Board of Trustees

Dan O'Brien, Chair

Chairman of the Board of Trustees

Dan O'Brien is a retired Senior Vice-President of Ethics and Church Relations for Ascension Health (1991-2019) and is currently a member of the Ascension Sponsor. He received his PhD with honors in health care ethics from St. Louis University in 2000, his MA in Systematic Theology from Aquinas Institute in 1988, and his BA in Philosophy from Regis University in 1986. He also studied numerous specialties at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas (the “Angelicum”) in Rome, Italy, in 1988-89. He has has been a Trustee since 2020 and has served as Chair of the Aquinas board since August 2021.

Aquinas Institute Mission:

Impelled by the Catholic faith and the Dominican mission, Aquinas Institute of Theology educates men and women to preach, to teach, to minister and to lead. 

Barb Thibodeau, Vice-Chair

Vice-Chair of the Board of Trustees

The CFO and member of the Executive Team for the Congregation of the Mission Western Province, also known as the Vincetians, Barb collaborates with the priests, brothers, ministries, committee members and others in the western half of the United States, Kenya, Italy and elsewhere. She has served on the Aquinas board since 2017 and was elected Vice-Chair in August 2022.

 

George Avila

Member, Board of Trustees

A 2014 graduate of the MA in Health Care Mission program at Aquinas Institute, George is the System Vice President, Change Integration, CHRISTUS Health in Irving, Texas. CHRISTUS is an international Catholic health care system with ministry operations in the United States, Mexico, Chile and Colombia. He recently co-chaired Aquinas Institute's  28th Annual Great Preacher Award Committee and has served on the Aquinas board since July 2022.

 

Jennie Weiss Block, OP

Member, Board of Trustees

A Dominican laywoman and a practical theologian, Dr. Block is a Senior Advisor on Health and Policy at Partners in Health and is the author of Copious Hosting: A Theology of Access for People with Disabilities and Paul Farmer: Servant to the Poor. She resides in Miami, Florida. She has served on the Aquinas board since 2015.

 

 

Fr. Wayne Cavalier, OP

Member, Board of Trustees

Regent of Studies for the Dominican Province of St. Martin de Porres and a member of the Provincial Council, Fr. Cavalier has served as the founding Director of the Congar Institute for Ministry Development since 2005, and he is the Doctorate of Ministry Program Director and Associate Professor of Practical Theology at Oblate School of Theology in San Antonio, Texas. He has served on the Aquinas board since July 2022.

 

 

Fr. Augustine DeArmond, OP

Member, Board of Trustees

A 2013 graduate of Aquinas Institute, Fr. DeArmond is a member of the Province of St. Martin de Porres. A Louisiana native, he currently serves as Syndic (Finance Officer) of his province and as Pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in New Orleans. "Fr. Auggie" also serves as a Judge in the Tribunal for the Catholic Diocese of Memphis, Tennessee. He has served on the Aquinas board since July 2022.

Angie Doerr

Member, Board of Trustees

A St. Louis native and 2006 graduate of the MAPS program at Aquinas, Angie served as Director of Religious Education at St. Francis Xavier College Church for more than 10 years. She continues to actively volunteer at multiple Catholic organizations in St. Louis. She has served on the Aquinas board since 2020.

Dan Foley

Member, Board of Trustees

Senior Vice-President - Financial Advisor, Consulting Group for RBC Wealth Management in Chicago, Dan is a loyal alum of Fenwick, the Dominican sponsored high school in Oak Park, IL. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2021.

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S. Craig George

Member, Board of Trustees

A St. Louis native and 2009 graduate with an MA in Theology, Craig is retired from a 30-year career in International Energy engineering and senior executive roles. He has leadership advisory roles in his parish, in the Catholic Library Association, at Missouri S&T, several energy companies and Aquinas Institute. His book, On God's Path: The Unfolding Story of Humanity, was published in 2010. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2017.

 

Steve Givens

Member, Board of Trustees

A 2014 graduate of the Spiritual Direction program at Aquinas, Steve Givens is a retreat and spiritual director, a widely published writer on issues of faith and spirituality and a retired administrator of Washington University, where he served as Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief of Staff. He serves as Executive Director of Bridges Foundation, which offers the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola in the greater St. Louis region. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2016.

 

 

 

Fr. Samuel Hakeem, OP

Member, Board of Trustees

A 2017 graduate of Aquinas Institute with an MA in Theology and a Master of Divinity (MDiv), Fr. Hakeem is the Promoter of Vocations for the Dominican Friars, Province of St. Albert the Great. He currently resides in Chicago, Ilinois. He has served on the board of Aquinas since 2019.

Mary L. Hill

Member, Board of Trustees

A 2014 graduate of the MA in Health Care Mission program at Aquinas, Mary L. Hill serves as Chief Mission Officer at Avera Health. She recently co-chaired Aquinas' 28th Annual Great Preacher Award Committee and has served on the Aquinas board since 2021.

 

Lucie Huger

Member, Board of Trustees

An attorney who regularly advises non-profit clients, Lucie serves as an outside general counsel to religious, charitable and educational institutions, providing practical and strategic advice. She has served on the Aquinas board since 2019.

The Very Rev. James Marchionda, OP

Member, Board of Trustees

A graduate of the MA in Theology at Aquinas Institute, Fr. Marchionda serves as Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of St. Albert the Great in the United States. He is a Dominican priest, preacher, composer, conductor, singer, speaker and woodwind instrumentalist. He also serves on the Board of Trustees of Fenwick High School, a Dominican college preparatory school in Oak Park, Illinois, as well as on the Board of Founders of la Universidad Central de Bayamon in Bayamon, Puerto Rico. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2015.

 

Denis McCusker

Member, Board of Trustees

Denis is a Missouri attorney at Doster Ullon & Boyle LLC, serving the greater St. Louis community in international law, corporate finance and Securities and Audit Committee counseling cases. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2020.

The Very Rev. Roberto Merced, OP

Member, Board of Trustees

A 2006 graduate of the Master of Divinity (MDiv) program at Aquinas Institute, Fr. Merced serves as Prior Provincial of the Dominican Province of St. Martin de Porres, United States. After ordination to the priesthood in 2005, his first assignment was as the Parochial Vicar of St. Anthony of Padua parish in New Orleans, Louisiana (2006-2009). He then became the Parochial Vicar at St. Edward parish in Dallas, Texas (2009-2011). More recently, he served at Holy Ghost parish as Parochial Vicar (2011-2012) and Pastor (2012-2022). He has served on the Aquinas board since July of 2022.

Brian Reardon

Member, Board of Trustees

Vice-President of Communications and Marketing for Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA), Brian previously served for 14 years in various communications and advocacy roles with Springfield, Illinois based Hospital Sisters Health Systems. He has also served in public relations roles with the state of Illinois and for Illinois political candidates. He began his career as a radio reporter in Chicago, Illinois. He has been a member of the Aquinas board since 2021.

 

Fr. Edward Ruane, OP

 

Member, Board of Trustees

A Dominican priest for more than 50 years, Fr. Ruane has served as a teacher, parish priest and administrator within the Province of St. Albert the Great and the Order. He received his Doctor of Ministry in Preaching from Wartburg Lutheran Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He was instrumental in developing the Doctor of Ministry in Preaching program at Aquinas Institute and was a teacher of preaching at Aquinas. He is now the Academic Advisor to the Dominican students and director of their pastoral formation. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2019.

 

Harry (John) Sauer

Member, Board of Trustees
 

Retired after a career in financial services, with some time as a partner at Edward Jones, John Sauer is a former board member of Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, where he received the Pope Leo XIII Award. Founding member of the St. John Apostle of Charity Society in Jefferson City, Missouri, he established the John and Katie Sauer Endowed Scholarships for seminarians. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2021.
 

 

Fr. Kevin Stephens, OP, SSD

Member, Board of Trustees

A 2008 graduate of the Master of Divinity and MA in Theology programs at Aquinas Institute, Fr. Stephens is a Regent of Studies, Dominican Friar of the Province of St. Albert the Great (Central). His research interests include Bible interpretation, genre studies of ancient texts and technology resources for biblical research. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2019.

 

 

Fr. John Rogers Vien

Member, Board of Trustees

A St. Louis native, Fr. John is a priest in the Archdiocese of St. Louis, where he has served for 30 years in parish ministry. Fr. John has served many parishes as pastor, including the parishes of St. Pius V and Mary, Queen of Peace, and he is currently the pastor of St. Margaret of Scotland in St. Louis. He was honored with Aquinas Institute's Great Preacher Award in 2016. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2018.

 

 

 

Fr. Mark Wedig, OP

Member, Board of Trustees

Since 2019, Fr. Mark has served as the 10th President of Aquinas Institute of Theology. He is a Dominican friar of the Province of St. Martin de Porres (Southern). For more than 25 years, he has ministered in Catholic higher education, serving much of it at Barry University in Miami Shores, Florida, where he was a professor of Theology, Chair of the Department of Theology and Philosophy and Associate Dean for Graduate Students in the College of Arts and Sciences.

 

 

 

Dave Wenzel

Member, Board of Trustees

A 2004 graduate of the MA in Theology program at Aquinas Institute, Dave is a retired finance and strategy executive and corporate director who has served both small enterprises and multinational corporations, including Edward Jones, Ralston Purina, Agribands, Ralcorp Holdings, Covidien and Vi-Jon. He is also the former Executive Director of Catholic Social Services of the Belleville Diocese. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2014, as chair and as trustee..

 

Carolyn Wright

Faculty Representative, Board of Trustees

A member of the faculty at Aquinas Institute teaching in areas of ministerial formation and Christian spirituality, Dr. Wright also serves as the Director of Theological Field Education and the Director of the Master of Arts in Pastoral Ministry - Catechesis of the Good Shepherd degree program. She has served on the Aquinas board as the Faculty Representative since August 2022.

In Medio Ecclesiae

Preaching in Word and Deed through the Middle Way of St. Dominic

Aquinas Institute of Theology is a close-knit community of Dominican friars and lay people, who, in their shared study, pursue the Truth of Jesus Christ. The school offers a unique Catholic and Dominican approach to theological education that is in service to the Church and its preaching mission, building on an understanding of St. Thomas Aquinas that is expansive, comprehensive and all-encompassing.

Brian Yanofchick

Member, Board of Trustees

The Chief Sponsorship Officer for assigned markets within the Bon Secours Mercy Health System (BSMH), Brain also serves on the board of Roper St. Francis Health System, a joint venture between the BSMH and the Medical Society of South Carolina in Charleston, South Carolina. He has served on the Aquinas board since 2021.