Institute President Announces Resignation
LOUIS, MO - December 26, 2006 Fr. Charles Bouchard, O.P., announced
Monday he would resign as president of Aquinas Institute of Theology
effective January 1, 2008. He has been president since 1989.
Bouchard has led the school during 17 years of unprecedented growth—from
about 100 in 1989 to about 300 today. During his tenure, the school
has met several critical church needs, including educating health
care executives in roles formerly held by vowed religious women
so they can maintain the tradition of Catholic health care.
The growth led to a bold move this year, when Aquinas Institute
left its building on the campus of Saint Louis University and more
than doubled its space with a move into a newly restored, century-old
factory in Midtown.
Bouchard’s successor will be named in April. The next president
will be a Dominican priest from the body of priests who represent
the Midwest region of the United States. While the school educates
Catholic laypeople, vowed religious and Christians from other faith
traditions, its fundamental purpose is to prepare Dominican priesthood
candidates. The bylaws of the school demand that the president be
a Dominican priest.
Fr. Michael Mascari, O.P., who manages all aspects of the Midwest
region of Dominicans, will oversee the selection process of the
next president. It will be essential, he said, that the new president
maintains the character and mission of the school.
Bouchard plans to go on sabbatical in early 2008 and consider his
future. He said he chose now to resign for three reasons. First,
when he departs in 2008, he will have completed his 18th year in
the position—a job he assumed when he was 37. Simply put,
he wants to try something new. Second, the school has a reputation
as an innovative, even trend-setting, institution, and Bouchard
believes a new president will bring the fresh ideas to maintain
that reputation. Finally, the region from which the next president
will be named has an especially strong roster of candidates from
which to choose.
“Aquinas Institute has been blessed by Fr. Bouchard's guidance
for 18 years,” said attorney John Gillis, chairman of the
board of trustees for the school. “Under his leadership, the
school has grown from a small, little known institution to a thriving
graduate theology school educating priests, religious and lay Catholics
for meaningful roles in the Church. Through his drive to make Aquinas
Institute relevant in a changing environment, the school has developed
innovative programs for laypeople with leadership positions in the
Church and in Church-sponsored institutions. He will leave Aquinas
Institute a much stronger place than the one he first led in 1989.”
Aquinas Institute is a Roman Catholic graduate school of theology
in Midtown St. Louis where priesthood candidates study alongside
vowed religious women and men and laypeople pursuing careers in
the Catholic Church or simply seeking to better understand their