Catching Zag Fever

By Kate Vanskike, Editor of Gonzaga Magazine

I wanted to work at Gonzaga to surround myself with the energy and enthusiasm that only college students possess. So when I found myself in Coughlin Hall 104, 10 minutes early for a Critical Thinking class, I was nearly giddy. I hadn’t sat in a classroom in years, and yet it felt like yesterday as I settled in to one of those desk chairs.

“Learning logic, for most people, is not enjoyable,” Professor David Weise warned. “It’s tedious, difficult, dry. BUT, if you take it seriously and apply yourself, it has the potential to impact every part of your life. It’s a mechanism by which we discover truth.”

“You’re really lucky,” the professor told the room of mostly 18- and 19-year-olds. “Gonzaga values philosophy so much, you get to take three more courses of it as part of your required coursework.” I didn’t look, but I bet eyes rolled. There would have been more if any of them knew that I was taking this logic course for fun.

I want the full Zag experience. I’m new to the University and until joining its staff, had never watched a Gonzaga basketball game. (Not at the McCarthey Athletic Center, not on TV, not ever.) At my first opportunity, I joined the ranks of other staff members arriving on dark winter mornings to wait in line for tickets. I started watching games at home, I bought Zag swag gifts for Christmas, I put the bumper sticker on my Prius.

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Being a Zag is more than that, so on lunch breaks, I wandered through Jundt Art Museum and bought concert tickets at Monaghan Mansion. My calendar filled with evening lectures and theatre presentations. Still, I had to take a step further. That’s how I landed in a Critical Thinking class, one of the core requirements for all students. A great choice, because this is where young minds learn to process their thoughts and defend their beliefs. In this classroom and others, Jesuit pedagogy is alive and students are developing into people who will make a difference.

Here I journey with students in exploring the growth and opportunity that abounds. Everywhere I turn, I see stories unfolding, glimpses of hope for a world with plenty of needs.

Happy learning,

Kate Vanskike is senior publications editor and content strategist for Gonzaga’s Marketing/Communications department. A grad of a faith-based liberal arts college in Missouri, she loves Gonzaga’s Jesuit tradition and values, and comes with 15 years’ experience in magazine writing/editing. Kate loves coffee, books and hanging in her hammock between two pine trees named after her grandmothers. She can be reached at

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