NINS Director Named Academic Dean of Mercy College of Health Sciences (DesMoines, IA) Following Successful Years as Leader of NINS

September 18, 2020

The past three years have been a momentous period in the life of the National Institute for Newman Studies (NINS). During the three-year tenure of Director Bud Marr’s leadership, we have experienced many significant accomplishments. NINS has as its mission to promote knowledge of the life, work, and influence of Saint John Henry Newman (1801-1890). To accomplish this, NINS has three related goals: first, to collect and curate Newman and Newman-related digital books and manuscripts accessible to scholars throughout the world, and a physical research library in Pittsburgh; second, a scholars program, designed to provide experienced and developing Newman scholars research space at the Gailliot Center for Newman Studies in Pittsburgh; and third, promotion of published work through the Newman Studies Journal, and more recently through the Journal’s second series of occasional monographs, collections of essays, critical editions of primary sources, and e-publication, the Newman Review.

Under Director Marr’s leadership, the physical research library has expanded significantly, through generous book donations by major scholars, like Fr. John Ford, CSC and Fr. Charles Talar. Significant investments have been made in acquiring the full range of Newman scholarship of the last fifty years. The entire collection has been re-catalogued and modifications are underway for the security and preservation of the physical library holdings. NINS’s holdings are now searchable through Duquesne University’s Gumberg Library database.

Director Marr has overseen NINS’s technology team, which, through the innovative work of Dr. Danny Michaels and his staff, has developed a state-of-the-art digital collection of nearly 20,000 documents (and counting), making Newman’s unpublished manuscripts directly accessible to scholars around the world. NINS partnered with the British Library to digitize Edward Elgar’s manuscript score of The Dream of Gerontius, and a virtual exhibition of this work will soon be available to the public. Director Marr has guided negotiations with three major archives, and contracts are nearing completion to scan Newman and Newman-related manuscripts to add to the NINS digital archives. Initial discussions are underway with three other archival collections.  

Director Marr has annually mentored 5-10 visiting scholars who have come to the Gailliot Center for Newman Studies to conduct their research, for periods of two weeks to two months. Each year he also organized the Fall Newman Lecture and Conference, and Spring Symposium, inviting leading scholars and emerging researchers in the field of Newman Studies to present their work. He hosted the dinner celebrating the recipient of the Gailliot Award for Newman Studies annually in the context of the Fall Newman Lecture and Conference. In a crowning achievement of this area of his work, Director Marr coordinated planning for an international Newman Conference, originally intended for September 2020, which will be held at Oriel College, Oxford (September 20-22, 2021).

Director Marr has served as Associate Editor of the Newman Studies Journal, in collaboration with Editor Kenneth Parker and Managing Editor Elizabeth Huddleston. During the past three years the journal has thrived. In an alliance with Catholic University of America Press, the NSJ adopted a new format design, attracted an internationally renowned board of contributing editors, recruited premier contributors, and increased its circulation. Special congratulations is due to Dr. Elizabeth Huddleston for her leadership as Managing Editor. The second series of the Newman Studies Journal will soon be launched with a monograph, a critically edited primary source, and two collections of conference papers. A new e-publication, the Newman Review, was launched this month, and is attracting pieces by noted scholars and popular writers.

While Dr. Marr has managed all these initiatives effectively, his publishing and speaking career has also flourished. In 2018, he published To Be Perfect Is to Have Changed Often: The Development of John Henry Newman’s Ecclesiological Outlook, 1845-1877. The same year he published his essay, “Infallibility,” in The Oxford Handbook of John Henry Newman. He has also published book reviews in HorizonsHomiletic & Pastoral Review, and Catholic World Report and has a forthcoming volume to be published by Our Sunday Visitor, entitled Seeking God with Saint John Henry Newman (October 2020). He has spoken at academic conferences, including the College Theology Society and a special symposium organized by St. Joseph’s Seminary, Dunwoodie. Director Marr has also presented invited lectures nationally, notably at Seton Hall University, the Collegium Institute at Penn University, Westminster College (New Wilmington, PA), Newman University (Wichita, KS), and for the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC. Because of Dr. Marr’s love of teaching, NINS sponsored courses on Newman that attracted enthusiastic local audiences, and students at Duquesne University benefited from his pedagogy in the classroom.

Of course, the highlight of the last three years under Dr. Marr’s leadership was the opportunity for the NINS board and staff to witness in Rome the canonization of St. John Henry Newman on 13 October 2019. This was the fruit of many years of prayer and hard work at NINS, including important contributions from Fr. Drew Morgan and Mrs. Catharine Ryan, co-founders of NINS, in promoting Newman’s cause for canonization. It was gratifying to learn that it was access to the NINS’s Newmanreader that helped promote awareness of and devotion to Newman, which led to reports of miraculous healings and the pathway to John Henry Newman’s canonization.

In light of these many accomplishments, NINS’s board and staff express profound gratitude to Director Marr for his extraordinary leadership. We offer heartfelt congratulations as he becomes Academic Dean of Mercy College of Health Sciences (Des Moines, IA), and will long remember his leadership style, which modeled quiet competence and concern for all.

NINS is currently undertaking a national and international search for a new Director, to advance NINS’s existing initiatives, and to lead NINS into the next stage of its history. Professor Kenneth Parker, Ryan Endowed Chair for Newman Studies and Chair of the Department of Catholic Studies at Duquesne University, will serve as Interim Director until the new Director takes up the appointment. The search committee will post details regarding our professional search to our website soon. Queries about or nominations for the directorship search should be sent to kparker@ninsdu.org.

The National Institute for Newman Studies facilitates scholarly learning and dialogue on the enduring relevance of St. John Henry Newman’s life, work and influence to foster intellectual and spiritual growth. The Institute is located in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh, PA.

Ryan J. Marr

Dr. Ryan "Bud" J. Marr

Opportunity at NINS

We are accepting applications and nominations for the position of director at the National Institute for Newman Studies. Apply at https://www.newmanstudies.org/jobs.