TU’s Aquinas conference draws more than 500 scholars, attendees - The University of Tulsa
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TU’s Aquinas conference draws more than 500 scholars, attendees

In March, the Department of Philosophy & Religion in The University of Tulsa’s Kendall College of Arts & Sciences, in conjunction with TU’s Honors College, hosted a three-day conference on the life, thought, and significance of Thomas Aquinas. The Italian Dominican theologian recognized by the Roman Catholic Church as its ”Common Doctor” is the patron saint of professors and students. He translated Aristotle’s philosophy into Christian language, taught profoundly about the Christian tradition, and wrote some of the most beautiful hymns in the church’s liturgy.

“It is from St. Thomas that we receive the foundations of many areas critical to modern thought, such as the ideas of natural law and human rights,” explained Warren Professor of Catholic Studies Donald Prudlo.

March 7, 2024, marked the 750th anniversary of the death of the “Angelic Doctor,” and more than 500 scholars and participants came from all over the nation to Tulsa to present and reflect on Aquinas’ legacy.

“We were thrilled at the turnout – both by the academic and the local communities,” Prudlo said. “Thomas Aquinas clearly remains a vital presence both in the academy and beyond.”

Special sessions featured presentations from undergraduates and national graduate students and a keynote lecture by Russell Hittinger, professor emeritus of religion at TU. The enlightening three-day event emphasized Aquinas’ relevance across various fields such as theology, philosophy, literature, history, politics, economics, and the natural sciences. Cultural elements included a Solemn High Mass in the Dominican Rite from the 13th century at Tulsa’s Holy Family Cathedral.

“This event marked a high point in the first year of the new Honors College, while also featuring the renewed strength of The University of Tulsa Philosophy & Religion program,” said Prudlo.

TU’s Honors College was created in 2023 to educate students to lead flourishing lives of purpose and meaning, no matter what career path they ultimately choose to pursue. By learning from great thinkers of the past, Honors College students prepare for a life that’s worth living. Learn more about the college’s core values – wisdom, virtue, and friendship – at utulsa.edu/honors.