By Clare Venegas
For the Deans, whose daughter Anna is a doctoral student in UD’s Institute of Philosophic Studies (IPS), the pursuit of philosophy at its highest academic levels is a paramount task for today’s generation.
“There was a time when we could speak a common language as Americans,” said Maria Dean. “But when you remove things that are true, good and beautiful in our educational system, you lose what is most important in the world. We have become so polarized in our thinking to the point where we can’t even find common ground.”
Maria continued: “The IPS is a demanding course, and not everyone's going to study it. But we need future leaders who are like Anna and her peers, who can rebuild our institutions in education and in the think tanks.”
It was with this generation-changing mindset that the Deans made a gift of $100,000 to the Institute of Philosophic Studies. The scholarship is intended to help alleviate some of the day-to-day financial pressures that IPS students may face as they pursue a degree.
“We are committed to find institutions, like UD, that are committed to preserving the best of the past,” Maria said. “We are so passionate about the IPS program because the only way to understand everything that is going on today, is to know our past.”
Maria recalled her daughter’s journey to UD: “Anna became very disillusioned with the culture she encountered in her undergraduate studies. When she arrived at UD, she realized that she had never had an intellectual mentor/guide who philosophically approached the world the way she did. In the first year she was there, she would come home and say, ‘You wouldn’t believe!’ and tell me about Dr. Parens, Dr. Hanssen, Dr. Miller and Dr. Dougherty, who has become her personal mentor.”
The Deans, who live in Ohio, said it was through their involvement with a number of local Catholic organizations that they learned about UD’s IPS program. As soon as Anna started looking into the IPS, she fell in love with it, especially the interdisciplinary core.
“The only way we have a hope of changing hearts and minds,” Maria said, “is to train teachers in the best of Western civilization, to reclaim the truths of the past and the truths of our Church. We found these core values at UD and in its teachers.”
As parents of a current UD student, the Deans hope their gift will encourage other parents to support authentically Catholic institutions like UD that are committed to forming students in the best of Western tradition so that they can challenge the progressive ideologies regaining strength in today’s culture.
“We are confronting the question of what kind of world your grandchildren are going to live in,” Maria said plainly. “If you care about the future, we all need to support institutions that are taking a long view, that are committed to preserving the best of the past so we can reclaim our institutions.”
To learn more about giving opportunities that advance UD’s mission, please visit udallas.edu/offices/advancement/where-to-give or contact Assistant Vice President for Development Kris Muñoz Vetter at firstname.lastname@example.org.