as a president is to listen to and respect the work of all members of the organization.”

“Teaching and enabling others to serve their community humbly and cooperatively was a cornerstone of my tenure as both a university president and divinity school dean,” said Newsome. “And at the Freedom Center, we inspire others to take courageous steps of service, making freedom possible for others in our community and around the world.”

Dan Hurley, director of Leadership Cincinnati for the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, is moderating the discussion. Graham, Ono and Newsome will each present their vision of the concept of servant leadership, and then will answer questions from the audience. The presentation is free and open to the public. It begins at 7:00 p.m. in the Harriet Tubman Theater at the Freedom Center on Thursday, Oct. 24. RSVPs are not required, but seating is on a first-come, first-seated basis.

“We are honored to once again partner this year with the Freedom Center and the University of Cincinnati,” said Graham. “These three institutions are great assets to our local community as well as the nation, and it is important that we find ways beyond athletics to come together.”

“The Skyline Chili Crosstown Classic is a tremendous sports competition. But XU and UC are both much more than athletics. And we are delighted to shine the spotlight on another local and national gem that deserves our support: the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center,” Ono said.

For more details, visit www.freedomcenter.org.