August 24, 2015
St. Mary’s University Philosophy Professor Glenn “Chip” Hughes, Ph.D., has been selected as the first holder of the St. Mary’s Chair in Catholic Philosophy.
In May 2014, an anonymous philanthropist donated $1.5 million to endow the chair as part of the University’s push to establish a Center for Catholic Studies. The donor requested the gift be used to retain a distinguished Catholic philosopher with a deep understanding of prominent Catholic thinkers, especially the Rev. Bernard Lonergan, S.J., C.C., who sought to integrate science, history and culture with our faith in God.
“Our search committee members looked far and wide for the perfect person for this key role,” said President Thomas Mengler, J.D. “But it turns out they didn’t have to. Our very own Chip Hughes is precisely what our generous donor described.”
Hughes, whose doctoral studies were completed at Boston College, has been teaching at St. Mary’s for 25 years. He has degrees in philosophy, history and literature. His research interests are Lonergan, Eric Voegelin, modern poetry, and the topic of human worth and dignity.
As Chair holder, he will be expected to spread this knowledge to the St. Mary’s community through small group seminars with faculty of all disciplines: science, engineering, business, law, and the humanities and social sciences.
“Being the first occupant of the St. Mary’s Chair in Catholic Philosophy is a signal honor, and a terrific opportunity both to promote interdisciplinary understanding across the faculty and to deepen our faculty’s appreciation of the richness and integrative power of the Catholic intellectual tradition,” Hughes said. “The more we engage in productive dialogue among ourselves about these matters, the better we will be able to fulfill our responsibility to prepare students to make sense of, and beneficially contribute to, contemporary culture.”
Hughes teaches philosophy of religion, contemporary philosophy, philosophy of art, 20th century intellectual history in the Honors Program, and philosophy of literature. He received the St. Mary’s Distinguished Faculty Award in 1995 and a Fulbright Research Scholar Grant in 2008 to work at the Peace Research Institute of Oslo, Norway. He’s also author of several books and a regular contributor of original scholarship at national conferences.
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 courses in Catholic Studies
- Serve as a spiritual gateway for our community
- Assist in the formation of faith for faculty, staff and students
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.