The ceremony will be held at 5 p.m. in the Law Alumni Room of the Sarita Kenedy East Law Library on campus. Hughes will deliver a short talk, “Dialogue, Love, Community,” about the importance of building genuine community on campus among faculty and other educational mentors.
“As the St. Mary’s Chair in Catholic Philosophy, Chip Hughes is charged with fostering education and personal growth in the Catholic intellectual tradition,” said President Thomas Mengler, J.D. “He will be called upon to maintain, cultivate and enhance our Catholic and Marianist identity, especially among faculty.”
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.
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 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.
“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 in August. “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.