College of Fellows
Citation at the Induction into the College of Fellows - Fr. Michael Sweeney, OP
Ron Hansen, husband and father, teacher, mentor, novelist, permanent Deacon, loyal son of the Church, the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology salutes you.
“Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope,” St. Peter instructs us, “but do it with gentleness and reverence.”
In your short stories, essays and novels you have, truly, offered a reason for your hope in Christ, and in a way that is both gentle and reverential of the human mystery. For the one who is truly gentle must revere what is human, must look and not look away, and this, you have insisted, is what stories do. They
"…give us access to otherwise hidden, censored, unsayable thoughts and feelings now shiftily disclosed in the guise of plot and character. In the Star Trek phrase, it's a mind meld. The hungers of our spirits are fed by sharing in the glimpsed interiority of others. In this attentiveness to others, you have noticed that religion and fiction "
...share in common the unquenchable yearning to achieve the impossible, fathom the unfathomable, hold on to what is fleeting and evanescent and seen, in Saint Paul’s words, ‘as through a glass, darkly’.
Born in Omaha Nebraska, you received a thoroughly Jesuit education (High School at Creighton Preparatory School and then a B.A. from Creighton University). After College you earned your MFA from the Iowa Writers’ Workshop. You have received fellowships from Stanford University, the Michigan Society of Fellows, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the John Simon Guggenheim foundation, and the award in literature of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Presently you are Gerard Manley Hopkins, S.J. Professor in Arts and Humanities at Santa Clara University. “The job of fiction writers,” you have written, “is to …give their readers the feeling that life has great significance, that something is going on here that matters.” That life has significance, and that what we do matters is the corrective that our society might be seen to need most, for it is not possible to proclaim the Gospel to one for whom life and action are insignificant, for whom nothing matters.
As a Deacon in the Catholic Church you have committed yourself to the service of the People of God; we pray that your service may continue to flourish even as you invoke for us the wonder that alone can open us to grace and to the fullness of life that our Lord intends for us.
We are delighted that you have consented to join us as a Fellow of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. Therefore, as an expression of our esteem and gratitude, and in virtue of the authority invested in me by the Board of Trustees of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, I am privileged to bestow upon you, Ron Hansen, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa, and to name you as a Fellow of the School.