Michael A. Haggar Fellow 2016 - Matthew D. Walz
Our colleague, who has been chosen as the Haggar Fellow, is a gifted teacher, devoted
to liberal learning. It’s a devotion that constantly looks for the unity of the different
arts and sciences. It’s a learning that strives to integrate academic pursuits with
the flesh and blood personal realities of friendship, family, politics, and religion.
Our Fellow is an amiable teacher who believes in his students’ desire and capacity
to engage the deeper questions of life. It is not rare to find students declare that
his class was “probably my favorite course this semester.” In their reviews they characterize
him as lucid in his explanations, fair in his evaluation, and eager to engage thoughtful
interchange. These sorts of remarks come from students, enrolled in a surprisingly
wide variety of courses, in the Core, in the Major, and in Graduate Studies.
Before I continue, let me put aside the coy veil of expectation, and say that our
2016 Haggar Fellow is Matthew D. Walz.
In the field of scholarship, Matt Walz is a fine scholar. He published a genuinely
fresh and illuminating translation of the Proslogion, which is the masterpiece of its 12th century author, Anselm of Canterbury. Aided by Matthew’s scholarly apparatus, the
reader can begin to appreciate the remarkable degree to which Anselm’s philosophical
thought was an organic part of his life as an abbot and monk. In fact, what he has
done with Anselm in this beautiful little book, is a hallmark of Matthew’s own life
as a professor, husband and father, colleague and citizen.
His published articles range over Aristotle, Augustine, Boethius, Anselm, Aquinas,
and Bonaventure. Two characteristics mark his work. The first is attention to the
rhetorical intent of the work at hand and to the details of language, be it Greek
or Latin. And the second is a discernment of the strains of perennial wisdom to be
found in the thinkers he studies.
As a member of the University community, Matthew forms part of a group of colleagues,
who not only teach well, but deliberately and persistently reflect on the meaning
of liberal education. His judgment and constructive approach have made significant
contributions to the Faculty Senate, to faculty search committees and departmental
deliberations, and in a particular way, to the QEP Committee in which he played a
In the field of service, his most enduring contribution may well prove to be his academic
advising. Each year Matthew advises between 50-60 students in the Philosophy and
Letter’s program, which provides the intellectual formation for young men preparing
for the Catholic priesthood. In addition to ordinary advisor duties, he is obliged
to make periodic reports that aid the seminary in assessing each of the young men’s
academic character and progress. His care for his advisees also aids them, his advisees,
in discerning and shaping their own vocations.
May I also add a word of gratitude to Matthew for his ready wit and infectious laughter
– surely, a boon to any community.
Our Fellow’s name is now entered as the 31st in the roll of Michael A. Haggar Fellows. Although each year we lift up but one
among us for this award, still, in this one, we celebrate and honor the totality of
those collected aspirations, talents, and virtues that center the life of this University
Congratulations Matthew Walz !