By: Mark Walusis
Making the move from the busy mountain city of Denver, Colorado to the quiet Austrian village of Gaming was not something David Pipp had quite envisioned for his family.
Like most Franciscan University of Steubenville alumni, Pipp never pictured himself returning to work for the university. Now, he is the new director of student life for Franciscan’s Austria campus.
“(Franciscan) truly is my alma mater,” he said. “Returning to Franciscan has been the greatest joy.”
The former director of evangelization for a parish in the Archdiocese of Denver said that packing up his family of eight to move half-way around the world was not an easy choice to make. However, it was something that Pipp and his wife — also a Franciscan alumna — felt would benefit their family.
“God (was) leading our family here,” said Pipp. “Our family has always been a very simple family anyways, but we were looking for something in life that could help us just simplify life even more, and we felt like coming to Austria … would be something that would be very healthy for our family.”
Pipp said that seeing the students “getting out and doing stuff” is what excites him the most about this semester. He also said that he’s looking forward to seeing students experience similar things he did during the two semesters he spent in Gaming — one of which he spent with his at-the-time fiancé.
“The thing … I’m so excited about with this position is not only being able to take all those good things that happened for (my wife and I while we were in Gaming), but to improve on those … things,” said Pipp.
As far as work goes, Pipp said that his ability to thrive under stress has made taking on the position of director of student life a little more bearable.
“Orientation week was a baptism by fire,” he said, laughing. “Everything was so calm and peaceful … and then all of a sudden, it was just crazy all at once. But it was great to see how I can be prepared for … the coming semesters.”
And although the semester is still getting underway and the family is still adjusting to European life, Pipp said that the rewards from the move have already started coming.
Pipp said that although his family lived in “a pretty good area in Denver,” that the freedom of being able to let his children go for even a simple bike ride was limited.
“There’s always that worry of ‘gosh, what if?'” explained Pipp. “In Gaming, you don’t have to worry about that. They can go out in the woods, they can go for a bike ride, they can do whatever they want to do … there isn’t a whole lot of danger here. That is just a huge joy.”
The future of the Pipp family’s stay in Gaming isn’t clear, but one thing is — that the amount of time they live in Austria is all up to God.
“(God) is the one who brought us here, very, very clearly,” said Pipp. “And He’ll be the one to take us home. It’s all in His timing.”