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McCarthy speaker shares experiences

The fifth annual scholar-in-residence at CSB/SJU enlightens students with his expertise in the business management field

SJU ’64 alumnus John Chromy returned to campus this week to share his experience in non-profit management, organizational development in international settings, sustainability and fundraising in the private sector.

Chromy served as the fifth annual scholar-in-residence at the Eugene J. McCarthy Center for Public Policy and Civic Engagement.

Chromy is the vice president at Cooperative Housing Foundation (CHF) International. CHF International works with countries around the world to empower people to improve the lives. The organization currently serves more than 20 million people each year.

While his residency, Chromy delivered a speech titled, “The Experiences of a Humanitarian Crusader in a Chaotic World.” He also moderated a student debate.

Chromy also presented in classes at CSB/SJU. Though valuable to many students, these lessons had a special connection to first-year Aly Chromy, John Chromy’s niece.

“Having my uncle speak in a class made me realize government relations has more of a genuine relationship with other countries than I knew,” Chromy said. “It was a unique experience because instead of talking about family, I learned more about his involvement in poverty stricken countries.”

“(Chromy) has a lot to share. We’re very thrilled to have him here,” McCarthy Center Director Matt Lindstrom said as he introduced Chromy’s speech.

Chromy’s keynote address was grounded in personal insights. He highlighted the importance of decision-making, the power of innovative thinking and the necessity of understanding all sides of an issue.

With years of experience, Chromy hopes his “secrets of success” will help prepare students for the future.

“I’ve discovered the world is an incredible place,” Chromy said. “I urge you all to travel, explore and experience.”

Chromy has extensive knowledge of the world of international development. He lived in India for five years, has traveled to 55 countries, testified before Congressional committees, and met many famous people including three presidents, a pope and a princess.

Chromy first entered international development work when he joined the Peace Corps.

“I realized I was on the other side of the world and needed new understandings,” Chromy said.

Chromy’s position at CHF International gives him the power to make a difference in the lives of many people. CHF International works in developing as well as conflict affected countries to improve the livelihood of the people.

“One of the key parts of my job is to mobilize resources so we can do good overseas,” Chromy said.

Chromy meets with local leaders to create a plan to work within local context to improve lives. He then works with both American and host country staff to make sure those plans are understood and carried out.

“John Chromy is really unique; he has truly been all over the world,” McCarthy Center Student Coordinator Kate Paul said. “It’s really cool to see someone with real world knowledge come back to campus and share that knowledge.”

“I was welcomed to St. John’s, and it was a whole new world to me. I had never been that far away from home,” Chromy said. “The opportunity to learn and be part of a great Benedictine community %u2026 it was a time of great excitement and joy.”

As a student, Chromy learned the importance of faith and hard work, to think logically and write accurately. He also gained a great sense of history and respect for the natural world.

“St. John’s prepared me for going out and facing a whole new world,” Chromy said.

He believes St. John’s prepared him to handle the diversity he deals with on a daily basis.

“I learned tolerance amongst people of different thoughts – you can learn to work with all sides.”