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  • October 16, 2019
  • 2:06 pm
  • IPS

Honoring Bob Ludwig, IPS Director and Professor Emeritus

Kathy and Bob Ludwig

The Institute of Pastoral Studies, Loyola University Chicago, would like to honor Bob Ludwig, IPS Director (2004-2012), and thank him for all he has done for our institute. We thought the best way to do this was to hear from those who know him and his work.

Peter Gilmour, IPS Professor Emeritus, reminded us “that when Bob Ludwig came as Director of the Institute of Pastoral Studies, it was his second incarnation at IPS.  In the ‘70s and ‘80s when IPS had a large summer program, Bob taught courses for many summers and, for a few years, during the academic year as well.  Even then he was instrumental in shaping the curriculum and fostering a deep and abiding sense of community among all IPS participants, faculty, staff, and students. “

Peter and Bill Schmidt, IPS Professor, pointed out Bob’s help in the development of “two strong and vital new degrees, the M.A. in Social Justice, and the M.A. in Christian Spirituality.” As well as the fact that Bob “was a pioneer in developing online education at IPS.  At a time when many administrators and faculty looked askance at online courses and degrees, Bob read the future accurately and moved ahead bringing the IPS charism for pastoral education to many students who otherwise would not have had the opportunity to be students at IPS.” Both agree Bob and IPS were ahead of the curve.

There is a lot to be said about Bob Ludwig on a personal level. Robert O`Gorman, IPS Professor Emeritus, shared a few images he has of Bob:

  • Energizer Bunny: Bob and I are close in age. When the IPS director position opened up and Bob applied I was reluctant because I felt we needed new young leadership – – I know I felt tired. Immediately he brought energy to the position with a whole new look at what this 50-year-old Institute could do. The new programs and initiatives that took my breath away.
  •  Prophet: justice became the purpose of ministry under Bob at IPS. If a program did not engage Scripture and theology to establish a kingdom of justice and loving right relationship it needed correction to be part of Loyola’s IPS.
  • Late-night talk show host: at times when I was in the office before Bob in a morning – usually to meet some deadline that was looming – Bob would burst in and say “How about dem Bears last night!” and then whatever I was doing to meet the deadline would simply be laid aside and a running commentary would begin that would attract everybody to hilarious laughter. But it oriented the day for us – IPS was a friendly happy place to be. In addition to a kingdom of justice, Bob brought a vision of a kingdom of laughter.
  •  A teaching addict: “Hello, my name’s Bob Ludwig and I’m addicted to teaching.” Most of us, especially myself, would guard time for work by fending off any request beyond contract limits for extra teaching. Not Bob! As Director his teaching load technically was less than the ordinary professor – but Bob always taught more than most of us. If one of us would be out for some kind of an emergency Bob would take the class. Students were satiated by this teaching. Often times philosophers of education divide teaching into an emphasis in one of 3 realms – the content, the context (concern for society) or the development of the person. Bob had one focus for teaching – all 3 of these divisions!
  • Cigar chomping director: From its beginning in 1964 IPS had an on–the–fringe position in the constellation of Loyola University’s departments. It was named an Institute, not a department. In the years before Bob, directors generally spoke softly and didn’t carry a big stick in University meetings. Not so when Bob came on the scene. So totally committed to and confident in the mission of IPS and so personally competent as an educational leader, Bob (and IPS) assumed and was afforded a major leadership role in the University. Under Bob IPS and its faculty began to have a hand in shaping and developing the mission of the University.

 “Bob brought a relational style to IPS.  Bob’s natural friendliness, warmth, and humanity, made him a beloved teacher and colleague.  Between his ready-at-hand unlit cigar, and his ready humor, working with Bob was never tedious. ‘Never take yourself too seriously’ is a life stance I observed in Bob.  Yet in his own relaxed way, he got important things done. It was a privilege to work with Bob in his abiding commitment to embrace the breadth of the IPS vision.” – Schmidt

 “Looking back at Bob’s leadership some years later now, we see a person of faith who was ahead of the curve in so many ways!  He anticipated the future.  He moved IPS ahead through a grand vision of education and consensus-building among the faculty that continued what has come to be known as ‘the IPS tradition’.” – Gilmour

Brian Schmisek, IPS Dean and Professor (2012-2019), noted that “Bob Ludwig led IPS with tremendous creativity, starting new programs and implementing new ideas. As he retired he was honored with the ‘Called and Gifted’ award from AGPIM (Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry) in recognition of his contributions to ministry education over the years.”

Peter Jones, IPS Acting Dean, expressed: “Dr. Ludwig has been instrumental in advancing the fields of theology and pastoral studies and served as a beloved educator for more than 40 years. (…) In 1982 he took a position in the Institute for Ministry at Loyola University New Orleans and created there, well ahead of its time, a distance education program in ministry formation. The growth and importance of online education today, a distant and unforeseen possibility in 1982, reveals the prophetic nature of his vocation and commitment to serving students. (…) Dr. Ludwig joined the IPS in 2004 as a full-time faculty member and served as its director through 2012 and as faculty through 2014. In all these ways and more, Dr. Ludwig’s work and reputation as a scholar, teacher, and leader demonstrate his reputation in the field.” In recognition of all Bob Ludwig’s contributions, Loyola University Chicago granted him the status of Professor Emeritus!

Congratulations Bob!