UST Professor R.E. Houser Receives Prestigious Aquinas Medal
The American Catholic Philosophical Association Names R. E. Houser its 2019 Aquinas Medalist
One of the highest honors in the field of philosophy is the Aquinas Medal, awarded by the American Catholic Philosophical Association to recognize “outstanding teaching, personal publications of permanent and scholarly value, and influence upon American philosophical thought.”
In 2019, the ACPA will bestow this medal on Dr. R. E. Houser, Professor Emeritus of UST, at its annual ACPA meeting. He will speak on "Metaphysics: Aquinas the Avicennian."
“Dr. Ed Houser has made an outstanding contribution to scholarship on St Thomas,” Archbishop J. Michael Miller, Archdiocese of Vancouver and former UST President, said. At the University of St Thomas, he is venerated as an inspiring professor and engaging colleague. The American Catholic Philosophical Association has chosen well in awarding Dr. Houser the Aquinas Medal.”
Distinguished recipients include Jacques Maritain, who inspired the "Christian democracy" movement around the globe, Etienne Gilson, who reconnected philosophy with its history, and Karol Wojtyla, Pope Saint John Paul II.
About his education, Houser said: "In the Honors Program at UT Austin I learned to teach from my teachers; and at the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies in Toronto, founded by Etienne Gilson and Basilian priests, I learned scholarly research. My dissertation committee was Joseph Owens, Armand Maurer, and E. A. Synan, all recipients of the Aquinas Medal.”
Houser Finds a Home at UST
The Center for Thomistic Studies, at the University of St. Thomas, was founded by Fr. Victor Brezik CSB and Anton Pegis of the Pontifical Institute, another Aquinas Medalist. It is the only graduate philosophy program in the Americas focused on the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas. Dr. Houser and his wife Dr. Mary Catherine Sommers were recruited in 1987. "We came," Houser said, "because of the Center, the Basilians, and I'm a Texan. We stayed because of the UST Honors program and the Center, both of which Dr. Sommers directed when they rose to prominence."
Scholarship, Teaching, Family
Dr. Houser has given over 80 lectures, published over 40 articles, and is author or editor of 12 volumes, concentrating on Aquinas, Avicenna, and Bonaventure. The most recent, to appear December 2019, is Logic as a Liberal Art: An Introduction to Rhetoric and Reasoning.
About teaching, Houser says: "I really like the classroom, where I use a Socratic approach. The greatest pleasure is teaching people you think will be better than you are, like Albert teaching Thomas. I have had a few such students. And two of our Center graduates have won the ACPA Young Scholar Award, Daniel DeHaan and Catherine Peters. I received it, as well, back in the late middle ages."
Dr. Sommers and Dr. Houser have four children: Claudia, a middle school teacher married to a Center graduate teaching at another Catholic university; Alice, a stay-at-home mom whose three children are Miguel Eduardo, Pedro Santiago, and Maria Caterina; Sarah, a Ph.D. from Notre Dame in Political Theory, who also teaches elsewhere; and Edward, a Naval officer graduated from the US Naval Academy.