Lecture Series

Seminars on the Catholic Intellectual Tradition
in Honor of Edmund J. Dobbin, OSA

As a means of encouraging greater appreciation of and deeper reflection on our Catholic intellectual tradition, the Office for Mission and Ministry invites Villanova faculty and graduate students to meet regularly to discuss elements of the tradition.

The series is named in honor of Reverend Edmund J. Dobbin, OSA, 31st President of the University and Professor of Systematic Theology, well known to graduate students of the Washington Theological Union as a contributor to and advocate of the Catholic intellectual tradition.

FALL - 2015

November 11 
Water Is Thicker Than Blood: Adoption, Social Justice
and Catholic Teaching about Families

Darlene Weaver - Duqesne University  

November 16 
Fatherhood at Will:
Philosophical Reflections on Catholic Social Teaching and a Role in Flux

Bernard G. Prusak - Kings College

SPRING - 2016

January 28
Collateral Consequences:
The Impact of Mass Incarceration on Families and Communities

Jill McCorkel - Villanova University

February 11
Gaudium et Spes and Immigrant Families 50 Years Later 
Mary Holper - Boston College

March 15 
Gaudium et Spes and the Family:
A Social Tradition with Room to Grow
Kathryn Getek Soltis - Villanova University



April 17
The Jurisprudence of St. Thomas More:
Its Relationship to the American Legal System

Brian Murray – Temple University Beasley School of Law, (VU - ’11)

April 10

The Form of Happiness:
Aquinas on Infinite Desire in a Finite World

Mary Hirschfeld – Villanova University

March 27
Patristic Sources in Gaudium et Spes
Brian Matz – Carroll College

February 27

Biblical Justice
Peter Spitaler – Villanova University

January 23
Minor Graces: Towards an Augustinian Mundanity
James Wetzel – Villanova University

FALL - 2014

December 12
Letting Truth Be: Augustine, Derrida  and the Postmodern Turn
Jack Caputo, Philosophy – Villanova University

November 14
Augustine and Beauty
Carol Harrison, Augustinian Institute – Villanova University

October 24
Captive Heart: Catholics in the Third Reich and the Anxiety of Persecution
Helena Tomko, Humanities – Villanova University

October 10
Love in Bonaventure
Kevin Hughes, Humanities – Villanova University

September 26
Aquinas and the Beatitudes
William Desmond, Philosophy – Villanova University

September 12
Vatican II:
The Experience, Significant Teachings, Divergent Interpretations, Continuing Hope

Bernard Prusak, Theology & Religious Studies – Villanova University

Edmund J. Dobbin, OSA
Edmund J. Dobbin, OSA


Rev. Edmund Joseph Dobbin, OSA, was born on November 20, 1935, in Brooklyn, New York, one of four sons and a daughter of Edmund H. and Anne V. (Kelly) Dobbin. He was baptized on December 8, 1935 at Saint Anselm Catholic Church, Brooklyn, New York. Later the family moved to Staten Island, New York, where Edmund attended Saint Clare Parish School, from 1941 to 1949, and Augustinian Academy as a day student, from 1949 to 1953.

Following graduation from high school, he was received into the Order as a novice on September 9, 1953, and after a year at Good Counsel Novitiate, New Hamburg, New York, he professed first vows on September 10, 1954. He then went to the Augustinian Collegiate Seminary at St. Mary's Hall, Villanova University, from 1954 until 1958 and there received his BA in Philosophy. He professed solemn vows on September 10, 1957. From 1958 until 1962 he continued his studies at Augustinian College, Washington DC, and received an MA in Theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on February 10, 1962, at the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Washington, DC, by Bishop Phillip Hannan.

Father Dobbin was first assigned to Malvern Preparatory School, Malvern, Pennsylvania, where, from 1962 to 1967, he served as teacher, disciplinarian, and Chairman of the Mathematics Department. During this time he completed an MA in Mathematics and Physics at the Catholic University of America, Washington, DC. In 1967 he received an STL from the Catholic University of America, and attended the University of Louvain, Belgium, where he received an STD in 1971. He returned to the United States that same year and was assigned to Augustinian College in Washington, DC, where he taught Systematic Theology until 1987. Father Dobbin served various terms as a member of the Board of Trustees at Villanova University, and Merrimack College, and was a member of the Provincial Council. In the summer of 1987, Father was assigned to Saint Thomas Monastery and to Villanova University, where he served as Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Associate Professor of Religious Studies. He was elected President of Villanova University in 1988 and held that position until 2006, becoming the longest serving President of the university in its history. During his tenure as President he heightened awareness of the Augustinian character of the University, significantly increased the school’s endowment, and embarked on an expansion of the campus, its facilities and its programs.

After stepping down as President of Villanova, Father remained a member of the Villanova Monastery community and returned to his chosen field as a professor of theology until failing health made it necessary for him to retire from the classroom, which he did with great reluctance. "Teaching was always my first love," he said. "Nothing is more gratifying than being in a classroom and connecting with a student."

Father Dobbin died on March 8, 2015 at the Villanova Monastery at the age of 79, after an illness of several months.