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Rev. Francis S. Tebbe, O.F.M., receives honorary doctorate

Aquinas Institute of Theology to confer degree at May commencement in St. Louis

Chicago (March 1, 2007) – Rev. Francis Tebbe, O.F.M., D.Min., executive assistant to the president and secretary to the corporation at Saint Xavier University, will be honored in May with an honorary doctorate from the Aquinas Institute of Theology in St. Louis, Mo. 

In his announcement letter to Father Tebbe, Aquinas Institute of Theology President Father Charles E. Bouchard, O.P., wrote that the honor “is in recognition of your unflagging commitment to excellent preaching, to preaching education, and especially to the mission of the Catholic Coalition on Preaching. Perhaps no single person has done as much for Catholic preaching as you have, and we want to recognize that remarkable contribution.” 

Father Tebbe will receive the honorary degree during the Institute’s commencement ceremony to be held at 7:30 p.m., Friday, May 11, in St. Francis Xavier College Church in midtown St. Louis. 

“I am at once thrilled and humbled,” Father Tebbe said. “It is a great honor to be recognized in this way by the Aquinas Institute of Theology, the premier preaching school in the Catholic tradition and sponsored by the Order of Preachers (Dominicans) in the country.” 

Since 1996, Father Tebbe has served as the first president and chair of the national Catholic Coalition on Preaching and as a member of its steering committee since 1990. He has been a member and served in a variety of leadership roles in the National Organization of Continuing Education of Roman Catholic Clergy (NOCERCC) between 1992 and 2001. Between 1992 and 2001, he also served as a priest consultant for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Committee for Priestly Life and Ministry. 

Prior to coming to Saint Xavier in 2004, he served as a special assistant for mission and planning in the Office of the Provost and associate professor of theology in the College of Arts and Sciences at Lewis University in Romeoville. He also previously served as vice president for enrollment management at Lewis University (1999-2002); vice president for planning and mission effectiveness at Madonna University in Livonia, Mich. (1993-1999); associate director of the Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame (1990-1993); faculty member and first director of continuing education at Catholic Theological Union (1985-1990); and the first director of adult education for the Archdiocese of Boston (1980-1985).

Father Tebbe was associate pastor and parish administrator for St. Teresa of Avila Parish in Grants, N.M. (1979-1980), associate pastor for Holy Family Parish in Albuquerque, N.M.(1979); a faculty member in the English department of Good Counsel High School, Chicago (1979); and associate pastor and director of parish religious educational programs at St. Michael Parish, Southfield, Mich. (1975-1978). He was a missionary in Leyte, Philippines, from 1974-1975.  

Father Tebbe earned a B.A. from Duns Scotus College in Southfield, Mich., an M.Div. from Saint Leonard School of Theology in Centerville, Ohio; an M.Ed. from Boston College and a Doctor of Ministry from Andover Newton Theological School in Newton Center (Boston), Mass. He did postgraduate study at Marygrove College in Detroit, Mich., and at Providence College. He has also received certifications in adult education and theological field education. Father Tebbe is an ordained Presbyter in the Order of Friars Minor (Franciscans) of the Province of Saint John the Baptist.

Father Tebbe was the recipient of a 1998 “Finalist” Telly Award, executive producer and general editor of Priestly Relationships: Freedom through Boundaries, the 1997 NOCERCC print and video resource. He was editor of three books and has authored multiple reviews and articles. 


Founded by the Sisters of Mercy in 1846, Saint Xavier University was the first Mercy college in the United States and is Chicago’s oldest Catholic university. Serving approximately 5,700 students at its campuses in Chicago, Orland Park and its Loop location, the University offers 35 undergraduate majors; more than 40 graduate program options in arts and sciences, business, education and nursing; and a variety of program options in continuing and professional studies. Recognizing Saint Xavier’s excellence in education, U.S. News and World Report has ranked SXU consistently among the Best Colleges in the Midwest.

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