The Chair will support a stable theology department of excellence, which responds to our evolving times and is at the forefront of the Church's commitment to dialogue and encounter.
Vancouver, BC - May 18, 2017. Following a lengthy and thorough international search, St. Mark's College at UBC is pleased to announce the appointment of our inaugural endowed Marie Anne Blondin Chair in Theology, Dr. Nicholas Olkovich.
Currently an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael's College (USMC) at the University of Toronto, Professor Olkovich has accepted the College's offer to serve as the inaugural holder of the Chair for a five-year term commencing in September 2017.
The Chair was established by a $3 million donation from the Sisters of Saint Ann in February 2016, representing the largest gift in the College's history, and also one of the largest received by a Catholic theological college in BC. The Endowed Chair memorializes the Congregation's founder, Marie Esther Blondin, now Blessed Marie Anne Blondin.
Professor Olkovich's research agenda responds to a variety of contemporary challenges facing Christian self-understanding in the twenty-first century, including the influence of cultural and religious diversity, evolutionary science, and constitutional democracy on the articulation and evolution of Christian meaning.
As a specialist in political theology, he is particularly interested in exploring the relationships between theological anthropology, ethics, politics and religion in contemporary democratic contexts.
"These highlight not only the range of his interests and his expertise, but also his commitment to interdisciplinary investigation addressing contemporary challenges facing both citizens in general and religious believers in particular," remarked Dr. Peter Meehan, Principal of St. Mark's College.
Professor Olkovich has also served as Director of Pastoral Formation and Field Education at the Faculty of Theology at USMC, where he oversaw the formation of the Faculty's M.Div. students, and the field education cycle for graduate students working in a variety of ministerial and educational contexts.
"All of these aspects of his background - as a teacher, scholar, and program manager - in combination with his robust and enthusiastic personality, will make Professor Nick Olkovich a welcome and strong addition to the College," continued Dr. Meehan.
"Of course, this announcement is the culmination of a very long and complex process involving many faculty and staff at the College, who worked tirelessly to make the endowment and subsequent appointment possible, and the Sisters of Saint Ann, who so generously contributed $3 million to the College to establish the Chair," said Dr. Meehan.
About St. Mark's College at UBC
St. Mark's College is a member of the Community of St. Mark's at UBC, which is comprised of St. Mark's College, Corpus Christi College, and St. Mark's Parish. As the affiliated Catholic Theological College of the University of British Columbia (UBC), St. Mark's College offers a variety of academic programs and continuing education opportunities for Catholics and non-Catholics. Together with Corpus Christi College, St. Mark's College desires to become the centre of excellence for undergraduate and graduate Catholic education in British Columbia.
St. Mark's is committed to promoting an authentic Christian humanism, marked by the pursuit of academic excellence and animated by the joy of searching for, discovering, and communicating truth in every field of knowledge. The College prepares graduates who continually strive to integrate and synthesize faith and reason, women and men who think rigorously, so as to act rightly and serve humanity better.
The College offers programs that are grounded in the Catholic intellectual and moral tradition, including a Bachelor of Arts in Theology and Culture for aspiring Catholic teachers; Master's degrees in Religious Education, Theological Studies, Pastoral Studies and Catholic Educational Leadership; and engaging public lectures and professional development opportunities addressing faith leading to understanding.
Elizabeth Morse, Communications, St. Mark's College at UBC