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Darby Ratliff

Darby Ratliff

Darby Ratliff
Campus Ministry Spiritual Intern

President Hurley stares out at a crowd of prospective students, hands braced on the podium, as he greets teenagers and parents alike. The light catches his Canisius blue and gold tie as he begins his address, “We often hear how a college must be a good ‘fit’ for you.” He pauses, surveying the audience of students both bewitched and bored. Finishing he announces, “At Canisius, you will do more than just ‘fit’--you will thrive.

Looking back, this was President Hurley’s way of introducing how Canisius embodied the Jesuit idea of magis, of more. As a student and member of the Canisius community, magis permeates my life here. To me, magis is a call to do, be, and love more. It is a call to go beyond what is expected of us. It is a word of love, an action of peace, a thought of showing God’s presence and prevalence in our lives, acting so that we transcend the faults of our own humanity to become more, to redefine ourselves as a force for good in the world. Magis is that step between ordinary and extraordinary. It is that extra layer of love in a person’s life. It is a leap of faith. It is the act of caring both for those you know and those you don’t. It is the more--the magis--that makes a leader.

In high school, I sort of wandered into leadership, but I never understood it. I never said that, “I lead this” or “I lead that.” Instead, I said that I was “in charge.” I never said that I was a leader. Transitioning into college, I decided leadership was an attribute I wanted to possess. But more than that, I wished to grow into it. For me it was a desire to be more than a person of authority; rather, it was an aspiration to be trusted, to be depended on, to be that person who looks at another and says, “Everything is going to be fine.” More than that, it was to be that person and to be believed. I aim to be more than the person in charge. I aim to be a leader, and my collegiate career has been focused on that goal: professionally, extracurricularly, and personally. 

“If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader.” -John Quincy Adams