BY: ALEXANDER SANTANA
According to a news release from the Office of Marketing and Communications Michael Novak died February 17, 2017, at the age of 83. Novak was a distinguished theologian and philosopher, as well as a prolific author. Last year, Novak joined The Arthur and Carlyse Ciocca Center for Principled Entrepreneurship as a distinguished visiting fellow. He taught Special Topics in Management and gave a series of lectures on campus on the topic of human ecology.
Novak studied at Catholic University in 1958 and 1959 and lectured at the University several times prior to last year’s appointment.
“Unlike some scholars, Michael Novak made it a point to reflect on new and different topics, always with a fresh and dynamic perspective,” said Catholic University President John Garvey in a press release. “We are immensely grateful that he could end his academic life as he began it, as a member of our community.”
In a 2014 address at Catholic University Novak described the University as “a sacred place” and talked with fondness about the faculty members he had studied under, Upon his appointment to Catholic University as a visiting fellow, Novak commented on the University’s commitment to promote Catholic Social Doctrine as a means to human flourishing. “If, as a teacher you want to reach the 1.2 billion Catholics in the world, many of whom are poor, where better to be?”
Novak authored more than 50 books and one particular book, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism changed the public conversation about the benefits of capitalism and he was awarded the Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1994 for his achievements in literature. He served as Ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1981 and 1982 under President Ronald Reagan. He considered his greatest honor to be that Pope John Paul II called him a friend, as did Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and President Ronald Reagan.
He taught at Harvard, Stanford, Syracuse, Notre Dame, and Ave Maria universities and was awarded 27 honorary degrees, including one from Catholic University in 2015.