Saint Mary's College Announces the Installation of Three Endowed Chairs

Gwen O’Brien
Director of Media Relations
Saint Mary's College
Notre Dame, Ind.
(574) 284-4579

September 7, 2011 (Notre Dame, Ind.)—Saint Mary's College proudly announces the installation this fall of three endowed chairs, one of which is a newly established chair. The installations, which will take place at three separate events, include the inauguration of the Marjorie A. Neuhoff Chair in Nursing and the installations of the Edna and George McMahon Aquinas Chair in Philosophy and the Bruno P. Schlesinger Chair in Humanistic Studies. The College will celebrate each installation with a lecture. Details of the lectures, as well as background on the endowed chairs and information on the chair holders, are included here.

With the inauguration of the Majorie A. Neuhoff Chair in Nursing, the total number of named chairs held by faculty at the College will be six. Other chairs include the Denise DeBartolo York Chair in Science, held by Dorothy M. Feigl, professor of chemistry; the Joyce McMahon Hank Aquinas Chair in Catholic Theology, held by Joseph M. Incandela, associate dean and professor of religious studies; and the Mary Lou and Judd Leighton Chair in Music, held by Nancy L. Menk, professor of music.

“Endowments to support learning have been in existence at least since the Greek philosopher Plato bequeathed valuable land to his disciples so they could maintain his Academy. In the academic world, faculty members recognize a named chair as a great honor, and academic programs benefit in perpetuity from such endowments. An endowed chair is associated with scholarly productivity and here at Saint Mary’s College, our teacher-scholars who hold these chairs contribute immensely to the intellectual growth of our students and their colleagues in sharing the benefits of the chair with them in a variety of ways,” said Patricia Fleming, Senior Vice President and Dean of Faculty at Saint Mary's College.

The Bruno P. Schlesinger Chair in Humanistic Studies

John R. Shinners, Ph.D., will be installed as the holder of the Bruno P. Schlesinger Chair in Humanistic Studies on Wednesday, September 14. The installation will take place at a private luncheon on campus with members of the Christian Culture Advisory Council. Shinners received a bachelor’s degree in history summa cum laude from Loyola University, New Orleans, and a master’s degree and Ph.D. in medieval studies from the University of Toronto. He is the author of “Medieval Popular Religion, 1000-1500”, “Pastors and the Care of Souls in Medieval England” (with William Dohar) and various articles about medieval religion. Shinners has been a member in the Department of Humanistic Studies at Saint Mary's College since 1982. In 1999 he received the College’s Maria Pieta Award for excellence in teaching.

The Bruno P. Schlesinger Endowed Chair was endowed, in part, by a National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant. Alumnae, many of whom majored in Christian Culture while at Saint Mary’s College, matched this grant with their contributions.  Professor Schlesinger’s teaching career at Saint Mary's College spanned three generations of students and the tenure of nine College presidents. His accomplishment and foresight in founding what is today the Department of Humanistic Studies (formerly the Christian Culture Program) can be measured through the ongoing contributions of its faculty and students.

The Bruno P. Schlesinger Endowed Chair in Humanistic Studies hosts the annual Christian Culture Lecture. This year nationally acclaimed writer Mary Gordon will deliver the public lecture on Tuesday, September 13 at 7:30 p.m. in O’Laughlin Auditorium. Her lecture, titled “The Uses and Limits of Outrage: A Meditation on the Work of Francisco Goya, Czeslaw Milosz and Denise Levertov”, will explore how artists and poets respond to the political catastrophes of tyranny and war.

The Edna and George McMahon Aquinas Chair in Philosophy

Michael M. Waddell, Ph.D., will be installed as the holder of the Edna and George McMahon Aquinas Chair in Philosophy on Wednesday, September 28 at 4 p.m. in Stapleton Lounge, Le Mans Hall. The public is invited to attend both the installation and a reception, which follows.

Waddell received his Ph.D. in medieval philosophy and his master’s degree in medieval studies from the University of Notre Dame after graduating summa cum laude from Cornell College with a bachelor’s degree in religion and history. Before joining the faculty at Saint Mary’s College in the fall of 2010 as a professor of philosophy, he taught at Augustana College and Villanova University. Waddell has published articles in journals such as The Thomist, International Philosophical Quarterly, 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”.

The Edna and George McMahon Aquinas Chair in Philosophy was established in 1999 by a generous gift from Joyce McMahon Hank ’52 in honor of her parents, Edna and George McMahon. Edna McMahon was a courageous and visionary educator in the Chicago public schools, and George McMahon was an innovative chemical engineer who was awarded numerous patents. Joyce McMahon Hank graduated from Saint Mary’s College in 1952 with degrees in philosophy and art. She received an honorary doctorate of humanities from the College in 1995, and is an emerita member of the Board of Trustees. Through the Edna and George McMahon Aquinas Chair in Philosophy, Saint Mary’s College honors the teachings of Saint Thomas Aquinas and his persistent and insistent search for truth. The establishment of this endowed chair reaffirms the College’s commitment to cultivating and sharing the riches of the Catholic tradition and ensures that the contributions of Saint Thomas Aquinas will remain well known among new generations of students.

Each year the Edna and George McMahon Aquinas Chair in Philosophy hosts the McMahon Aquinas Lecture. This year renowned philosopher Alasdair MacIntyre will deliver the public lecture on Wednesday, September 28 at 7 p.m. in O’Laughlin Auditorium. MacIntyre’s lecture is titled “How Truth is Known though Error: Rereading Aquinas’s Project at ‘Summa Theologiae’ Ia-IIae, qq. 1 and 2”.

The Marjorie A. Neuhoff Nursing Chair

Linda S. Paskiewicz, Ph. D., C.N.M., R.N., director of the Department of Nursing, will be installed as the inaugural holder of the Marjorie A. Neuhoff Endowed Chair in Nursing on Tuesday, October 25. Susan Gennaro, D.S.N., R.N., F.A.A.N. dean and professor, William F. Connell School of Nursing at Boston College, will deliver the installation lecture titled “A Portal to Global Nursing Practice and Scholarship.” The installation ceremony and lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on October 25 in Carroll Auditorium of Madeleva Hall.

Paskiewicz received her bachelor’s degree in nursing from Lewis University and her master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Chicago. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship in the School of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania, Center for Vulnerable Women, Children, and Families. Paskiewicz's career spans four decades and includes over 12 years of service to the Marcella Niehoff School of Nursing at Loyola University Chicago. At Loyola Paskiewicz served in various capacities, including associate professor, associate dean of faculty, director of the Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner Program, chairperson of the Department of Primary Care, Health Promotion, Health Systems Management and Dietetics, and chairperson of the Department of Maternal Child Nursing. She has researched and published extensively in the areas of obesity, pregnancy, perinatal loss and mothering. She joined the Saint Mary’s College faculty in 2009 as the director of the Department of Nursing.

The Marjorie A. Neuhoff Endowed Chair in Nursing was established through a $2 million gift from the trust of Marjorie A. Neuhoff ’61, announced earlier this year. This endowed chair, which will always be occupied by the director of the Department of Nursing, was established to advance the department through visionary leadership and scholarly work. The chair holder will promote interdisciplinary collaboration, the development of faculty as teacher-scholars, and help recruit a new generation of faculty leaders in the Department of Nursing. The holder of this chair will play a major role in developing potential new programs of study. Advanced degree programs would enable the College to better serve the public’s health needs by expanding what the Nursing program does best—educating nurses with a foundation in nursing science, strong clinical skills, and the liberal arts and Catholic teachings that gives them a unique perspective on caring for those in need.

Media interested in interviewing any of the chair holders may contact Gwen O’Brien, director of media relations, Saint Mary's College at (574) 284-4579 or

About Saint Mary’s College: Saint Mary’s College, Notre Dame, Ind., is a four-year, Catholic, women’s institution offering five bachelor’s degrees and more than 30 major areas of study. Saint Mary’s College has six nationally accredited academic programs: social work, art, music, teacher education, chemistry and nursing. Saint Mary's College ranks among the top 100 “Best National Liberal Arts Colleges” in the U.S. News & World Report 2011 College Guide. Founded in 1844, Saint Mary’s is a pioneer in the education of women, and is sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Cross.