Emory Report

January 12, 1998

 Volume 50, No. 16

Aquinas Center creates two
Catholic studies professorships

Two endowed professorships have been created with funds from the Aquinas Center of Theology, a Catholic affiliate of the University. One new chair will be in Emory College, the other in the Candler School. The agreement advances the goals of the center and the University, leaders of both say, by helping assure that Catholic thought is included in students' exposure to religious ideas and traditions.

Under the agreement approved by the Aquinas Center's board of directors, the center in effect has given a portion of its endowment permanently to Emory. The university will have "full and final determination over appointments to the permanent chairs," the agreement states.

P. Lyndon Reynolds, assistant professor of historical theology at Candler and Aquinas Center director, will be the first occupant of the Aquinas Chair of Catholic Theology at Candler. Theological range is valued at the school, one of 13 United Methodist seminaries in the United States.

"The Aquinas Chair further cements an important tie between Candler and friends and colleagues with whom we have worked for years," said Candler Dean Kevin LaGree. "The chair will ensure broader theological exposure for students and will enrich conversations among faculty. Having a Catholic voice permanently at our table strengthens the theological education we offer all students."

A search is underway for the Aquinas Chair of Catholic Studies, which will be housed in the religion department, with an appointee in place by the fall of 1999.

"We think the search will draw a major scholar to the chair and will greatly enhance the profile of the college," said Emory College Dean Steven Sanderson. "It fills an important slot in our understanding of Christianity."

Richard Martin, chair of the religion department, said the department is looking to add to its faculty of 15 scholars representing religions from around the world "a person whose scholarship is deeply involved in Roman Catholic tradition and whose broader commitment to religious studies will make him or her a conversation partner with the other members of the department."

The University also will receive support for an Aquinas Chair of Visiting Dominican Scholars, which will bring scholars to Emory for one or two years. Usually, it is expected, they will be priests from England's Oxford University.

The Aquinas Center of Theology, now housed on the Emory campus, organizes conferences and courses on Catholic tradition and life. Named for Dominican friar St. Thomas Aquinas (1225-74), the center originated in 1984 as a Dominican house of studies and took its current name in 1987. Several Aquinas Center scholars have taught at Emory on an adjunct basis, and Reynolds became the center's first tenure track Emory professor in 1992.

-Elaine Justice

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