IRVING — The University of Dallas Board of Trustees announced today that it has selected Thomas S. Hibbs, Ph.D., BA ’82 MA ’83, to serve as the university’s ninth president. The first University of Dallas alumnus to become president, Hibbs has served as the inaugural dean of the Honors College and distinguished professor of ethics and culture at Baylor University since 2003.
“We are truly blessed to have Dr. Thomas Hibbs return to his alma mater as president. His educational history as a student, a professor and an administrator at top Catholic universities throughout our land and most recently at Baylor University is absolutely exceptional. I look forward to working with him and welcoming him into his role as president of the University of Dallas,” said Bishop of the Diocese of Dallas and University Chancellor Edward J. Burns.
Originally hailing from the D.C. suburbs, Hibbs first came to Irving in 1980 as a Holy Trinity seminarian, after studying business for two years at the University of Maryland. A year later, he left Holy Trinity for his true calling: that of the intellectual life that he discovered at the University of Dallas.
“I am humbled and honored by this appointment, which allows me to return to the university where I first learned what Catholic liberal education is all about,” said Hibbs. “My experience at a number of other academic institutions since I left UD has only confirmed in my mind the distinctive and indispensable role of the University of Dallas in the landscape of American higher education and in Catholic education across the globe. I am especially honored to be joining a university with such a well-earned reputation for excellence in teaching, at the center of which is a faculty that combines scholarly achievement with devotion to the craft of teaching.”
Hibbs received a B.A. in English and an M.A. in philosophy from the University of Dallas and both a master’s and a doctorate in medieval studies from the University of Notre Dame. He was a tutor at Thomas Aquinas College for three years before moving to Boston College, where he taught for 13 years as full professor and chair of the philosophy department.
“Tom Hibbs is one of the finest Catholic educators in America: a first-rate intellect wedded to administrative ability and a deep commitment to the church,” said George Weigel, distinguished senior fellow and William E. Simon chair in Catholic studies at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, as well as the father of two UD alumnae. “UD couldn’t have made a better or more exciting choice of president.”
Since 2014, Hibbs has also served Baylor as director of its programs in Washington, D.C., coordinating student internships, a religious liberty initiative with Georgetown University and monthly faculty events.
Further, Hibbs has helped organize and participated in Baylor study abroad programs in Italy, Greece and Turkey.
“The University of Dallas is getting an outstanding leader in Dr. Hibbs,” said Baylor University President Linda A. Livingstone, Ph.D. “I have greatly appreciated his vision and leadership of our Honors College and Baylor in Washington initiative, and he will be deeply missed by students, faculty and staff across our campus. We wish him well as he joins a long list of individuals with Baylor ties who serve as top executives at colleges and universities worldwide.”
Hibbs has spent most of his career writing, teaching and designing/implementing academic programs; he has 30 published academic articles, and two are forthcoming. He has written, edited or provided introductions for 12 books. including three on the thought of Thomas Aquinas. He has also written more than 200 movie reviews and dozens of essays and book reviews for publications such as National Review, Catholic World Report, First Things, The Weekly Standard and others.
Hibbs will begin in his new role July 1 on a campus that has experienced significant growth recently. In the past several years UD has seen its largest incoming undergraduate class, its highest overall enrollment, the introduction of multiple new academic programs, and AACSB accreditation of the Satish and Yasmin Gupta College of Business. Additionally, the university has expanded its Rome, Italy campus, leveraged a real estate sale to boost its endowment by 27 percent, and invested more than $32 million in new buildings and athletic facilities.
“Tom Hibbs is an inspired choice for the University of Dallas. It’s not often that a university can choose as its leader a real philosopher who has years of experience running first-rate programs in higher education. Tom is also a public intellectual whose observations on contemporary affairs are often more interesting than the culture he is analyzing,” said Catholic University of America President John Garvey. “Add to this his considerable personal charm, and the fact that he is a father of college students of his own, and you have the formula for the ideal college president. I congratulate his alma mater on selecting him.”