Donor Spotlight: Q&A Orin Johnson and Erin Hammond

Donor Spotlight: Q&A Orin Johnson and Erin Hammond

Orin and Erin are both graduates of Aquinas Institute.  Orin graduated in 2008 with a Master of Arts in Theology and Erin graduated in 2011 with a Master of Divinity, Master of Arts in Theology, and a Graduate Certificate in Thomistic Studies.  Orin is a liturgical musician, composer, conductor, and speaker.  This July, he begins a new role as Director of Music and Liturgy at St. Margaret of Scotland parish in the Shaw neighborhood where Erin and Orin have lived since they wed in 2004.  After working in retreat ministry and Young Adult, Campus, and Youth Ministry, Erin became Registrar at Aquinas in 2012.  In 2020, Erin moved into her current role as Coordinator of Development.

Names: Orin Johnson and Erin Hammond

Hometown: Tyler, Minnesota (Orin) and St. Louis (Erin)

Hobbies: Apple Computers, watching baseball (Orin)  Travel, working on our old house, calligraphy, reading (Erin)


AI: What made you decide to give your first gift to Aquinas?

OJ & EH: We knew that there is a bit of an expectation to give to your alma mater.  When Orin graduated, he was on the Alumni Association Board and was involved in the alumni phone-a-thon, so of course we made a gift.  Additionally, we were both so grateful for the education and formation we received at Aquinas and wanted to help other ministers who would someday be our colleagues in ministry to be well educated and well formed. 

AI: Why do you enjoy giving to Aquinas?

OJ & EH: We were giving to Aquinas even before Erin made the switch to working in Development!  We have been involved in the Aquinas community since 2006 and have enjoyed getting to know and collaborate with so many amazing people.  We both feel strongly that the Church and the world need what a Dominican education offers: the search for Truth, an ability to read the other side, learning to make distinctions, the importance of community, sharing the fruits of our prayer and contemplation, and preparing preachers. 

AI: What do you hope to accomplish through your philanthropic endeavors?

OJ & EH: We hope to offer those interested an accessible path to studying theology and ministry and the best possible formation in order that they then can help evangelize and strengthen the Church. 

AI: If you were talking to someone else about giving to Aquinas Institute what would you tell them?

OJ & EH: We need well formed, well educated men and women to serve the church and the world.  We need lay people to know how to work well with those those who are ordained and vice versa.  We need parishes and ministry programs that have professionally trained staff.  We need preachers that can preach effectively.  That is what your gift to Aquinas can help create. 

AI: What other organizations or causes do you support - either through your gifts of money or time?

OJ & EH: We give to Catholic Relief Services and make gifts to religious communities and ministries with which we have a personal connection.  We have both given ten years of time, talent, and treasure to Youth Sing Praise, a musical theater camp for high school students that is housed, well, in our house.  We give to the Saint Louis Chamber Chorus, Stray Rescue, the Missouri Botanical Garden, and the St Louis Public Library, St Louis Public Radio, Public Television - organizations that bring education and art to our community.  We are not in a place where we can offer major gifts, but we understand that every gift does help. 

Aquinas Institute is blessed by the support we receive from Orin and Erin, as well as from all of our alumni, Board of Trustees, volunteers, donors, and friends.