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People and organizations
University of St Michael's College Archives

Monahan, Edward J.

Edward Monahan received a Bachelor of Philosophy from the University of St. Michaels College in 1949. He continued at St. Michaels College and graduated with an M.A in 1950, and a PhD in 1953, both also in Philosophy. He also received a Licentiate in Mediaeval Studies from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in 1953.

Monahan’s career was filled with academic professing and university administration. His teaching appointments include Assistant Professor of Philosophy at Villanova University from 1953-1956; Associate Professor of Philosophy at Xavier University from 1956-1957; and Associate Professor of Philosophy at St. Francis Xavier University from 1957-1964.

Monahan acted as the Associate Executive Secretary of the Canadian Association of University Teachers from 1965-1970, where he co-chaired The Commission of Inquiry on Forty Catholic Related Colleges and Universities. He published the results of this Inquiry as A Commitment to Higher Education in 1970. Monahan later acted as the Executive Assistant to the Principal of Queens University from 1971-1972; the President of Laurentian University from 1972-1977; and the Executive Director/President of the Council of Ontario Universities from 1977-1991. Monahan was awarded an honourary doctorate from Lakehead University in 1981. Monahan also served on the Collegium of the University of St. Michaels College and in 1981-82 chaired a committee to study the function of the Collegium, and published the results in what became known as “The Monahan Report.” In the 1990s Monahan reviewed funding, accountability, and governance in colleges and universities across the Commonwealth, and published the results in several scholarly journals.

During his retirement, Monahan wrote Collective Autonomy: A History of the Council of Ontario Universities, 1962-2000, which was published in 2004. The following year he began researching the history of St. Michaels College, and published Teach me Goodness, Truth and Knowledge: A History of St. Michaels College in 2017.

In 2008, Monahan was awarded an honorary doctorate, the Doctor of Sacred Letters, from the University of St. Michaels College in recognition of his service to higher education in Ontario.

Langan, Thomas

Thomas Langan (March 20, 1929 - May 25, 2012) was born in the United States in St. Louis, Missouri. He immigrated to Canada in 1968 but maintained his U.S. citizenship. He received his bachelor’s in philosophy from St. Louis University in 1951 and his Masters in 1952. He then went on to receive his PH.D. in philosophy from Institut Catholique de Paris in 1956. Before his PH.D. education Langan also served in the United States Air Force as a 1st Lieutenant from 1952-1954.

Langan was a teacher and academic for his entire career. He began teaching at St. Louis University in 1956 as an instructor and moved his way up to Assistant Professor and Associate Director until 1960. Langan then taught at Indiana University from 1960 until 1967 as both a professor and Chairman of the Philosophy Department. He began his time at St. Michael’s College in 1967 as a visiting professor before becoming a full-time faculty member the following year. Langan was cross appointed to St. Michael’s College, Trinity College and New College between 1975 to 1978. He was a teacher in the Philosophy and Christianity & Culture programs. His wife Janine Langan was also an Associate Professor at St. Michael’s College and the founder of the Christianity and Culture program.

A prolific academic, Langan wrote well over seventy published articles in his lifetime and published eight books. Additionally, Langan was a part of a great number of committees, such as the Committee for Superior Education, and was on the editorial boards of several journal publications including Communio and New Scholasticism. He participated in many community organizations, serving on multiple Archdiocese of Toronto committees and co-founding the Catholic Civil Rights League in 1985. Langan received an Alumni Merit Award from St. Louis University in 1982. Langan was also elected to the Catholic Commission on Cultural Affairs in 1984.

Thomas Langan retired in 1994 but continued to be an active member of many community and academic organizations.

In 2006 the Archdiocese of Toronto honoured Langan as a Knight of St. Sylvester for his exemplary professional and societal service.

Dewart, Leslie

Leslie Sutherland Dewart (1922-2009) was born Gonzalo Gonzales Duarte in Madrid, Spain but was raised in Cuba. At the age of 19, he came to Canada with the intention to join the Royal Canadian Air Force and served as a pilot in bomber-reconnaissance missions during WWII. After five years of service, Duarte gained Canadian citizenship and changed his name to Leslie Dewart to reflect this development.

Dewart enrolled at the University of Toronto and in 1951 received his Honours BA in Psychology, in 1952 his MA in Philosophy, and in 1954 his PhD in Philosophy. After a brief posting in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Detroit (1954-1956), Dewart returned to the University of Toronto where he was employed for the rest of his career. Initially, he was an assistant professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of St. Michael’s College (also referred to as USMC), but in 1961 was promoted to Associate Professor and was also cross-posted to the Department of Philosophy at the School of Graduate Studies. In 1968 he became a Professor in the Department of Religious Studies at USMC wherein he was involved in the Faculty of Theology (1968-1988), the Institute of Christian Thought (1969-1979), and the Graduate Centre for Religious Studies (1976-1988). In 1979, Dewart obtained his L.L.B. from the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto and was called to the Ontario Bar in 1980. After his retirement in 1988, Dewart wrote legal briefs for Harris & Jones Law Firm as well as continuing to lecture and supervise students in the Department of Religious Studies as a Professor Emeritus.
Dewart’s philosophical specialization was the understanding of the nature of consciousness, which he explored within humanity’s development of religion and language. Dewart was a prolific writer, having written 31 articles, 8 paper contributions to collected works, and 5 books during his life: Christianity and Revolution: The Lesson of Cuba (Herder & Herder Inc., 1963), The Future of Belief (Herder & Herder Inc., 1966), The Foundations of Belief (Herder & Herder Inc., 1970), Evolution and Consciousness: The Role of Speech in the Origin and Development of Human Nature (University of Toronto Press, 1989). His sixth book, Hume’s Challenge and the Renewal of Modern Philosophy, was published posthumously by his widow, Doreen Dewart in 2016.

Dewart’s other appointments included: Chair of the University of Toronto Combined Departments of Religious Studies (1970-1971); associate editor of Continuum (1964-1970); associate editor of Internationale Dialog Zeitschrift (1967-1974); associate editor of Concurrence (1968-1970); member of the editorial board of Studies in Religion-Sciences réligieuses (1970-1980); Public Affairs Editor of Insight: A Journal of Catholic Opinions; member of the advisory board for the Journal of Ultimate Reality and Meaning (1974-1978).

Synan, Edward A.

  • VIAF ID: 94342297
  • Person
  • 1918-1997

Edward Aloysius Synan was born on April 13, 1918. He graduated from Seton Hall College (South Orange, NJ) in 1938. He studied theology at the American College at the Catholic University of Louvain, but returned to North America at the start of the Second World War. He completed his studies at the Catholic University of America (Washington, DC) in 1942, and was also ordained to the priesthood in 1942. Fr. Synan served as a chaplain in the United States Air Force from 1944-1948, and then returned to his studies at the University of Toronto. He graduated with an M.A. in 1950, and a PhD in 1952, both in Philosophy. He also earned the License in Mediaeval Studies from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in 1951.

Fr. Synan then taught philosophy at Seton Hall University from 1952 to 1959. He returned to Toronto in 1959, where he stayed until his death in 1997. While in Toronto, he taught in the Department of Philosophy at the University of St. Michael's College, at the School of Graduate Studies at the University of Toronto, and at the Pontifical Institute. He served as President of the Pontifical Institute from 1973 to 1979, and also served as Acting President during the 1989-1990 term.

Fr. Synan died on August 3, 1997.

O'Gara, Margaret

  • Person
  • 1947-2012

Margaret O’Gara (1947-2012) was a regular member of the Faculty of Theology, University of St. Michael’s College, from 1976 to 2012. She obtained her B.A. in English and Philosophy at Trinity College in Washington, DC in 1969, followed by her M.A.R. in Theology at Yale Divinity School in 1971. She completed her Ph.D. in Theology at USMC in 1980 and was promoted to Assistant Professor. She became Associate Professor in 1985, Professor in 1998, and Sisters of St. Joseph of Toronto Chair in Systematic Theology in 2007.

O’Gara’s theological specialty was ecumenical theology, the personally engaged study of the divisions between the Christian churches for the sake of overcoming them. Besides her teaching, research, writing, and extensive public lecturing, she served on five official national or international dialogues between the Roman Catholic Church and other churches: the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (1976-93); the Disciples of Christ-Roman Catholic International Commission for Dialogue (1983-2012); the U.S. Lutheran-Roman Catholic Dialogue (1994-2012); the Lutheran-Roman Catholic International Commission for Unity (1995-2007); and the Evangelical-Roman Catholic Dialogue of Canada (2008-2012). She was a member of Bridgefolk, a North American organization for dialogue between Roman Catholics and Mennonites (2002-2012). She served as president of the North American Academy of Ecumenists (1987-89) and the Catholic Theological Society of America (2007-2008). She was a member of the Toronto Archdiocesan Ecumenical Commission (1988-2012). She was a board member of the Collegeville Institute for Ecumenical and Cultural Research (1990-2012). She served as the anglophone theological advisor to the delegation from the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops at the World Synod of Bishops (2001). And she was chair of the Theology Department, Toronto School of Theology (2003-2005).

Besides roughly 80 articles, O’Gara published three books: Triumph in Defeat: Infallibility, Vatican I, and the French Minority Bishops (Catholic University of America Press, 1988), The Ecumenical Gift Exchange (Liturgical Press, 1998) and No Turning Back: the Future of Ecumenism (Liturgical Press, 2014).