University of St. Thomas President Dr. Robert Ivany
took time to discuss St. Thomas on Joe Patch IV’s radio show “Spirit and Truth Live” on Radio Maria on Aug. 24. Listen to the interview on the Radio Maria website
to hear them discuss how UST helps create and nurture the whole individual.
Patch, a UST alumnus in philosophy and theology, contacted Ivany to highlight UST’s authentically Catholic identity, programs, partnerships and community awareness. Patch and Ivany discussed the University’s approach to teaching courses that embody a Catholic intellectual perspective while ensuring students receive a whole, mind and spirit, education.
“St. Thomas is very clear in its vision of what it is trying to do and I think a liberal arts education, a well-rounded, very balanced education, creates a solid foundation for business, medicine or engineering,” Patch said.
Ivany, who is beginning his ninth year as University president, outlined UST’s unique approach to education with regard to core programs, both basic Catholic liberal arts and synthesis courses, which integrate the humanities, critical thinking and one’s specific area of study.
“As the only Catholic university in this very dynamic city, we have the obligation to carefully pick and choose which programs we implement,” Ivany said. “We feel we have an obligation because the city of Houston and the Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston are growing.”
Courses such as the Freshman Symposium, allow small groups of students to delve into the UST culture, explore the mission of the Congregation of St. Basil and examine issues they will face every day. Ivany said courses at UST are taught by primarily full time faculty, 92 percent of whom have a terminal degree, who make every effort to engage and challenge students.
Ivany also commented that the Campus Chaplain and Director of Campus Ministry Rev. Mike Buentello, CSB, coordinates numerous vibrant spiritual programs for students. The Knights of Columbus, Celts for Life and FOCUS missionaries are very active on campus. Father Mike and the Basilian Fathers also lead several retreats each year and conduct three Masses daily. Confessions are also heard daily, Monday through Saturday, and upon request.
“We’re very blessed that the Basilian Fathers and the Franciscan Sisters have created an environment where a Catholic identity doesn’t just persist but flourishes,” Ivany said. “When you can integrate faith and reason, you have a strong liberal arts foundation and the ability to reach into various professions, you have a powerful combination. We’re blessed with a wonderful legacy, a committed faculty and a great location.”
Patch, who labels UST as authentically Catholic and a gem, appreciates his UST education because he said he developed critical thinking skills and a moral foundation that are rare and valuable in today’s job market.
“I am more grateful daily for having had the opportunity to study at UST and receive such a fine education that has served me so well as a husband, father and business owner,” Patch said. “The way I have been trained to critically think, to understand objective truth and to know that faith and reason can never contradict, I attribute to my education.”
To learn more about UST’s mission and values, visit the website
for information about the Basilian’s hallmark and legacy, UST facts and stats and student and faculty success stories.