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Brother Mickey McGrath first visual artist to receive Marianist Award

The University will honor Brother Mickey McGrath, OSFS, with the Marianist Award, presented annually to Catholics who have made significant contributions to the Catholic intellectual tradition. McGrath will receive the award March 1, in conjunction with his visit to campus to participate in the Marian Forum on Feb. 28. 

McGrath is the first visual artist to receive the University’s Marianist Award. His work reflects the rich diversity of faith rooted in the Incarnation, God's entrance into human history through Jesus Christ. His latest book, Madonnas of Color, provides an example of his contributions. 

“Brother Mickey McGrath's art making gives expression to his faith in the continued presence of Christ in our world,” said Sandra Yocum, University Professor of Faith and Culture. “His vivid and colorful images give witness to the beauty and wonder in our world, especially in the lives and works of holy people from Mary, the Mother of God, to Dorothy Day and Thea Bowman.” 

All members of the campus community are invited to attend the following events:

  • 3:30-4:30 p.m. Feb. 28, Roesch Library Gathering Place; McGrath and Darden Bradshaw, associate professor in art and design, will engage in an interview-style discussion on the role of art in the healing of communities as part of the Marian Forum. The annual forum provides opportunities for the UD community, the global Marianist community and the International Marian Research Institute to reflect more deeply about Mary and the wide range of topics related to Mariology. The discussion can also be viewed by Zoom; click here to register to view the discussion online
  • 5 p.m. March 1, Kennedy Union east ballroom: Marianist Award lecture: "Albert, Marian, and Me: How a Scientist, an Opera Singer, and a Houseplant Led me to the Cosmic Christ." A public reception will follow in the west ballroom. 

McGrath will also coordinate a community mural painting project the week of Feb. 28-March 3. All faculty, staff and students can visit the Department of Art and Design on the second floor of Fitz Hall to contribute to McGrath’s large canvas artwork honoring the University’s Marianist charism. No painting experience is required to join the project, which will remain on campus as a permanent reminder of McGrath’s contributions to Catholic intellectual traditions.  

Painting times will be 9 a.m.-noon Tuesday, Feb. 28; Wednesday, March 1 and Friday, March 3; and 9 a.m.-noon and 4-6 p.m. Thursday, March 2. Other times to contribute may be arranged by contacting the Office of the University Professor of Faith and Culture.  

This is the first time since 2020 the University has presented the Marianist Award to a Catholic intellectual. The award was not presented in 2021 or 2022 due to pandemic protocols, and Yocum said the award’s revival helps the University continue to deepen its engagement with Catholic scholarship. 

“Recent recipients include Black Catholic theologian, Shawn Copeland, who called us to a deeper reflections on racism in light of the salvific power of the crucified Christ; astrophysicist Brother Guy Consolmagno, S.J., who invited us to reflect on the wonders of the universe; and law professor and theologian, Cathleen Kaveny, who asked us to consider law's significance in Catholic intellectual tradition,” Yocum said. “Taken together, Marianist Award recipients remind us of the breadth and depth of Catholic intellectual traditions that animate our work here at the University of Dayton.”

For more information and to offer nominations for potential future Marianist Award recipients, email

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