If you had been passing by the biomechanics lab on the second floor of the Anderson Athletic and Recreation Complex on a recent cold April morning and glanced in the window, you might have stopped for a longer look.
Christian theologians have baptized Platonic intellectual intuition by applying it to the biblical texts that describe an encounter with God as a kind of seeing. Thomas Aquinas summed up this tradition when he wrote: “the highest and perfect happiness of intellectual nature consists in the vision of God.”
As a dean, I often hear talk about the “return on investment” from a college education, especially for students majoring in the liberal arts. As an economist, I do not have a particular problem with this concept, so long as the returns on education are measured broadly and completely enough.
A popular place for undergraduates on a sticky August afternoon in St. Paul might be the trails near the Mississippi River at Hidden Falls or the shady parks around Lake Como. But a summer stroll into Owens Science Hall finds a group of students contemplating some of the deepest mysteries of life.
As a philosophy professor at the University of Scranton, Matthew Meyer integrates the liberal arts for his students much as his St. Thomas professors did for him. “I’m trying to make each of my students a philosopher in the original sense of the word, a lover of wisdom,” he said.
With an undergraduate finance major and a mini-master’s in health care from St. Thomas, Brian McEnaney was well-prepared for the technical requirements of a career in software and health information systems.
Most weekdays last summer Grant Schmura and David Houserman left the biology lab around noon and drove to Lake Judy in Shoreview, Minn. Before each of those days was done they would spend five hours gathering and tracking painted turtles.
Discussing a particular theological question is like pulling that piece of thread coming out of your sweater. The more you pull, the more you see how connected the piece of thread is to the whole of the sweater.
For the past three summers, graduate students and beginning professors of philosophy and theology have traveled from around the world to attend the St. Thomas Summer Seminar in Philosophy of Religion and Philosophical Theory.