About Us

The Joan and Bill Hank Center
for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage

Cuneo Hall Final

About | Staff | Board


The Joan and Bill Hank Center, one of Loyola's five Centers of  Excellence, is a venue for faculty, students, and staff to learn about, and investigate, Roman Catholic thought and its links to all academic disciplines. With its strong emphasis on scholarly research and interdisciplinary engagement, The Hank Center is a productive space where the fruits of scholarship and inquiry can be encountered, discussed, and shared. 

The Center was founded in 2006 aiming to preserve and foster the Catholic intellectual heritage not only at Loyola University Chicago, but also in the broader community. On April 24, 2007, Loyola University Chicago renamed this Center of Excellence in honor of two generous friends and benefactors—Joan Los (BS'54) and Bill Hank.

The Center offers a host of programs, initiatives, and grants aimed at helping our community to connect with, research, and communicate the Catholic intellectual heritage in cross disciplinary and cross-cultural ways-- and always under the mantle of faith, justice, and reason. 

  • Connecting to Roman Catholic thought
    The CCIH Reading Groups offer faculty the opportunity to read and discuss a classic text in the Catholic intellectual tradition with their peers from across the disciplines and around the university.

  • Researching Roman Catholic thought
    Faculty research projects for both individuals and groups concerned with or connected to Catholic intellectual heritage are funded by the Center. The typical goal is a published text, but it can also include an organized conference or team-taught course.

  • Communicating Roman Catholic thought
    The Cardinal Newman Lecture Series provides an opportunity, each spring, for a noted scholar who has converted to Catholicism to offer faculty and students a reflection on how their identification with the Catholic Church and the Catholic intellectual tradition influences and impacts their own professional research and scholarship.

The Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage stewards the Jesuit principle of finding God in all things, which is at the core of the mission of Loyola University Chicago. At the Center, the rich and variant lines of the Catholic intellectual tradition are explored, communicated, and renewed.

Get to know our Staff:

Michael P. Murphy, Director
Meghan Toomey, Center Manager
Kathleen McNutt, Graduate Assistant
Dominic Chai, S.J., Visiting Scholar

Michael P. Murphy
Director, The Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage
Director, Catholic Studies
Senior Lecturer, Department of Theology


Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.

Born and raised in California, I received my undergraduate degrees in English and Great Books from the University of San Francisco, an MA in English from San Francisco State University, and my doctorate in Theology, Literature, and Philosophy in a joint program with the Graduate Theological Union and UC Berkeley. My current research interests include Theology and Literature, Sacramental Theology, and the socio-political cultures of Catholicism.

What is your role at the Hank Center?

As Director for the Hank Center and the Catholic Studies Program, I wear many hats. From facilitating faculty research and teaching projects to conceiving, organizing, and bringing to fruition conferences and symposia to creating curriculum and advising our vibrant Catholic Studies Minor community, every day is a new adventure. I also have a moderately active scholarly agenda and engage public media on issues in Catholic thought and culture.

What is your favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality?

Of the many facets of Ignatian Spirituality that feed and nourish me—or rather, how God nourishes me through the many facets—the practice of Magis immediately springs to mind. One can never go wrong in devoting her/his energies to cultivating the more universal good. But then, we need prayer and reflection for all of it to thrive properly. After all, a bird doesn’t fly on one wing. So, I seek to be a “contemplative in action” as well.

Main takeaway from/ favorite thing about working at the Hank Center?

One of my greatest joys in working at the Hank Center is interacting with and learning from each member of our fantastic team. Each of them has a variety of skills and a unique spirituality that, taken together, help us inhabit, cultivate, and share this beautiful, living tradition. It’s also a profound honor to serve the church and the academy as a vital venue for faculty, students, and staff to learn about, and investigate, Roman Catholic thought and its links to all academic disciplines. CCIH is unique in that it has a large footprint. Its first charge is the Loyola Community, but it also hosts and facilitates both national and international gatherings. It is one of the preeminent Centers for Catholic thought and culture in the US and we take this responsibility very seriously. In this way, it is a true delight to continue the work of my distinguished predecessors, Mike Schuck and Fr. Mark Bosco, to see what the Holy Spirit has in store for us, and to discern the work we are called to do. 

Last but certainly not least, favorite saint?

I’m a fan of the Saints. Sure, I have a special devotion to St. Michael, but my first thought here is St. Catherine of Siena. She was brilliant and a great fighter. Can’t go wrong there. I also think of St. Oscar Romero who was called to deeper awareness and conversion in his late middle age. This also cost him his life—a key aspect of our lives together that saints humbly place before us and there’s no getting around it. It’s true what Bernanos says: “The only tragedy in life would be not to become a saint”—a declaration that scares us and grates on the late modern ear.


Meghan Toomey 
Center Manager


Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, I’m a thoroughly New England gal living in a Midwest world. In addition to working for the Hank Center, I am a doctoral candidate in Integrated Studies in Ethics and Theology here at Loyola and currently working on my dissertation. 

What is your role at the Hank Center?

As Center Manager at CCIH, I help coordinate events and administrative tasks for the Center. 

What is your favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality?

Cura personalis, which has not only been a centerpiece of my own spirituality, but also a guiding principle in my life and relationships with others. 

Main takeaway from/ favorite thing about working at the Hank Center?

My favorite thing about working at the Hank Center is the people with whom I work and the culture of community and camaraderie I experience on a daily basis.

Last but certainly not least, favorite saint?

This is a very difficult question, because there are many saints I admire, especially Saint Teresa of Calcutta and Saint Oscar Romero. On most days I also find myself praying to Saint Anthony for my lost things or St. Jude for hopeless cases, but there is one saint who I have really built my entire life around following in her footsteps, and that is Saint Angela Merici, foundress of the Ursulines of the Roman Union. As a lay associate with the Ursulines, I have found my most authentic expression of discipleship to Christ through Saint Angela’s spirit and teachings.


Kathleen McNutt
Graduate Research Assistant


Where are you from? Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m from a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut. I went to St. Olaf College in Minnesota where I majored in religion with a concentration in linguistics. I got an M.Div. from Yale Divinity School, worked as a campus minister at Marist College for three years, and am currently a Ph.D. student in the Theology department at Loyola, currently in the dissertation stage.

What is your role at the Hank Center?

I serve as the Graduate Research Assistant. I work on our newsletter, website, and marketing; help to coordinate our Faculty Seminar; and staff events. I also have teaching assistant duties and generally try to help CCIH in any way I can.

What is your favorite facet of Ignatian Spirituality?

I’ve always loved the Examen. It’s such a practical prayer and a way to reflect on the day.

Main takeaway from/ favorite thing about working at the Hank Center?

The staff is amazing to work with, and I feel lucky to meet so many distinguished scholars from different fields and universities. There’s always something new going on.

Last but certainly not least, favorite saint?

If I have to choose only one, Martin de Porres, a patron of racial justice. But can I also name Joan of Arc, Catherine of Siena, Thomas More, Oscar Romero, and Mary (my confirmation saint) in there for good measure?


Dominic Heesang Chai, SJ
Visiting Scholar

Dominic is currently a Hank Center visiting scholar and was recently missioned to the Vatican Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development where he serves on the Economic Taskforce of the Vatican COVID-19 Commission. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, and a doctorate from the London School of Economics. Prior to entering the Society of Jesus, he taught strategic management and international business ethics at the University of London. His industry experience includes serving as an executive strategy advisor for a multinational company. As part of his preparation for the priesthood, Dominic received an MA in Theological Studies at Loyola University Chicago where he deepened his knowledge of and his appreciation for the tradition of Catholic Social Thought. His current research interests include how the church can offer a creative and informed voice on critical economic issues today such as future of work and debt relief. 


Micael Clarke, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of English
Loyola University Chicago

Colby Dickinson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of Theology
Loyola University Chicago

The Hon. Thomas M. Donnelly, J.D.
Associate Judge, Circuit Court of Cook County
Part-Time Faculty, School of Law
Loyola University Chicago

Fr. Dan Hartnett, S.J.
Sacramental Minister, St. Ignatius Catholic Church
Teacher, Institute of Pastoral Leadership, University of St. Mary of the Lake

D. Scott Hendrickson, S.J., DPhil
Associate Provost for Global and Community Engagement
Associate Professor, Department of Modern Languages and Literature
Loyola University Chicago

M. Therese Lysaught, Ph.D.
Professor and Director of Graduate Program in Healthcare Mission Leadership
Neiswanger Institute for Bioethics & Healthcare Leadership
Loyola University Chicago

Michelle Nickerson, Ph.D.
Associate Professor, Department of History
Loyola University Chicago

Seungho Moon, Ed.D.
Associate Professor of Teaching and Learning, School of Education 
Loyola University Chicago

Lorraine A. Ozar, Ph.D.
Clinical Associate Professor and Andrew M. Greeley Endowed Chair in Catholic Education
Loyola University Chicago

Michael J. Schuck, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Theology
Founding Director, The Joan and Bill Hank Center for the Catholic Intellectual Heritage
Loyola Univeristy Chicago