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Loftus Dinner

Held annually during Heritage Week, the Loftus Dinner features the presentation of the Br. Arthur Austin Loftus Award to an outstanding Christian Brother. Long-serving faculty, administrators, and staff-members are also honored. Those who have worked at the College for 50 years receive the Facere et Docere Award; for 40 years, the Pro Multis Anni Award; for 30 years, the Bene Merenti Award; and for 20 years, the Pro Operis Award. The Loftus Dinner and Loftus Award are named after Br. Arthur Austin Loftus, CFC (1904 - 1979). Br. Loftus was an extraordinary teacher, leader, and Brother who served as the College's second President, Provincial of the Congregation, and Superior General of the Congregation of Christian Brothers, the first non-Irish-born Brother elected to that post.  

2020 Br. Arthur A. Loftus Award Recipient

Br. Dennis Gunn, CFC, Ph.D., ’93
Assistant Professor, Education

"Take courage, the good seed will grow up in the children's hearts later on."
-Blessed Edmund Rice

Dennis Gunn Br. Dennis Gunn discovered his passion for teaching when he was a college student and he volunteered at the Nativity Mission School on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Prior to that, a friend had introduced him to the Men and Boys choir of St. Agnes Cathedral in Rockville Center where he had the opportunity to express his faith through song and praise and work with the youth in the choir. It was not long after that Dennis’ direction in life became clearer for him, a pathway that would foster his faith while he served in creative and exciting ways as a classroom teacher. Raised a Lutheran, he converted to Catholicism and began researching opportunities to serve in a teaching order of Brothers. In his over twenty-five years as an Edmund Rice Christian Brother, Dennis has taught every grade, from 1st through 12th and at every level from elementary through graduate school; without a doubt, he embodies the Congregation’s motto, “to do and to teach.”

Br. Gunn’s assignments have included: Blessed Sacrament High School, New Rochelle, NY; Sacred Heart Elementary School, Manhattan; Catholic Memorial, West Roxbury, MA; Fe Y Allegra School, Lima, Peru; St. Patrick’s Elementary School, Tampa, FL; St. Joseph’s High School, Jackson, Mississippi; Iona College; and the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education, Fordham University. While teaching in Boston, he completed a Master’s Degree in Religious Education at Boston College. In 2014 he earned his Ph.D. in Religious Education from Fordham University; his doctoral dissertation is entitled “Toward Infinite Horizons of Wonder: Bernard Lonergan’s Philosophy of Education and the Role of Critical Thinking in Teaching Religion in Catholic Secondary Schools.” Having been published widely in the field of education, Br. Gunn eagerly anticipates the Spring 2020 publication of his first book, Educating for Civic Dialogue in an Age of Uncivil Discourse (Routledge). This text draws from Br. Gunn’s study of Lonergan as well as his extensive years of teaching and guiding young teachers.

When asked what grade he has most enjoyed teaching, Br. Gunn points to two very formative and rewarding experiences. First, he remembers with great fondness his classroom of 40 seventh graders at Sacred Heart School. More recently, he considers it a great honor and privilege to teach and to mentor Iona College Education students, both at the beginning of their careers in “Principles of Education” and at the end of their Iona careers as student teachers in middle school and high school. Br. Gunn is especially proud of how the Education Department has cultivated the virtues of community and student-centeredness that are so central to the vision of Blessed Edmund Rice.

Past Recipients of the Br. Arthur A. Loftus Award:

  • 2019: Br. Raymond J. Vercruysse, CFC, Ed.D., '77
  • 2018: Br. Kevin Cawley, CFC, Ph.D.
  • 2017: Br. Joseph Gerard Morgan, Ph.D. ’75
  • 2016: Br. Henry Dillemuth
  • 2015: Br. Eugene O’Brien, Ph.D.
  • 2014: Br. Joseph A. Cussen, '57
  • 2013: Br. Harry Dunkak, Ph.D., '51
  • 2012: Br. J. Kevin Devlin, Ed.D., '61
  • 2011: Br. James A. Liguori, Ed.D., '65
  • 2010: Br. Robert Novak, Ph.D., '72
  • 2009: Br. Kenneth Chapman, '56
  • 2008: The International Christian Brothers, accepted by Br. Alfred Banda
  • 2007: Br. Jack Mostyn
  • 2006: The Iona Community of Brothers, accepted by Br. Joseph Morgan, Ph.D., '75
  • 2005: Br. Brian Walsh
  • 2004: Br. Charles B. Quinn
  • 2003: The Bicentenary of the Congregation of Christian Brothers (1802 - 2002)