News - Former GU president's new book recalls talks from yesteryear that prove relevant today

Former GU president's new book recalls talks from yesteryear that prove relevant today

Carla Morris

Among the memories Pau Gasol treasures about playing on the Los Angeles Lakers with Kobe Bryant are their exchanges early on when Bryant spoke Spanish on the court to the Barcelona native. Gasol spoke English, but not with the fluency of his native tongue.

In an ESPN interview, Gasol recalled Bryant's switch to Spanish: “Right away from the first game he started speaking Spanish. On our coverages, on our plays. It was great." Bryant’s choice created a special bond between the two. “He set the tone,” said Gasol.

Setting the tone for a college community

A new book, Paradox and Virtue: Talks to My Students (Westbow Press, 2021), by Christian philosopher and former Mannoia_Book-cover.pngGreenville University president V. James Mannoia, Jr., tells a true story much like Gasol’s.

  • A “pair” meet, in this case, the new president of a Christian liberal arts college and his student body.
  • They frequent time and space together, in this case, campus gatherings like convocation and chapel.
  • One of the pair builds a communication bridge: Mannoia tells stories—personal stories, campus stories, and news stories—that connect students with important truths.
  • The accommodation sets a productive tone.

The pursuit of virtuous character and more

Gasol’s ESPN interview occurred after he and Bryant helped the Lakers deliver two championships to L.A. fans. Paradox and Virtue: Talks to My Students recounts the pursuit of deep understanding that contributed to academic success and personal growth for thousands of students who passed through GU during Mannoia’s tenure.

Today, many of these graduates recall college as a time when Mannoia led the charge encouraging them to pursue Christ-like character, hearts for service, the capacity to see things from different perspectives, the confidence to choose passionately, and the grace to learn humbly.

Some may even recall a vivid image or two that Mannoia shared in a talk; perhaps his word picture inspired them to see through life’s challenging paradoxes to the hope that virtues bring, even to the highest and best hope, meeting and trusting Jesus Christ, “the Person who is Himself Truth.”

Needed messages for today

The publication of Paradox and Virtue revives important messages that hold the promise of relief even for readers Jim_Mannoia.pngtoday, who may tire of zeal that “artificially creates division, pits us against one another, forces us to take sides, distracts us from focusing on where we agree, destroys civility, polarizes opinion, and prevents the honest dialogue that can truly improve our understanding of and ability to cope with the world around us.”

Delving into the pages of Paradox and Virtue transports readers into another time and place on Greenville’s campus. At the same time, it rewards them richly for taking the journey.  

Find Jim Mannoia’s Paradox and Virtue: Talks to My Students on

This story was published on October 06, 2021