Lisle, Illinois ~Whether it's news of the sudden death of a family member or witnessing a serious accident around campus, a traumatic episode can leave those affected – and the responding police officers themselves – at a loss.
To counsel those affected in the wake of a disturbing event, Benedictine University recently appointed Director of University Ministry Mark Kurowski to the position of police chaplain, where he will provide guidance to police and other members of the Benedictine community in their time of need.
"We have a very effective law enforcement presence," said University Police Chief Mike Salatino. "But this is a resource that we needed in our line of work. The end result is to make tragic incidents as less traumatic as we can and provide guidance to help all affected work through that tragedy."
"If he never has to do this job, that's great for me," Salatino added. "But it's reassuring to know that he's there when we need him."
As director of University Ministry, Kurowski is responsible for coordinating worship and prayer ceremonies, retreats, as well as spiritual guidance for University students and staff. He has worked for more than 25 years in ministry, including four years as an on-call police department chaplain and three years officiating a prison ministry.
As police chaplain, Kurowski will be on-call around the clock to respond to emergencies, and be given greater access in areas that may be otherwise cordoned off to the public, Salatino said.
"We see this position helping students or staff when they are experiencing something they can't handle," Salatino said. "It may be a stressful situation that can't wait to be addressed at 8:00 a.m. on campus – it may need to be addressed at 2:00 a.m. on site."
The role of police chaplain expands the mission of University Ministry to care for students, faculty and staff, Kurowski said.
Benedictine University is an independent Roman Catholic institution located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded in 1887, Benedictine provides 55 undergraduate majors and 15 graduate and four doctoral programs. Benedictine University is ranked No. 1 among the country's fastest-growing campuses between 2002-2012 in The Chronicle of Higher Education's list of private nonprofit doctoral institutions, and Forbes magazine named Benedictine among "America's Top Colleges" for the fourth consecutive year in 2014. Benedictine University's Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain's Chicago Business as the sixth largest in the Chicago area in 2014.