Thomas Levergood, executive director, co-founder of Lumen Christi Institute, dies

By Chicago Catholic
Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Thomas Levergood, 58, died Aug. 6 after a brief battle with cancer. He was executive director and co-founder of the Lumen Christi Institute in Hyde Park.

Levergood co-founded the institute in 1997 with a vision to make the Catholic intellectual tradition a vital part of the culture of modern universities, in Chicago and across the nation, through courses, lectures, conferences and summer seminars. The institute brought world-renowned Catholic scholars and bishops to speak at the University of Chicago, making the Lumen Christi Institute a hub of Catholic intellectual activity.

His close relationship with Cardinal George helped establish Lumen Christi as a forum for church leaders and scholars to engage in dialogue.

Levergood established a permanent home for the institute adjacent to the University of Chicago with the purchase of the Gavin house in 2011. A gifted institution-builder, he also inspired founding of similar institutes at other universities around the world, including at the University of Uppsala, Sweden, the University of Virginia, Hope College, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University and the University of Southern California.

He also helped catalyze the creation of the Catholic Research Economist Discussion Organization and played a critical role in the establishing of the Society of Catholic Scientists.

Born in Michigan, Levergood earned a bachelor’s degree in political science and a master’s degree in general studies in the humanities at the University of Chicago. After teaching in Paris and pursuing studies in languages and literature in Munich, Paris and New York, he returned to the University of Chicago to pursue graduate studies in theology, politics and literature in the Committee on Social Thought.

Levergood is survived by his siblings, Joan and Richard, and a niece and two nephews.


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