Paul Lakeland, PhD Named Recipient of the 2020 Hellwig Award

Paul Lakeland, PhD Named Recipient of the 2020 Hellwig Award

dr. paul lakeland

Paul Lakeland, PhD will receive the 2020 Hellwig Award on February 1.

The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities will present Dr. Lakeland with this prestigious award for outstanding contributions to Catholic intellectual life on Saturday, February 1, 2020.

The Catholic Church is going through some challenging times these days, but the 2,000-year-old tradition of philosophy, theology, scientific inquiry, and extraordinary artistic achievement deserve to continue to be part of the ongoing national and global inquiry into what it is to be human.

— Paul Lakeland, PhD

Fairfield University Professor Paul Lakeland, PhD has been named the 2020 recipient of the Hellwig Award for outstanding contributions to Catholic intellectual life, by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities (ACCU).

The award is named for Monika K. Hellwig, a Georgetown theologian who served as president and executive director of the ACCU from 1996 until two months before her death in 2005. Although he never met her personally, Dr. Lakeland heard Ms. Hellwig speak a couple of times and noted that in what was then very much a man’s world, she “achieved justified veneration for her intellectual honesty, insight, and love of all things Catholic.”

Dr. Lakeland is the Aloysius P. Kelley, S.J., Professor of Catholic Studies and the founding director of Fairfield University’s Center for Catholic Studies. He has taught at Fairfield for the past 38 years, during which time he has also been chair of the department of Religious Studies, and director of the University’s Honors Program.

In his 15 years as director of the Center for Catholic Studies, Dr. Lakeland has welcomed some 90 distinguished speakers to campus, organized 90 workshops on Catholic issues for students, faculty, and the local community, convened the Presidential Seminar on the Catholic intellectual tradition, and — more recently — sponsored a local area discussion group with Commonweal magazine.

“You do this work for the local community and you don’t think about it reaching the attention of a bigger organization,” said Dr. Lakeland of being honored with the Hellwig Award, adding that “it brings our relatively small school more of the attention it deserves for the work of so many people. It’s a cliché, I know, but this award if for them too.”

The Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, founded in 1899, serves as the collective voice of U.S. Catholic higher education. More than 200 colleges and universities in the United States – serving nearly 950,000 students – are designated by their religious congregations or bishops as Catholic institutions.

Dr. Lakeland’s innovative work at Fairfield University is a model for today’s Catholic colleges and universities on how to work with Church leadership to find inspired ways to sustain their mission. “The Catholic Church is going through some challenging times these days, but the 2,000-year-old tradition of philosophy, theology, scientific inquiry, and extraordinary artistic achievement deserve to continue to be part of the ongoing national and global inquiry into what it is to be human,” said Dr. Lakeland. “How privileged I am to be one minor player in this ongoing drama.”

A native of the United Kingdom, Dr. Lakeland has been connected to the Jesuits, one way or another, since he began his education with them at the age of eleven. He is the author of ten books and the editor or co-editor of two more. His most recent book, The Wounded Angel: Fiction and the Religious Imagination, received the 2018 award for the best theology book of the year from the College Theology Society.

Whether teaching, writing, or public speaking, “good enough” is never good enough for Dr. Lakeland. “The biggest challenge for me,” he said, “is the call of the magis. As the years pass, it is so easy to settle for the mediocrity of repetition of the tried and true. But every year, the Center for Catholic Studies is a blank slate and the excitement of meeting the needs of the public, internal and external, always drives me forward.”

Dr. Lakeland is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Theological Society, the College Theology Society, and a member and past-president (2018-19) of the Catholic Theological Society of America, the largest society of theologians of any tradition in the world. He will be presented with the Hellwig Award during the ACCU’s annual meeting on Saturday, February 1, 2020.

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Last modified: 01-16-20 3:59 PM

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