Emory Report
June 8, 2009
Volume 61, Number 32


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June 8, 2009
Catholic Studies program graduates first scholar

By ann hardie

This spring marked a milestone in the life of Emory College’s fledgling Catholic Studies minor. Mary Rachel Taylor of Conyers became the first student to complete the program.

“The minor and the courses allowed me to have a better understanding of the doctrine and the dogma from an academic perspective,” says Taylor ‘09C, a philosophy major.

The minor, offered since January 2007, explores the impact of Roman Catholicism’s intellectual and cultural traditions on Western thought for the past 2,000 years.

The pool of Catholics who have influenced religion, philosophy, literature and architecture runs deep and includes such heavy hitters as medieval philosophers St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine and contemporary writers Graham Greene and Georgia’s own Flannery O’Connor.

The minor came about after a core group of professors from across the University and schooled in the Catholic faith decided to join forces. “It is truly interdisciplinary,” says Jack Zupko, who directs the program.
The Aquinas Center of Theology, where Zupko serves on the board, provided a financial gift to get the program off the ground. (see Emory Profile: Jack Zupko)

Although only a handful of students have expressed interest in minoring in Catholic Studies, 30 students — about one-third of them Catholic — braved the 8:30 Tuesday and Thursday morning Modern Catholicism class this spring that serves as the minor’s core course.

“The Catholic intellectual tradition has worth and value for anyone interested in the humanities,” Zupko says. “I would be very upset if the non-Catholics felt left out.”