Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta


Phillip Thompson Named Aquinas Center Director

Published May 15, 2008

“This position is a very exciting one for me because of the vital mission of the Aquinas Center as a nexus for exploring and celebrating the intellectual riches and moral traditions of the Catholic Church,” said Thompson.

The center serves as a Catholic scholarly presence, ecumenical in spirit, for the benefit of Emory University, the archdiocese and the region.

A native of Atlanta and member of St. Peter Chanel Church in Roswell, Thompson has served since 2005 as director of the Leadership Program in Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Previously he was Patricia A. Hayes Professor of Ethics and Director of the Center for Ethics and Leadership at St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas.

His undergraduate study was completed at Vanderbilt University, where he graduated in 1981 with a bachelor of arts in history and political science. He received a law degree from the University of Georgia in 1984 and worked as an attorney for nine years, including as managing partner with Towery, Thompson, Gulliver and Bunch, P.C., of Atlanta.

He earned a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1999 and an L.L.M. in Health Law from DePaul University in 2000. He has published in a variety of journals, and his book, “Between Science and Religion: How Catholic Intellectuals Engaged Science and Technology in the Twentieth Century,” is forthcoming from Rowman and Littlefield.

Joe Foltz, chair of the search committee, said Thompson’s background in Catholic education and in institutional management and programs were strengths for his candidacy.

“At this time in the evolution of the (Aquinas) Center, Phil’s dedication to Catholic intellectual life and his interest and availability to collaborate across the university with faculty, administration and students as well as the constituencies of the archdiocese made him a compelling candidate,” said Foltz.

The Aquinas Center traces its roots to 1984, when the Dominicans of the Southern Province established a study center for novices near Emory. In 1987 the Center adopted its present name and developed a closer relationship with Emory. The Aquinas Center permanently endows a professorship at Emory, provides graduate-level fellowships, supports the Catholic Studies Minor, and sponsors visiting Dominican scholars at Emory.

In metro Atlanta, the Aquinas Center sponsors or co-sponsors a range of activities, including Lifelong Learning courses, lectures, days of reflection, poetry workshops and dramatic events. This year, the Aquinas Center attracted almost 1,200 to nearly 20 events between August and May. This fall the Aquinas Center and Emory’s Center for the Study of Law and Religion will sponsor the Currie Lecture in Law in Religion to be given by Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory.

“Given the large number of Catholic students at Emory, the burgeoning archdiocese, and the religious diversity of Atlanta, the mission of the Aquinas Center is increasingly important,” said Dana Greene, outgoing executive director. “Phil Thompson’s experience and education have prepared him well to take up this significant work.”

For more information about Phillip Thompson or the activities of the Aquinas Center, contact