Dr. Michael Naughton, interim director of the Center for Catholic Studies at St. Thomas, has been honored by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities for “exceptional work as a scholar and commitment to advance Catholic social thought for the common good.”
Naughton received the Monika K. Hellwig Award for Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Intellectual Life Jan. 31 at the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities’ annual banquet, held at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Washington, D.C. Hellwig, who died in 2005, was a past president of ACCU.
In his acceptance speech, Naughton said, “The work this award recognizes has been a social achievement. I specifically want to mention the University of St. Thomas and its leaders, current president Dr. Julie Sullivan, and past presidents Father Dennis Dease, whom I worked with for 22 years, and the late Monsignor Terrence Murphy, who hired me 24 years ago. Their support and encouragement have been critical to our work and, in particular, in the development of the Center for Catholic Studies.
“Within this center, I have been surrounded by extraordinarily brilliant colleagues whose wisdom, counsel and spirit of self-sacrifice have witnessed to me the best of Catholic intellectual life. In particular, the collaborations and counsel of Don Briel, Bob Kennedy, Ken Goodpaster and Deborah Ruddy have been indispensable to our achievements.”
Naughton also paid homage to his wife and Jesus Christ: “I have also been guided and inspired by the personal counsel of my wife, Teresa, who has been my intellectual partner and spiritual companion for over 27 years. Above all, this work has been a collaboration with Christ the Teacher, whose Truth and Way we seek, so imperfectly, in all we do.”
Dease gave remarks at the ceremony, noting, “As versatile as Michael always has been in the classroom, with a multidisciplinary approach as broad as any I know, he truly has made his mark in our Catholic studies area. St. Thomas had the first Catholic studies program in the United States, and he worked tirelessly behind the scenes to help it evolve and mature into the largest and, if I may be permitted to brag a bit, the finest program of its kind.”
An exceptional scholar, Naughton holds the Alan W. Moss Endowed Chair in Catholic Social Thought at St. Thomas, where he is a full professor with a joint appointment in the departments of Catholic Studies (College of Arts and Sciences) and Ethics and Law (Opus College of Business).
He also serves as director of the John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought, in the Center for Catholic Studies, examining Catholic social thought in relationship to business theory and practice. As director he has organized international conferences on the theme of Catholic social thought and management as well as various faculty and administrative seminars on the mission and identity of Catholic universities. He joined the St. Thomas faculty in 1991, and initially taught theology, business and Catholic studies.