Waynesburg University Stover Scholars visit U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager on DC Trip

Waynesburg University Stover Scholars visit U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager on DC Trip

Waynesburg University Stover Scholars visited U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager on a trip to Washington, D.C., on Thursday, March 15. Meeting in the U.S. Supreme Court’s Lawyer’s Lounge, Justice Sotomayor urged the students to pursue their passions while contributing to the broader community. Sotomayor hinted that one person in the room might one day become a member of the Supreme Court. Sotomayor emphasized that the opportunity to serve should be recognized as a privilege and that it is worthwhile to give of oneself to fulfill his or her vocation.

The Stover Scholars, chosen for their interest in the relationship between the U.S. Constitution and Christian Ethics, asked Sotomayer questions about the role of her own experiences, her faith and the personal challenges of being in the public eye.

“When people are presented with the privilege of serving the public, they have an obligation to take it,” she said.

“Meeting Justice Sotomayor was more than memorable to me,” said Chase Ayers, a pre-law major from Charleroi, Pa. “Hearing her words conveyed a special meaning that I could not have received from a book.”

“To meet with a member of the Supreme Court and find her to be very personable was gratifying,” said Colin Phillips, a history and political science major from Bexley, Ohio. “It is one of the great benefits resulting from being a Waynesburg University Stover Scholar.”

Following their meeting with Justice Sotomayor, the Stover Scholars toured the U.S. Capitol and had a private audience with Swiss Ambassador Manuel Sager at the Swiss Embassy. They engaged in a conversation about Switzerland’s system of government, strong economic foundation and the nation’s unique approach to public policy, including direct democracy and neutral diplomacy, as well as Swiss-American relations.

“Hearing about Switzerland from the Swiss perspective was unique,” said Jeremy Hinkle, a freshman history major from Washington, Pa.

The students then took a walking tour of Georgetown and attended a reception at the historic City Tavern Club where they met several prominent Washington government officials, journalists and intellectuals. Mr. Thomas R. Johnson, a partner at the Pittsburgh law firm K&L Gates, spoke on the attributes of strong leadership and asked the students to consider their own additions to his list.

“Mr. Johnson reminded us that when we are called to fulfill a duty, it is our civic obligation to do so,” said Daniel Czajkowski, a criminal justice and political science major from Frederick, Md. “Being Stover Scholars, we have a special responsibility to pursue and to embrace God’s calling on our lives.”

Reflecting upon the trip, Zachary Mason, a secondary education major from Waynesburg, Pa., said, “Our trip to D.C. was a truly remarkable experience that I will never forget. Not every person has the privilege to meet a Supreme Court Justice, meet a foreign Ambassador and have dinner with so many distinguished individuals.”

Zander Shashura, a business major from Fredericktown, Pa., also commented, “On this trip, we were surrounded by people who are carrying out what they and the Stover Program preach.” Shashura continued, “Talking to them and listening to the stories they have to tell of their own lives gives us all examples to follow as we aspire to be leaders and change the world around us.”

Dr. Lawrence M. Stratton, Director of the Stover Center for Constitutional Studies and Moral Leadership, said, “I was proud of the Stover Scholars as they conversed with Justice Sotomayor, Ambassador Sager, Attorney Johnson, and the other individuals who are making a difference for civilization. I hope that the Stover Scholars will aspire to follow in their footsteps and that the officials will cherish memories of meeting Waynesburg University students.”