Our History

A Legacy from 1926

Since 1926, scholars and thinkers, mostly based in Canada and the United States, have forged a unique tradition and community known as the “American Catholic Philosophical Association.” Steeped in classical sources and cultivating the Catholic Philosophical heritage, this tradition is known for creative engagement with major philosophers of every era and bold responses to the themes and issues of contemporary philosophy.


Our Executive Council

Constitution of ACPA


Awards & Medals

At the 1949 meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association in Boston, the Executive Council voted to give the Association’s first Aquinas Medal (then called the Cardinal Spellman-Aquinas Medal) to Jacques Maritain of Princeton University. The Medal was to be presented at the 1950 meeting in St. Paul, Minnesota, but Maritain was unable to attend that meeting. As a result, the awarding of the Medal was postponed until the 1951 meeting in New York City. Also at the 1951 meeting, the Executive Council voted to give the second Aquinas Medal to Etienne Gilson. Gilson received the Aquinas Medal at the 1952 Annual Meeting in Cleveland. At the Cleveland Meeting, the Executive Council also voted not to award an Aquinas Medal in 1953. At the Annual Meeting of 1953 in Notre Dame, the Executive Council articulated the following standards for future Aquinas Medalists: 

“Outstanding teaching; personal publications of permanent and scholarly value; influence upon American philosophical thought without reference to membership in the American Catholic Philosophical Association.”

Former recipients are ineligible.

The award must not be given to a less-than-worthy recipient, but a serious effort will be made each year to find a worthy one.

The recipient should be well known through his or her writings to members of the ACPA, and should be recognized as having contributed significantly to the development of philosophy in the Catholic tradition.

The recipient should be an outstanding teacher.

Those selecting the recipient will apply these criteria each according to his or her own judgment, since it is not possible to find an automatic way of making a decision. Of course, discussion should precede the choice.

Long-standing membership in the ACPA shall count as a favorable factor in assessing nominees, but ACPA membership is not required.

The vote of the ACPA Executive Council shall be by secret ballot. An absolute majority of votes will be required, with the person on the preceding balling obtaining the fewest votes being dropped from the next ballot until such a majority is reached.

The names of the nominees, and the supporting documentation, should be submitted to the members of the executive council at least two weeks in advance of the meeting at which the nominees are to be voted on, along with a copy of these rules.

Past Aquinas Medal Recipients

In 2006 at the annual meetings of the ACPA held in Granville, Ohio, the Executive Committee and the Executive Council of the ACPA established the St. Catherine of Sienna Distinguished Service Award. This is an occasional award presented to an ACPA member who has demonstrated extraordinary service and commitment to the mission and work of the ACPA. 

Anthony Lisska as 2006 president and Tim Noone as 2007 president-elect presented the motion establishing this award to both the Executive Committee and the Executive Council. 

Michael Baur of Fordham University, the 2006 out-going secretary, was selected as the first recipient of the newly instituted St. Catherine of Sienna Distinguished Service Award. 

The award is signified by a plaque given to the recipient and a lifetime membership to the association. The Officers of the Association recommend possible recipients to the Executive Council.

Past St. Catherine of Sienna Award Recipients

2006 – Michael Baur

2020- Steven J. Jensen

Each year, the ACPA awards the Karen Chan Young Scholar Award to a scholar age 35 or under. The award is given to the young scholar whose paper is selected by the Program Committee as the most excellent among contributed papers for the Annual Meeting.

The Executive Council renamed the Young Scholar Award in 2019 in memory and honor of Karen Chan (1982-2019).

Contact Us

Membership Services

ACPA membership services are handled by the Philosophy Documentation Center. Inquiries regarding membership – including membership status, changes of address (or other contact information), and status of ACPQ or ACPA Proceedings subscriptions – should be directed to the PDC at:

Philosophy Documentation Center 
P. O. Box 7147 
Charlottesville, VA 22906-7147 – USA 

Tel. (800) 444-2419 (US & Canada) 
Tel. (434) 220-3300 
Fax: (434) 220-3301 
[email protected]

The National Office

ACPA National Office 
Center for Thomistic Studies, 
University of St. Thomas 
3800 Montrose Blvd., Houston, TX 77006 

Phone: (713) 942-3483 

[email protected]

Become a Member of the ACPA