St. Augustine Lecture Series
- Steve Burton, Ralph Martin, Robert Coughlin | 2023
- Fr. Bill Gabriel, O.S.A. | 2022
- Fr. Bryan Herir | 2021
- Dr. Crystal Kuykendall | 2020
- Rev. Raymond Dlugos, O.S.A. | 2019
- Grace Cotter Regan | 2018
- Dr. Steven DiSalvo | 2017
- Major General Charles W. Whittington, Jr. | 2016
- Brian Montgomery | 2015
Austin Prep was honored to welcome Steve Burton of WBZ / CBS News Boston to campus on March 7th, 2023 to speak to the school community. Mr. Burton detailed his experiences in athletics, sportscasting, and raising a family, and conveyed to students the importance of hard work while being a person of great faith and character. An important theme within his message was, "Learn how to draw a crowd, then learn how to withdraw from a crowd, when the crowd isn't going to do you any good."
Mr. Burton invited students to take part in a mock live report before concluding the presentation by answering questions from a student panel. Mr. Burton left students with this final tip: "Practice when everyone else is practicing. Then practice when everyone else is sleeping."
Austin Prep welcomed former Suffolk County District Attorney Ralph Martin to campus Tuesday, March 21st to speak to the school community. Mr. Martin – whose career also included time as Northeastern University's general counsel and as managing partner of the Boston law office of Bingham McCutchen – detailed the continuum of experiences that helped shape his life, including the influence of his 3rd grade teacher, his father, mentors in the law enforcement field, and even the Bloody Sunday March in Selma, Alabama in 1965.
“I’ve always tried to take a minimalistic approach to being a lawyer, and enjoyed wrestling with concepts that don’t have precise answers,” Mr. Martin said. “It is important to be comfortable in unclear and ambiguous circumstances, and try to help others understand where the truth is and where our commonality is.”
On Wednesday, March 29th, Austin Prep welcomed former Massachusetts State Representative, and current real estate and life sciences executive Robert Coughlin to campus to speak to the school community. The theme of Mr. Coughlin’s lecture was the “State of Possibility” which focused on his efforts to attract companies in the life sciences and biotechnology to establish their headquarters in Massachusetts. He related his efforts to the student community by challenging students to imagine new possibilities.
Mr. Coughlin's life work was framed by the impact of his unborn son being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. While a three-term State Representative to the 11th Norfolk district, Mr. Coughlin used that news to pivot to a life of advocacy to find a cure for the disease. It led Mr. Coughlin to become involved in the efforts of Boston Children’s Hospital to find a cure for cystic fibrosis, as well as a career in life science related legislation.
Mr. Coughlin served as President and CEO of the Massachusetts Biotechnology Council, the leading trade association and policy advocacy group in New England. Before joining MassBio, he served as the Undersecretary of Economic Development within Governor Deval Patrick's administration, where he prioritized both healthcare and economic development issues and was a strong advocate for the life sciences industry in Massachusetts.
He is currently the Managing Director of the JLL’s Life Sciences industry practice. The firm works closely with Biotech companies as a partner who identify opportunities in real estate assets so they can focus on research, development and solving unmet medical needs for patients.
Fr. Bill Gabriel, O.S.A., an Augustinian priest and Associate Pastor for the St. Thomas of Villanova Parish – and also one of the youngest Augustinians at the University – added perspective and context to Austin Prep’s shared theme for the 2021-22 academic year as this year’s St. Augustine Lecturer. To view photos from the event click here.
The event featured a welcome from School-Wide Student Body President Patricia Bibeau ‘22 and Dr. Hickey with a student panel participating in a question and answer segment with Fr. Gabriel at the conclusion of his lecture.
The St. Augustine Lecture Series is a hallmark of the Austin Prep experience, designed to enrich the intellectual life of the school community by exposing students to accomplished individuals who share their experiences and lessons learned in life.
Fr. Gabriel drew connections between Austin Prep’s theme for the 2021-22 year from St. John’s Gospel “Love one another as I have loved you,” and the central Augustinian concept of the Spirit of God piercing our hearts, calling us to continued growth in faith, hope and love.
“How has Christ pierced our hearts?” Fr. Gabriel asked those in attendance. “He has done so in three ways, through forgiveness, sacrifice, and resiliency.”
“For us to truly love one another, our love must be forgiving, sacrificial, and resilient until the very end.”
Fr. Gabriel also reflected on what connects Austin Prep with other Augustinian communities, such as his current home of Villanova.
"Augustinian communities challenge each other to greatness. Rethinking and re-evaluating behavior is a part of our role together.”
Fr. Bryan Hehir, a Roman Catholic priest, theologian, and teacher of ethics, added perspective and context to Austin Prep’s shared theme for the 2020-21 academic year, the words of Jesus from St. John’s Gospel, “I pray that they all may be one.”
“That phrase has stood before us, down through the centuries,” Fr. Hehir stated. “And because we are human and imperfect, unfortunately the phrase is still an aspiration. It’s what we hope to be. An aspiration, a mandate, a command, but unfulfilled.”
Fr. Hehir drew broader parallels by taking the school’s theme – a religious phrase – and relocating it to a secular setting, in this case, our own country. He referred to the traditional motto of the United States, E pluribus unim – Latin for “Out of many, one” – and how we use it as a beacon to guide us through difficulties we currently face, including challenges relating to race, immigration, ethnicity and religion.
“Great ideas usually are so rich they are always a step ahead of us. We grow into them. We violate them, we get up, and we start again,” Fr. Hehir said. “Just like ‘I pray that they all may be one’ is an aspiration, E pluribus unim is also an aspiration."
Fr. Bryan Hehir is the Parker Gilbert Montgomery Professor of the Practice of Religion and Public Life at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is also the Secretary of Health and Social Services on the staff of Cardinal Sean O’Malley in the Archdiocese of Boston. Previously he served on the faculty of Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service (1984-92) and on the Harvard Divinity School faculty (1993-2001) including three years as the Chair of the HDS Executive Committee. In the Archdiocese of Boston, Fr. Hehir represents Cardinal O’Malley on four social service agencies and also serves as a liaison to Catholic health systems in the Archdiocese. His teaching, research and writing focus on ethics and foreign policy and the role of religion in world politics and in American society.
Dr. Crystal Kuykendall, a nationally recognized educator, attorney, author, and motivational speaker, shared experiences and insights from her life journey through the lens of the Augustinian value of caritas – or love.
Dr. Kuykendall reminded students that love is an extraordinary force and blessing in our lives, and that no matter our background, it is the quality of relationships that we have in life that brings us joy. She emphasized the importance of developing leaders who can look past differences and help us search for and understand what is important in life.
“We live in a society with too much hate, too many divisions and differences that move us away from our common purpose, which is to embrace the similarities between us.” Dr. Kuykendall said. “We need to understand that when we show reciprocity in love, friendship, and kindness we create communities that care.”
Since the 2020 Lecture, Dr. Kuykendall has continued to work with Austin Prep, including strategic planning with school leadership in our journey to continue the progress of building a diverse and inclusive educational environment, in support of our Augustinian values of veritas, unitas, and caritas.
Dr. Kuykendall has taught in the Black Studies and Sociology Departments at Seton Hall University and Montclair State University. She is the former Executive Director of the National Alliance of Black School Educators. She has also served as the Director of Urban & Minority Relations for the National School Boards Association and the Director of the Citizens Training Institute of the National Committee for Citizens in Education.
Rev. Raymond F. Dlugos, O.S.A., an Austin Prep Trustee and Merrimack College’s Vice President of Mission and Ministry, framed his remarks within the context of the year’s theme at Austin Prep: “Presume Good Intent," providing real-life examples when discussing the core Augustinian values of veritas, unitas and caritas.
Father Dlugos also described the importance of understanding self-acceptance, dispelling the myth that hearts are figuratively not made to be broken. “We’re raised to believe that having a broken heart is a bad thing,” Father Dlugos said. “Our hearts are not meant to be wound tight, we are humans, all humans have feelings. It’s perfectly fine to experience a full range of emotions, it’s okay to be sad or angry.”
Father Dlugos is a licensed psychologist in New York, a registered psychologist in Ontario, Canada, and a Roman Catholic priest ordained in 1983 for the Order of St. Augustine.
Grace Cotter Regan, the first female President of Boston College High School, was a fitting speaker for 2018 as Austin Prep celebrated 25 years of co-education.
Regan explained to students that she sees her current position as the fulfillment of her professional vocation, literally what she was called to do in life. She urged Austin Prep students to discover their own vocations in life, to take risks, to try new things, and not to fear making mistakes.
Regan is a Boston College graduate who holds master’s degrees in education from the University of Vermont and Pastoral Ministry and Spirituality from BC, as well as a certificate in Catholic Leadership Development from the University of Notre Dame. She has also served as the executive director of advancement for the New England Province of Jesuits, executive director of the Boston College Alumni Association, vice president of development for the Boston Public Library and in the development office at the College of the Holy Cross.
Dr. Steven R. DiSalvo, current president of Endicott College and Austin Prep Trustee, urged students to have faith as it aligned with the school’s theme for that year: “Know your faith and live it well.”
“Knowing your faith requires you to be educated in ways that transcend books and articles … and embracing the belief that we were put on this earth for a higher purpose,” Dr. DiSalvo said.
At the time of the lecture, Dr. DiSalvo was the president of St. Anselm College, where he was the first lay president in Saint Anselm’s 125-year history. He is a longtime leader in higher education and philanthropy, having served as president of Marian University in Wisconsin, in addition to serving in various capacities at Fordham University, Loyola University Chicago, and Fairfield University. Prior to Marian, he worked at several nonprofit organizations, including the Hopewell Group Inc., the Joe Torre Safe at Home Foundation, and the Junior Achievement of New York, Inc.
Dr. DiSalvo completed his Ph.D. in educational leadership at Fordham University, where he also earned an M.B.A. in marketing and a B.S. in psychology.
Major General Charles W. Whittington, Jr., the Deputy Commanding General of Operations in the U.S. First Army, advised students on how to be a leader. “You humble yourself and bear the same hardships as your followers,” he said. “You gain respect by sharing in the hardships, not by thinking you are too good for them.”
Maj. Gen. Whittington is a career field officer, with 30 years of military service. His awards and decorations include the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal, and the Meritorious Service Medal with three Oak Leave Clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with two Oak Leaf Clusters, the Army Achievement Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, Southwest Asian Service Medal with Campaign Stars, the Iraqi Campaign Medal and the Parachutist Badge.
Brian Montgomery, the former Deputy Assistant to the President and Cabinet Secretary in the Executive Office of President Bush and former Housing & Urban Development Secretary for President Obama, reflected not only upon his accomplishments as HUD Secretary, such as establishing reforms to preserve affordable multifamily rental housing, but described his experiences on September 11, 2001, when he was with President Bush in Florida as the tragic news of the day developed.
"I will never forget the first responders, those are our true heroes,” Montgomery said. “I think we ought to reserve that title for people who head up a staircase with 50 pounds of gear strapped to their backs to potentially save someone they have never met.”
He told students that we all have the potential to be an everyday hero, by helping a distraught classmate or consoling a person who has lost a loved one. “Rise to the challenge when it is presented to you,” he said. “Our triumphs can teach us as much about ourselves as our failures.”