Philosophy professor Michael J. Sweeney was named the Bishop Fenwick Teacher of the Year by the Xavier chapter of Alpha Sigma Nu, the Jesuit honor society.
A resident of Montgomery, Sweeney has been teaching at Xavier since 1995. He supplemented a doctorate in philosophy (The Catholic University of America) with degrees in medieval studies (Toronto) and theology (Rome). He regularly teaches Theory of Knowledge, The Philosophy of Thomas Aquinas, Medieval Christian Philosophy, Medieval Islamic and Jewish Philosophy, Medieval Political Philosophy, and Business Ethics. His publications are principally in the area of medieval philosophy. A Fulbright grant allowed Sweeney to teach in Moscow during the 1998-1999 academic year.
The Bishop Fenwick Teacher of the Year Award is given to a professor who has a profound impact on a wide range of students. It was presented by Stacy Skuza, president of Alpha Sigma Nu.
"While most professions do not require that one teach, I think that philosophy is different," Sweeney says. "A philosopher never outgrows the issues to which undergraduates should be introduced, or the questions that undergraduates raise, or the books that form the basis of undergraduate philosophy courses. Teaching philosophy is doing philosophy, and so, while I am grateful for this honor, I am even more grateful for the opportunity to be a philosopher."
Alpha Sigma Nu was established at Xavier in 1939. ASN has awarded the Bishop Fenwick Teacher of the Year Award since 1980. Since then, 30 exemplary Xavier professors have been honored.