Dr. David P. Deavel Is UST’s Newest Scholar
University of St. Thomas-Houston Associate Professor of Theology, David P. Deavel, Ph.D, joined St. Thomas this fall as a scholar, teacher and member of the community. Before coming to Houston, he was a visiting assistant professor of Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota.
When asked what drew him to UST-Houston, his response was: “The dynamic, intellectually rigorous, and serious scholars, many of whom I knew and had read. Tom Harmon and Sr. Albert Marie Surmanski have been friends for years.”
Dr. Deavel’s scholarly accomplishments are many. A partial accounting includes his book, “Solzhenitsyn and American Culture: The Russian Soul in the West,” co-edited with Jessica Hooten Wilson, which appeared from Notre Dame Press in 2020. His academic work has appeared in many books and journals, including Chesterton Review, Chicago Studies, and Faith and Reason. In 2013, he was the winner of the Novak Award. In addition, Deavel is a featured writer at “The Imaginative Conservative, an associate editor of Voegelin View, and a contributing editor for Gilbert. In the past, he served as editor of “Logos: A Journal of Catholic Thought and Culture.”
A Questioning Mind
As a young Protestant man born in Bremen, Indiana, Deavel’s questions about how to understand the Bible, Christian doctrine and authority led him to philosophy classes in college and authors like C.S. Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien. After graduation, he entered the Catholic Church and decided to continue studying theological questions.
“I know UST as a place that takes faith and reason seriously and joyfully,” he said. “It is also at the cutting edge of thinking about how education should adapt to the times in view of the timeless Catholic truths.”
His Driving Motivators as a Professor
Deavel, the scholar, says he wants to “understand the world God made, see a little bit of how His hand is operative in it, and help people gain understanding through writing that opens up Catholic teaching and the broader Catholic intellectual tradition.”
Deavel, the teacher, aims to help form the minds of students so they can have a view of the world that is coherent and full — but always open to new parts. “I also hope my teaching has an effect on their hearts,” he added.
And Deavel, the community member, wants “to help people feel as though their university experience is something that prepares them not merely for a job, but for a life of faith, service, and further formation of their minds.”
Dr. Deavel lives with his wife and children in Sugar Land, Texas, where he trusts that he will adapt to the Houston heat in a year or two.