The Monan professorships were established earlier this year in honor of the University's 24th president, who became Boston College's first chancellor on Aug. 1. Board of Trustees Chairman Geoffrey T. Boisi announced the establishment of the professorships at the May 20 Commencement Exercises as one of several tributes to Fr. Monan's 24-year administration.
Announcing the appointments, Academic Vice President and Dean of Faculties William B. Neenan, SJ, said, "The three Monan professors exemplify to the highest degree the characteristics of the University during Fr. Monan's tenure: academic excellence; a high level of professional accomplishment; and service to society at large. It gives me great personal satisfaction to be associated with colleagues such as these."
Interviewed earlier this month, the Monan professors said they were gratified to have their names linked with Fr. Monan's. The three also said the Monan professorships aptly symbolize Boston College's academic and institutional goals.
Monan Professors (from left) Lisa S. Cahill, Philip Altbach and Daniel Coquillette. (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)
"The professorships are a great tribute to Fr. Monan," Coquillette explained, "but they also reflect the vision of the Board of Trustees. By its emphasis on a multidisciplinary, University-wide approach, and support for excellence in research and teaching, the Monan professorships affirm that Boston College has come of age and will establish itself by the quality of its publications, international scholarly events and other academic initiatives."
Coquillette was Law School dean from 1985 to 1993, a period which saw the school continue its rise to national prominence, and has been a professor since. The Law School was ranked among the nation's top 20 by US News & World Report in 1993 and experienced strong growth in financial development during Coquillette's deanship, tripling its endowment and cash contributions from alumni. The author of Lawyers and Fundamental Moral Responsibility , Coquillette has gained a national reputation in the area of legal reform, especially ethics.
"I identify strongly with Fr. Monan's interest in social ethics and commitment to justice, and have found my own work often touching upon those areas," Cahill said. "Using the resources of the Monan professorship, I hope to explore these interests further, whether through my research or through sponsoring public events."
Cahill, who joined the faculty in 1976, is an accomplished scholar in the areas of feminist, medical and sexual ethics. She is past president of the Catholic Theological Society of America and has served as a consultant to the National Conference of Catholic Bishops Marriage and Family Life Committee. The author of Love Your Enemies: Discipleship, Pacifism and Just War Theory and the forthcoming Sex and Gender Ethics , Cahill was elected this spring to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
"As a student of higher education," Altbach said, "I feel particularly honored in being named a Monan professor because his achievements in that field are quite remarkable. It is a field which now encompasses a tremendous amount of multidisciplinary work, so in that regard Fr. Monan is also an appropriate namesake."
Altbach is director of the Boston College Center for International Higher Education, which provides information and support for international initiatives in higher education, with a special focus on Jesuit institutions. A faculty member since 1994, Altbach recently began a five-year term as editor of The Review of Higher Education , the academic journal of the Association for the Study of Higher Education.
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