Kevin Schmiesing, PhD
Class of 1994
Two high school teachers first challenged Kevin Schmiesing to do more serious reading about history, a subject that had always fascinated him. Their classes focused on the history of ideas—thinking about the way ideas influenced the development of societies and cultures—not only on a memorization of dates, names, places, and events.
“That’s what really grabbed my attention and made history into a lifelong love,” he says. Since then, history, along with his Catholic faith (another lifelong love), has shaped his educational and career path.
At Franciscan University, Kevin majored in history and participated in the Great Books Honors Program. He says those courses gave him a fuller appreciation of what it means to be Catholic.
“In particular, I learned that Catholicism isn’t just a set of beliefs or practices, it’s a whole way of life. I learned what it means for the Church to be present in the world and to influence every part of the world’s life—economically, culturally, socially, and so on.”
Kevin says the seminar format of the Honors Program also taught him to articulate the ideas he studied, develop his own position, and “to argue with people about things of importance in a civil fashion.”
Another legacy of his Franciscan education came from the “productive student interaction” that took place in the course of household life and residence hall life, and the emphasis placed on developing a vibrant, healthy, natural sort of student life. “That was very valuable for me going forward in my career and in the rest of my life,” he says.
After graduating, Kevin specialized in American intellectual history for his doctorate at the University of Pennsylvania, later publishing his dissertation as American Catholic Intellectuals, 1895-1955 (Edwin Mellen Press, 2002). He began working for the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty right after earning his PhD in 1999, and now serves as research fellow and book review editor for the institute’s Journal of Markets & Morality. Also the author of Within the Market Strife, he is currently working on a book about the history of the relationship between American religious leaders and business leaders.
With his wife, Anne (Lodzinski ’96), and their six children, Kevin lives in Ohio, where he teaches Church history for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s lay pastoral ministry program. He is also executive director of CatholicHistory.net, devoted to the history and importance of Catholics and Catholicism in the U.S. Though he describes the Web site as “mostly a hobby,” it led to a weekly feature on Sacred Heart Radio, a Catholic station in Cincinnati whose morning show has been syndicated on EWTN and is heard all over the country.
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