A busy six week itinerary including two rigorous courses—Faith and Culture and The Catholic Imagination, a shared Catholic faith, numerous day trips, a school-led visit to Florence and Assisi and five days of individual travel time have brought 15 undergraduate students from across the country together for an unforgettable Undergraduate Summer Rome Program.
Five of the students attend UD, and the other 10 hail from as far as Ave Maria University in Florida and the University of Nebraska-Lincoln or as close as Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Dallas. Fall and Spring Romers will recognize such site visits as Monte Cassino, the long-time home of St. Thomas Aquinas, a papal audience at St. Peter's Basilica, the Galleria Borghese and Vatican Museums.
Ron Rombs, director of the Summer Rome Program and associate professor of theology, grabbed a few minutes to reflect on the program's first weeks before heading out with the group for a site visit to Ostia Antica, Rome's ancient port city.
"We just began reading some of the short stories of Flannery O'Conner this morning," said Rombs. "They were shocked and thrilled. To take students from seeing what looks like tragedy and to peel back the layers, so to speak, such that they begin to see the glimmering of grace--and hence, redemption--what a joy for everyone."
"It's the most fun I've had in a long time--and it seems to be a great deal of fun for the students as well--if the grins that they can't seem to wipe off of their faces are any indication," said Rombs.
The Undergraduate Summer Rome Program is the first in a line-up of summer programming at the Rome campus that includes high school programs Shakespeare in Italy and Latin in Rome and School of Ministry Rome Program for adults and graduate students.