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JCSU Hires Former NFL Star Donnie Shell to Develop New Center for Spiritual Life

Johnson C. Smith University has hired consultant Donnie Shell to research and offer recommendations on a new spiritual life center.

"In my conversations with Mr. Shell, I have been impressed with his approach to mentoring young people spiritually," said Johnson C. Smith President Dr. Ronald L. Carter. "I have asked him to develop a similar mentoring program on campus."

As a player with the Pittsburgh Steelers, Shell won four Super Bowls, and retired as the National Football League's strong safety career leader in interceptions with 51. He was selected to the Steelers All-Time Team, the College Football Hall of Fame, and the NFL Silver Anniversary Super Bowl Team. He also is a five-time pro Bowler.

As a spiritual mentor to young adults, he was both on the receiving and giving end with other players by leading Bible study sessions and helping younger players balance new found fame and their personal lives. He also worked as the director of player development with the Carolina Panthers where he continued his role as a mentor from 1994-2009.

The Center for Spiritual Life will play a critical role in the life of the campus, serving to facilitate spiritual and religious dialogue on campus. Shell will develop and implement programming to enrich the religious, spiritual, and intellectual life of students and represents the college in its relations with the surrounding religious community.In addition to helping with the development of a new Center for Spiritual Life, his consulting firm will assist the University with the development of the director's responsibilities.

Shell also will play a large role in developing an appropriate campus response to on-and off-campus crises as well as world tragedies. Once established, the Center for Spiritual Life will support activities and initiate programs that provide occasions for reflecting on personal and community values; provide support for spiritual exploration and appreciation within the overall academic and developmental mission of the University; and promote an understanding and appreciation of the variety of religious and spiritual experiences in human life.

"We envision that the programming of the new center will serve as a catalyst for our students to strengthen their spiritual base," Carter said. "I want our students to have the opportunity to understand and appreciate the variety of religious experiences that are prevalent on our campus. Through their participation, students will have various opportunities to delve deeper into their own personal convictions."

After Shell has made recommendations, the University will review suggestions and implement those they feel are needed to start the Center in Fall 2010.

"I am really excited about this opportunity," Shell said. "Helping young people is one of my best assets and passions, and I am sure that the new center at JCSU will help them to have a more positive experience as they make important decisions for their lives."

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