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7 School of Arts and Sciences: Department of Theology and Philosophy

Records of the Department of Theology and Philosophy

I. Overview of the Collection

Title: Records of the Department of Theology and Philosophy

Dates: 1940--

Location: 07/15-16

Extent: 3 boxes (1 linear ft.)

Language: English


II. Historical note

When Barry College opened in 1940, the Dominican Father assigned as chaplain, James Bernard Walker, O.P., served also as Chair of the Theology and Philosophy Department. He was followed the next year by Father Cyril W. Burke, O.P., and for several years the chaplain of the college was also chair of the Theology/Philosophy Department. In 1967 the two disciplines received separate chairs, Sister Agnes Cecile Prendergast, O.P., for philosophy, and Father John F. Monroe, O.P., for theology. In 1971, Father Neal McDermott, O.P., became the first full-time chaplain with no teaching responsibilities in the theology department. Many changes were made in the 70s, including naming the department "Religious Studies" instead of theology, with Sister Mary Mullins, O.P., as Chair. In 1981, the Southeast Pastoral Institute (SEPI) under the direction of Mario Vizcaino, Sch.P (Order of the Pious Schools), entered into an agreement with Barry, incorporating the SEPI program into Barry's Religious Studies Department. In 1982, courses in Jewish Studies were introduced, with Rabbi Samuel Jaffe as adjunct professor. In 1985, Dr. Jeremiah Unterman became director of the Jewish Studies program. In 1987, Father John O'Grady, STD, became chair of the Religious Studies Department and the name was changed back to Theology in 1988. Brother Edward van Merrienboer, O.P., was Chair of the Department of Theology and Philosophy from 1994 to 1998. In 1998, Father Mark Wedig, who had been head of the graduate theology program for two years, was named chair of the Department of Theology and Philosophy. In Feb. 2004, the Department of Theology and Philosophy received accreditation by the Association of Theological Schools in the United States and Canada.

The Center for Dominican Studies was a collaborative partnership of the Adrian Dominican Sisters, Barry University, and the Friars of the Province of St. Martin de Porres. It was established in 2000 with Jennie Weiss Block as Director, and a Founding Ceremony was held in the Barry University chapel on Sunday, March 25, 2001.

Yves Congar Award for Theological Excellence recognizes the contributions of contemporary theologians working, writing, and teaching, as did Cardinal Congar, O.P. (1904-1995), in light of tradition and moving the tradition forward in meeting the challenges of the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. The Department of Theology and Philosophy inaugurated this award when Father Thomas F. O’Meara, O.P., speaker for the St. Thomas-St. Catherine Lecture Series, Dec. 11 1995, was honored as the first recipient of the award.

The study of philosophy has traditionally enjoyed a place of prominence in Catholic higher education, especially in Dominican institutions. The philosophy program at Barry introduces the student to critical reflection on human experience, "to critically examine one's own beliefs and judgement" (University catalog 2008-2009). Since 2006, select groups of Barry philosophy students have participated in Regional and National Ethics Bowl competitions, usually ranking with the top ten competing schools. Several Barry philosophy graduates have been accepted into prestigious law schools.


III. The Collection

The Collection includes administrative files, information about academic programs in theology and philosophy, events and publications. There is material about the Religious Studies Program which Barry College undertook with the Archdiocese of Miami, beginning in 1969 and some articles relating to the dedication of the Jewish Studies office, June 13, 1988, when a plaque honoring Clara and Seymour Smoller was installed, as they had established a scholarship for a student in Jewish Studies at Barry


IV. Container list:

Box     Title

Series I: Administrative Files

 15        Dept. of Theology and Philosophy

            Annual reports


            Institute for Hispanic/Latino Theology and Ministry

            M.Div. Equivalency

            Minutes of meetings

            Self-Study report


Series II: Events

 15        General events

            Bio-ethics lectures

            Lecture series

            Yves Congar Award


Series III: Publications

 15        Veritas


Series IV: Academic programs: Philosophy

 15a      Philosophy program


Series V: Academic programs: Theology

 15a      Theology programs

            Doctor of Ministry

            Jewish Studies

            Religious Studies program (Archdiocese of Miami/Barry College)

16        Health Care Ministry Program


Student Philosophy Association and Student Theology Association See Student Organizations record group


V. Administrative Information

Acquisition Information: Transfer, n.d.

Access Restrictions: This collection is open for research

Processed by: Sister Arnold Benedetto, O.P., revised by Ximena Valdivia, 2012

Preferred Citation: , Barry University Archives and Special Collections, Miami Shores, Florida

Records of the Department of Theology and Philosophy


Subject Guide

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Frances Sciurba