An anonymous philanthropist has given $1.5 million to endow the St. Mary’s Chair in Catholic Philosophy, as part of the University’s push to establish a Center for Catholic Studies.

The donor requested the gift be used to recruit and retain a distinguished Catholic philosopher who has a deep understanding of prominent Catholic thinkers, especially the Rev. Bernard Lonergan, S.J., C.C.

“Long after we’re all gone, this transformative gift will ensure that St. Mary’s remains a truly Catholic university,” said President Thomas Mengler. “There is no project more important than this.”

Lonergan (1904-1984), regarded as one of the 20th century’s greatest Catholic philosophers and theologians, sought to integrate science, history and culture with our faith in God.

The Chair holder will be expected to spread this knowledge to the St. Mary’s community through small group seminars and workshops with faculty of all disciplines: science, engineering, business, law, and the humanities and social sciences.

“The chair’s major role will be to work with faculty and students to have the philosophical basis used in all disciplines for pursuing truth and enduring good,” said the Rev. Franz Schorp, S.M.

The University’s strategic plan, Gateway: A Vision for St. Mary’s University, includes the establishment of a Center for Catholic Studies on campus. The Center will have four principal features in serving students, faculty and staff; the Archdiocese of San Antonio; the Southwest; and the nation:

  • Promote the study and understanding of Catholic intellectual and social thought, as well as Marianist spirituality
  • Develop an undergraduate major, and eventually a graduate degree, in Catholic Studies
  • Serve as a spiritual gateway for our community
  • Reside in historic Reinbolt Hall after an extensive remodeling project

St. Mary’s will play a lead role in advancing Catholic studies through recruitment of distinguished faculty in Catholic philosophy, theology, and other central areas of Catholic studies and culture.

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