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Biography of Dean Thomas S. Hibbs

Dean Hibbs

Office: Morrison Hall 203
Phone: 254-710-7689
Mailing Address: Honors College, Baylor University / One Bear Place #97181 / Waco, TX 76798-7181

Thomas Hibbs is currently Distinguished Professor of Ethics & Culture and Dean of the Honors College at Baylor University, where he oversees a number of interdisciplinary programs, including the Honors Program, Great Texts Program, and the Baylor Interdisciplinary Core. As dean, Hibbs is involved with student recruitment, enrollment management, development of curricula, and faculty recruitment and development.

With degrees from the University of Dallas and the University of Notre Dame, Hibbs taught at Boston College (BC) for 13 years, where he was full professor and department chair in philosophy. At BC, he also served on the Steering Committee for BC's Initiative for the Future of the Church and on the Sub-Committee on Catholic Sexual Teaching.

In addition to teaching a variety of interdisciplinary courses, Hibbs teaches in the fields of medieval philosophy, contemporary virtue ethics, and philosophy and popular culture. Hibbs' popular BC course on Nihilism in American Culture was featured in a Boston Globe article. In BC's interdisciplinary core curriculum, Perspectives, Hibbs was responsible for introducing texts by African-American authors (Douglass and DuBois) and female authors (Wollstonecraft, Woolf, and Flannery O'Connor). His graduate courses have been cross-listed in the departments of religion and political science.

Hibbs's books include:

Dialectic and Narrative in Aquinas: An Interpretation of the Summa Contra Gentiles (University of Notre Dame Press, 1995)

Virtue's Splendor: Wisdom, Prudence, and the Human Good (Fordham University Press, 2001)

Shows About Nothing (Spence Publications, 2000)

Recent scholarly publications include:

"Aquinas, Ethics, and the Philosophy of Religion: Metaphysics and Practice" (Indiana University Press, 2007)

"Arts of Darkness: American Noir and The Lost Code of Redemption" (Spence Publications, 2007)

"The Fearful Thoughts of Mortals: Aquinas on Conflict, Self-Knowledge,a nd the Virtues of Practical Reasoning," Intractable Disputes about the Natural Law: Alasdair MacIntyre and Critics, edited by Lawrence Cunningham, University of Notre Dame Press, 2009), pp. 273-312.

"Josef Pieper and the Ethics of Virtue," in A Cosmopolitan Hermit: Modernity and Tradition in the Philosophy of Josef Pieper, edited by Bernard Schumacher (The Catholic University of America Press, 2009), pp. 116-140.

"Creation, Gratitude, and Virtue," in the Journal of Law, Philosophy and Culture Vol. III, No. N (2009), pp. 101-114.

"W.E.B. DuBois and Socratic Questioning," in Expositions: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities Volume 2.1 2008, pp. 35-58.

He also has written on film, culture, books and higher education in Books and Culture, Christianity Today, First Things, New Atlantis, The Dallas Morning News, The National Review, The Weekly Standard, and The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Read book and film reviews by Hibbs at

Called upon regularly to comment on film and popular culture, Hibbs has made more than 100 appearances on radio, including nationally syndicated NPR shows such as "The Connection," "On the Media" and "All Things Considered," as well as local NPR stations in Boston, Massachusetts; Ann Arbor, Michigan; Dallas, Texas; and Rochester, New York.

Hibbs speaks at American high schools and universities and also at conferences in Europe. His most recent speaking engagements include:

  • April 2005: he delivered the Annual Anselm Lecture at St. Anselm's College and was a plenary speaker at a Lilly-sponsored conference on vocation and higher education at Mount St. Mary's University;
  • June 2005: he led a five-day faculty seminar at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Catholicism and culture;
  • October 2006: he delivered the third annual Thomist International Lecture in Palermo, Sicily, on "Creation, Nihilism, and Natural Law in Aquinas";
  • March 2007: he delivered the annual Aquinas lecture at the Dominican School of Theology in Berkeley, California;
  • September 2008: he was a featured speaker on liberal education at DePauw University;
  • December 2008: he was a panelist at the Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association at a session of the International St. Thomas Society;
  • January 2009: he delivered the Aquinas Lecture and received the Aquinas Medal at the University of Dallas; and
  • February 2009: he was a featured speaker at a conference at Brigham Young University on "Inquiry, Teaching, and Learning in Religiously Affiliated Colleges and Universities."
  • Summer 2011-Summer 2014: he serves as a Faculty Mentor for the Lilly Graduate Fellows Program.

Hibbs is nearly finished with two books, one on Pascal entitled "Divine Irony" and another on Christian liberal education. He is also working on a book on 20th-century aesthetics that brings the writing of Jacques Maritain into conversation with 20th-century novel, painting, film, and poetry.

A highlight of his career, Hibbs delivered the commencement address in June 2008 (on the 30th anniversary of his own graduation) at his alma mater, DeMatha Catholic High School, in Hyattsville, Maryland.

His lectures have been protested by nihilists at Boston University and by communists in Sicily. Although he prefers the heat of Texas to the endless winter of New England, Hibbs remains a faithful citizen of Red Sox Nation.