The Rev. Dr. Ron McKinney, S.J. is a professor of philosophy at The University and has been teaching here since 1984. In addition to his role as a professor, McKinney is also the moderator for the Liva Arts Company, is involved with campus ministries and assists with the SJLA Honors Program. He is also currently teaching a class for young Jesuits at Fordham University one day a week.
McKinney is originally from the state of Michigan but came to the East Coast with his family on the presidential campaign trail of George Romney, as his father was one of the speech writers for the campaign. He then joined the Maryland providence of Jesuits and has been residing on the East Coast ever since.
Growing up, McKinney was raised in the Protestant Church, where his father was a minister. He converted to Catholicism as a senior in high school and looked into joining the Franciscans. After a change of heart, he decided to become a Jesuit instead, as he places a strong focus on academia.
“For me, being a Jesuit means being an academic; I wanted to be an intellectual bridge between the cultures we live in and the religion and culture of our church,” McKinney said.
McKinney further explains his love for teaching and questioning his faith through his philosophical studies.
“In my experience, (I’ve found that) there is a creative tension between the experience of God and trusting Him and the intellectual questioning and being open to that and wrestling with that,” McKinney said.
He studies philosophy, as it allows him to be a bit of a “skeptic” and question the tensions in the cultures and create “a dialogue between the two.” He continued by explaining how God has shaped his life.
“As a Jesuit, you find God in this world. I find God in nature, I find God in people and I find God in my experiences and events, and in things totally other. I can’t control Him and I have to believe that despite all this suffering in the world, He is there and present, so I try my best to trust Him as best I can,” McKinney said.
In addition to the academia, McKinney enjoys the sense of community here at The University and is happy that he has found a place that is so close-knit.
“I’m a small town person, and I like a small university like this,” he said. “Wherever you go, you run into people you know. And I like that sense of friendliness at Scranton, because everyone finds his or her little niche.”