St. Mary’s University President Thomas M. Mengler, J.D., presented “The Catholic University as Faithful Enterprise” on Feb. 12 as part of the 11th annual Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture Series.

Mengler spoke about the plans to expand on the Catholic intellectual tradition at St. Mary’s. That includes establishing a Southwest Center for Catholic Studies, hiring to further our mission, developing a Catholic Studies degree program and renovating Reinbolt Hall.

“St. Mary’s should always be joyful and laughing and a spiritual place to worship,” he said to to a packed house in Conference Room A of the University Center.

Catholic intellectual tradition can be a complex subject, but it boils down to seeking truth in all God’s creation and following His call to serve the common good. It can be easy to see how faith and reason coexist in areas such as philosophy or theology, but at a Catholic university they cross all disciplines.

The Catholic Intellectual Tradition Lecture Series is a free, annual series featuring men and women who have shaped the Catholic intellectual tradition at the heart of the educational enterprises at St. Mary’s. The 2013-14 series theme is “The Enterprise of Faith: A Bold Initiative.”

Mengler is the 13th president of St. Mary’s University. Previously, he was dean of the University of St. Thomas School of Law in Minneapolis. Before that, he worked at the University of Illinois, where he was dean of the College of Law as well as interim provost and vice chancellor for Academic Affairs.

At the University of St. Thomas, Mengler helped build the School of Law from the ground up. He became dean in 2002 when the school was in just its second year. In addition to developing its Catholic mission, growing the enrollment, hiring nationally recognized faculty and receiving full accreditation for the school, Mengler also was able to raise more than $30 million to help establish endowments for faculty chairs and professorships, student scholarships, an institute for Catholic thought, and a center for ethical leadership.

Mengler received his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Carleton College and a master’s in philosophy and J.D. from the University of Texas at Austin.

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