Holders of the Edna and George McMahon Aquinas Chair in Philosophy

Current Chair Holder


 Photo of Dr. Michael WaddellThe current holder of the Edna and George McMahon Aquinas Chair in Philosophy is Michael M. Waddell, Ph.D.

Dr. Waddell received his Ph.D. in Medieval Philosophy and his Master of Medieval Studies from the University of Notre Dame after having been graduated summa cum laude from Cornell College with a Bachelor of Arts in Religion and History.  Before coming to Saint Mary’s, he taught at Villanova University and Augustana University.  Dr. Waddell has published articles in The Thomist, International Philosophical Quarterly, Nova et Vetera, Sapientia, Tópicos, The Lyceum, The Saint Anselm Journal, and Miscellanea Mediaevalia, and has edited a collection of essays entitled Restoring Nature: Essays in Thomistic Philosophy and Theology.  He has delivered invited lectures at Oxford University and the University of Mississippi, read solicited papers for the Society for Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy and the Institute for Saint Anselm Studies, and presented his work at meetings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, the American Philosophical Association, the Société Internationale pour l’Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale, the Patristic, Medieval and Renaissance Studies Conference, and the International Congress for Medieval Studies.    

Dr. Waddell's scholarly interests include Thomas Aquinas's metaphysics (especially his doctrine of transcendental truth, goodness and beauty), his account of the human soul and of the human person more holistically construed, and the ways in which these two areas of Thomas's thought---viz., his metaphysics and his psychology---are interconnected.  Dr. Waddell is particularly interested in the ways in which faith and reason interact in Thomas's writings about these topics, and has written extensively about the relationships among natural and supernatural modes of cognition in Aquinas's teaching.

Dr. Waddell's other areas of interest include the interaction of Jewish, Christian and Islamic thought in the Middle Ages and the emerging field of Philosophy and Disabilities (especially topics related to autism spectrum disorder and intellectual disabilities).



Past Chair Holders


The inaugural holder of the Edna and George McMahon Aquinas Chair in Philosophy was Kevin McDonnell, Ph.D. (Professor, emeritus).  Professor McDonnell taught at Saint Mary's College from 1976 until his retirement in 2010. 

Professor McDonnell received his Ph.D. from Georgetown University after earning his B.A. from Manhattan College.  His early work dealt with the thought of Thomas Aquinas and William of Ockham, examining topics such as the history of natural law and its implications for contemporary moral issues.  Professor McDonnell's later work focused on issues in medical ethics.  In addition to teaching in this field, he has served on ethics committees at area hospitals and healthcare institutions, and co-authored Tough Decisions: Cases in Medical Ethics (Oxford University Press, 2000).