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Dominicans in Atlanta
Aquinas Center of Theology

Emory CampusATLANTA, GA -- As the Aquinas Center of Theology nears its silver jubilee, what does the center do and what does it accomplish?  According to David Balunas, president of the Executive Resource Group in Marietta, GA, “The Aquinas Center provides a Dominican intellectual presence on the Emory University campus through an endowed chair at its Candler School of Theology and a Catholic studies minor at the undergraduate level.”  David adds: “The Aquinas Center also provides a valuable intellectual resource to the Archdiocese of Atlanta through a variety of scholarly and intellectual programs and publications.”

And, according to Dr. Elaine P. LeBlanc, provincial secretary for the Dominican Laity, “The Aquinas Center provides an open forum for both scholarly and practical dialogue as it presents the Catholic perspective on issues that are the signs of our times.”

The Aquinas Center began as the Dominican Study Center, Inc. in 1984 as an institution  for Dominicans of St. Martin Province to study in connection with Emory University, a Methodist institution.   The first director was Fr. Robert U. Perry, OP (St. Martin).

Emory SteepleIn 1987 this Dominican Study Center was transformed into the Aquinas Center of Theology, named after St. Thomas Aquinas.   In 1996 the Aquinas Center endowed two permanent chairs at Emory: the Aquinas Chair in Catholic Theology at Emory’s Candler School of Theology and the Aquinas Chair in Catholic Studies.

Since 1991, the Center has sponsored 14 Visiting Dominican Scholars.   Mary Catherine Hilkert, OP, from the University of Notre Dame, taught a course on The Theology of Edward Schillebeeckx in the Spring of 1991.  Other Dominican scholars have come from such theological centers as the Institut catholique de Paris, Blackfriars at Oxford, Fordham University, University of Fribourg, Aquinas Institute of Theology, Catholic University of America, Graduate Theological Union at Berkeley, Catholic Theological Union (Chicago).  The most recent Scholar has been John Allard, OP, from Providence College in Rhode Island.

Currently the Aquinas Center sponsors three annual lectures: Thomas Aquinas, Aquinas Spirituality and the Aquinas Social Justice.  In the fall of 2008, major addresses will be presented by Wilton Gregory (Archbishop of Atlanta) and Timothy Radcliffe, OP (former Master of the Dominican Order). The Center also co-sponsors numerous Catholic theological events throughout the greater Atlanta region.

The Board of Directors currently includes six Dominicans: Mari-beth Beres, OP (Adrian), Elaine LeBlanc, (Laity) and from St. Martin Province: Gerard Austin, OP, George Boudreau, OP, David G. Caron, OP and Carl B. Trutter, OP   The present managing director for the Center is Dr. Dana Greene, dean emerita of Oxford College of Emory University.

SOURCE: Carl B. Trutter, OP (St.Martin)


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