McEvenue began his career as a Jesuit priest in Toronto and Guelph. He went on to complete his undergraduate studies in philosophy from the Université de Montréal and a doctoral degree from the Pontificio Istituto Biblico in Rome. After 26 years, he left the priesthood to start a family and joined Loyola College, one of Concordia’s founding institutions, in 1972.
During his time at Concordia, McEvenue held a number of positions, including associate vice-rector, assistant dean of Arts and Science, and chair of the departments of Theological Studies, Classics, Modern Languages and Linguistics, and Études françaises. He also served on Senate and the Board of Directors for many years.
A scholar and a diplomat
Robert Tittler, distinguished professor emeritus of history, remembers how McEvenue stood out for both his academic and diplomatic contributions. He says his former colleague was one of the first people others would turn to in times of crisis.
“The French department at Loyola College was in turmoil in the early 70s,” recalls Tittler. “Dean Russell Breen placed Sean in charge as the acting chair. It was a difficult assignment but he carried it out sensitively and successfully.”
The two men served together on a number of committees over the years and Tittler came to admire McEvenue’s “keen intellect, deep concern for teaching, and sincere and genuine collegiality,” he says.
“Sean was a particularly shining light in the academic communities of Loyola and Concordia.”
Creative and thoughtful
Donat Taddeo (BA 67), former associate professor in the Department of Communication Studies and dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Computer Science, praised the many ways McEvenue contributed to the university.
“Not only was he a brilliant academic, he also served in a variety of administrative committees. He did so creatively and thoroughly,” says Taddeo. “Whether it was after a two-hour meeting or a five-minute conversation, Sean’s parting words would always leave me with a smile on my face.”
McEvenue made significant contributions as an intellectual. His scholarly work included source-criticism in the Pentateuch and Hebrew Bible, hermeneutics, and literary theory. He is also well-known for his explorations of the work of Bernard Lonergan, who was included in a list of 42 Great Concordians in 2014.
“More imposing than Sean’s stature were his intelligence, candour and wit,” adds Taddeo.
Concordia is much indebted to Sean
In 1978, McEvenue founded Lonergan College. His aim was to put Lonergan’s method of seeking meaning through interdisciplinary exploration and individual experience into practice.
Each year, 15 professors from different departments would offer their perspectives to a weekly investigation into the work of a particular thinker. They would also bring along a cohort of their students.