President

Dr. William Edmund Fahey

Dr. William Edmund Fahey is the third president of Thomas More College and founding President of the Center for the Renewal of Christian Culture. Born at the Naval Hospital in Philadelphia while his father served as a Marine Corps officer in Vietnam, Fahey spent his youth in the midwest and Maine, where his family has lived since the 1630s.

Dr. Fahey earned an Honors A.B. from Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio) in Classics and History. Afterwards, Fahey pursued postgraduate studies in Ancient History at the University of St. Andrews (Scotland), where he completed the M.Phil. (mode A) in Ancient History, a degree which seems to have been abolished shortly after his tenure there, perhaps in view of his leisurely approach to education.  It was in the “auld grey toon” of St. Andrews that Fahey had two fateful meetings: First with the woman who would become his wife and second with that inspiring man of letters, Russell Amos Kirk.  William and Amy Fahey would be assistants to Dr. Kirk at his ancestral home in Mecosta, Michigan during the last years of Kirk’s life and later to Mrs. Annette Kirk through the founding years of the Russell Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal.

At the Catholic University of America Fahey studied in the Department of Classics, and earned both the M.A. and Ph.D. (with highest distinction) through the Early Christian Studies program. He has held a number of distinguished recognitions and fellowships– including the Lord Acton History Award, a Salvatori Fellowship (Heritage Foundation), the Richard M. Weaver Fellowship (Intercollegiate Studies Institute), and an Earhart Fellowship.

Dr. Fahey came to Thomas More College of Liberal Arts after nearly a decade of undergraduate and graduate level teaching at Christendom College (Front Royal, Virginia), where he established the Department of Classical and Early Christian Studies, of which he was Chairman.

Previously, Dr. Fahey had taught at The Catholic University of America, as well as at Brookfield Academy (Wisconsin), and the American Academy (St. David’s, Pennsylvania). He has also taught abroad in Germany, and for many years in the Western Civilization Honors Program held at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, England.

Dr. Fahey’s scholarly interests extend from the Classical World through the Fathers of the Church to the importance of Agrarian thought on past and contemporary culture. In addition to Cicero, Virgil, St. Augustine, St. Benedict, and St. Gregory the Great, he has an especial interest in the writings of G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc, and Fr. Vincent McNabb. He has been published in the Bryn Mawr Classical Review, The St. Austin Review, Faith & Reason, The University Bookman, Classical World, and The Classical Bulletin. He hopes one day to return to his translation of St. Robert Bellarmine’s political writings.

Dr. Fahey is a Benedictine Oblate (postulant) with the Monastery of Our Lady of the Annunciation (Clear Creek, Oklahoma), a somewhat errant Knight of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, and by appointment of Governor Matthew Beven a Kentucky Colonel (a great honor he shares with Roy Rogers, Winston Churchill, and Ronald Reagan).

He and his wife, Amy—a doctor in English literature from Washington University, St. Louis and a Visiting Fellow at Thomas More College—have five children. Together William and Amy Fahey edit the “Civilized Reader” at Crisis Magazine.

Program Director

Phil Lawler

Born and raised in the Boston area, Philip Lawler attended Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury, MA, where he won the state’s debating championship. He graduated with honors from Harvard College in 1972, majoring in Government. He did graduate work in political philosophy at the University of Chicago before settling into a career in journalism.

Mr. Lawler’s first career stop was in New Jersey, where he edited Prospect, a monthly magazine published by a Princeton alumni group. In 1979 he moved to Washington, DC, to become managing editor of Policy Review, a quarterly journal published by the Heritage Foundation. He was soon promoted to become Director of Studies at the Heritage Foundation, supervising the foundation’s scholarly research.

In 1984 he became editor of Crisis, a monthly journal of lay Catholic opinion. In 1986 he returned to Boston to become the first layman to edit The Pilot, the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Boston. From 1993 through 2005 he was editor of the international monthly magazine Catholic World Report. In 1995 he founded Catholic World News, the first English-language news service operating on the internet.

Philip Lawler has been active in political campaigns, as a speechwriter and organizer, on the local, state, and national levels. He was appointed to the Inauguration Committees for President Ronald Reagan in 1984, and for President George Bush in 1988. In 2000 he himself was a candidate for the US Senate, running against Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Mr. Lawler is the author or editor of ten books, of which the most recent is Lost Shepherd, due for publication in February 2018. His essays and book reviews have appeared in dozens of magazines, including National Review, Crisis, The Critic, 30 Days, Modern Age, Policy Review, and the American Spectator.  His columns have appeared in over 100 newspapers around the United States and abroad, including the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, and Wall Street Journal.

Phil Lawler is married to Leila Marie Lawler, who is the author of The Little Oratory and God Has No Grandchildren as well as the popular blogger known as “Auntie Leila.” They have seven children and (at last count) a dozen grandchildren.

Writer-in-Resident

Dr. Anthony Esolen

I was born in Archbald, Pennsylvania, the grandson of Italian immigrants, peasants in Italy and coal miners here. My family attended Saint Thomas Aquinas Church, built by Irish miners in the late 1800’s, painted by an Italian master they hired to cover the church’s walls and ceilings, partly ruined by an otherwise sensible Irish pastor in the 1970’s, and now restored by a very fine and faithful young priest, who is not Italian but Lebanese, which is close enough. I attended the parish school there and learned grammar from a fine old battle-axe, and then went to Bishop O’Hara High School, where I knew some other battle-axes and began to study German and Latin. After that came Princeton, a smallish university in southern New Jersey where faith and reason used to go to die, but through the grace of God I ended up in the English department and studied under the incomparably fine Thomas Roche, John Fleming, and Robert Hollander, and there, for the first time, I learned that the life of faith and the life of the intellect were one.

Princeton graduated me summa cum laude, an honor which they might like to take back, but cannot, and then I went to the University of North Carolina, whose English department at that time required its graduate students to know a very broad range of English and American literature. My major was Renaissance literature, with a minor in Latin, and strong interest in medieval literature and languages. The most important thing that happened to me there at Chapel Hill was that God surprised me with a woman whom I fell in love with, who has been my wife, Debra, for the last thirty years. We were married in Saint Thomas More Catholic Church, in an old stone building that no longer exists, the parish having grown too large for it.

From Chapel Hill we went south to a place actually called Travelers Rest, in the up-country of South Carolina, where I taught for two years, as an assistant professor of English, at Furman University. That place proved to be a snake pit of envy and rebellion against the southern Baptists who still held some slight authority over its goings on, so we looked elsewhere, and in 1990 I accepted an offer from Providence College, where I taught for 27 years, 25 of them quite happily. I became the youngest person ever to be promoted to a full professorship, a record that still holds, and taught regularly in the school’s program in the Development of Western Civilization, happily also, until the program was beaten bloody and crippled, several years ago. I began at that school to translate poetry: Lucretius’ On the Nature of Things, Tasso’s Jerusalem Delivered, and Dante’s Divine Comedy. Over time I began to write articles for Christian journals such as Touchstone, Crisis, The Catholic Thing, Magnificat, and various others, and to write many books on Catholic theology, culture, Christian literature, and western civilization. For all of this work, the politically motivated Powers at the college rewarded me in 2016 with public repudiation, and we parted company.

I am now a teaching fellow at Thomas More College of the Liberal Arts, and for the first time in my life I am perfectly at home when I am at work. I have told my wife and anyone who will listen that I will never again feel that sense of futility, thinking that I am reaching only a few students here and there, or that all I do in my class will be undone in somebody else’s class, or that my students are going through the motions, not really in love with anything that I love so much. I find that I am really teaching, and working harder than ever, to my delight. My family and I have moved to New Hampshire, and here we plan to stay, here will be our home, until God calls us home indeed.

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