Mary Ann Spearin Chair in Catholic Theology

The Mary Ann Spearin Chair in Catholic Theology recognizes a distinguished scholar who has made significant contributions to theological explorations related to U.S. Catholicism.

The Chair's major responsibilities involve teaching doctoral seminars and directing student research in the Ph.D. program in Theology which has as its focus, the U.S. Catholic Experience. The Chair in Catholic Theology is the culmination of many years of planning that revolved around the development of the Ph.D. Program in Catholic Theology at the University of Dayton. The chair helps to fulfill a vision of a Department of Religious Studies that defines UD as a national leader in Catholic Higher Education. Dr. William Portier, formerly the Henry J. Knott Professor of Theology, Mount Saint Mary’s College, Emmitsburg, Maryland, is the first to hold the Mary Ann Spearin Chair in Catholic Theology.

About Mary Ann Spearin

Mary Ann Spearin has been a member of the UD community since the early 1950s. In fact, 2004 marked Mary Ann's fifty-year reunion at the University of Dayton.

In 1954, Mary Ann received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing Education from the University. She then began her nursing career at St. Elizabeth Medical Center in Dayton and worked there until the hospital closed its doors fifty-seven years later. During her time at St. E's, she served as a staff nurse as well as an instructor in the hospital's School of Nursing.

The Spearin family has long held a devout love of the Catholic faith with strong ties to the Marianist tradition. Mary Ann is proud to extend the legacy of faith started by her grandmother and parents through the Mary Ann Spearin Chair in Catholic Theology.

About the Current Chair

William L. Portier, Ph.D. is a Distinguished Professor of Religious Studies. He joined the faculty in the fall of 2003. Dr. Portier received his Ph.D. in theology from the University of St. Michael's College in Toronto in 1980. He taught at Mount Saint Mary's College in Emmitsburg, Maryland for twenty four years and helped to build that school's nationally recognized core curriculum. Dr. Portier has written two books, edited or co-edited three others, and contributed nearly one hundred articles and reviews in the areas of theology, U.S. Catholic history, and Catholic higher education.