Dr. Stephen Laumakis to serve as director of Aquinas Scholar Honors Program

Dr. Stephen Laumakis has been named the next director of the Aquinas Scholar Honors Program.

He succeeds the interim director, Dr. Michael Mickolajczak. I am grateful to Mickolajczak, professor, Department of English, for the excellent leadership he provided to the program.

Laumakis, professor of philosophy, began teaching at St. Thomas in the fall of 1990. He has served on the Aquinas Scholars Faculty Board since fall 2000. He has taught numerous honors sections of Philosophy of the Human Person (PHIL 115) and Introductory Ethics (PHIL 214) and 14 different honors seminars, including:   Religious Pluralism; Socrates, Buddha, Jesus and Confucius; Buddha’s Brain; Ways to Wisdom; The Vices; Mind and Intelligence; Philosophy of Sports; Three Pillars of Chinese Philosophy; Philosophy and Psychology, and Satori/Enlightenment.

This fall semester he will be team-teaching The Challenge of Religious Diversity/Pluralism with Dr. Bernie Brady, department chair of Theology, and next spring he will team-teach Athletics: Building Character or Characters with Dr. Dan Carey of the Department of Health and Human Performance.  

Dr. Stephen Laumakis

Laumakis said he plans to promote broader faculty participation in the honors program (beyond the College of Arts of Sciences) and raise its profile across the university. He also plans to expand the role of the faculty board, re-energize student participation in the academic elements of the program, and increase the number of sections and seminars that the program offers.

Laumakis notes that in the past, honors sections of courses in the core have been described as, "Different, not harder (than regular non-honors sections)." The new description he hopes to promote is "They’re different and harder – because Aquinas Scholars ought to expect and want to be challenged!" He also points out that the new program application essay asks prospective scholars to come up with their own ideas about possible seminars. Laumakis plans to use some of those ideas to get more faculty interested in teaching honors seminars.

The faculty members serving on the Aquinas Scholar board are: Jeff McLean, Mathematics; Marty Warren, English; Agapitos Papagapitos, Economics; Greg Robinson-Riegler, Psychology; Alan Bryan, Music; Michael Scham, Modern and Classical Languages;  Jessica Toft, Social Work; AnnMarie Thomas, Engineering; and Rick Kunkel, Opus College of Business.

Please join me in welcoming Steve Laumakis in his new role as director of the Aquinas Scholar Honors Program.