Mother Anna Grace Neenan, O.P. Selected for TICUA Hall of Fame
Mother Anna Grace Neenan, O.P., alumna of Aquinas College, among the 24 honorees in the Class of 2022
NASHVILLE, TENN. – The Tennessee Independent Colleges and Universities Association (TICUA) is proud to announce its third class of Hall of Fame inductees, including Mother Anna Grace Neenan, O.P. ’02, alumna of Aquinas College.
TICUA and its member institutions proudly selected the 24 alumni, highlighting their contributions to our state, country, and world in a variety of disciplines. Tennessee’s Independent Colleges and Universities have helped shape some of our nation’s most distinguished and impressive citizens, from Nobel laureates and Pulitzer Prize winners to faith leaders, entrepreneurs, and elected officials.
“The TICUA Hall of Fame’s Class of 2022, once again, demonstrates the incredible value a liberal arts education provides throughout a person’s lifetime,” said TICUA President Dr. Claude Pressnell. “We are proud to recognize this impressive group of alumni who have made significant contributions to their institutions, communities, and society.”
As Prioress General of the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia Congregation, Mother Anna Grace Neenan presently serves as Chair of the Board of Directors of Nashville’s Aquinas College. In exercising her responsibilities, Mother Anna Grace embraces and exemplifies the unique educational mission of Aquinas College, doing so with enthusiasm and depth of insight.
Mother Anna Grace entered the Dominican Sisters of Saint Cecilia in 1996. She earned her B.A. in Liberal Arts at Aquinas College in 2002, and an M.S. in Educational Leadership from Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee in 2007. In addition to her initial theological formation, she spent a year pursuing studies in spiritual theology at the University of Saint Thomas Aquinas in Rome, and is currently working towards an M.A. in Thomistic Studies at the Pontifical Faculty of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C.
For over 20 years, Mother Anna Grace has served her religious community of St. Cecilia in leadership roles, which have involved not only classroom teaching and school administration, but also responsibilities in the early formation of the young women in the community’s novitiate program. In each of these capacities, she has shown a spiritual depth and gentle wisdom clearly focused on the genuine good of the human person. She has brought this same focus to her responsibilities as Chair of the Aquinas College Board of Directors, whether the matter under consideration be academic excellence, curricular planning, questions of a financial nature, or spiritual formation of students.
Mother Anna Grace assumed her responsibilities as Board Chair at a significant moment in the now 60-year history of Aquinas College, which is owned and operated by the Congregation of Saint Cecilia. She became Board Chair precisely as the College was implementing the decision to discontinue certain program offerings so that it can fully concentrate its efforts on the preparation of educators. Mother Anna Grace has led the Aquinas Board of Directors with vision and foresight, as together they have actively supported the College in this renewal and deepening of its founding mission.
In a recent message marking the 60th Anniversary of the College, Mother Anna Grace wrote:
“Veritas et Caritas. Truth and Charity. Under this guiding theme, Aquinas College has maintained for the past sixty years a consistent central focus[…]forming individuals to be witnesses to Truth and Charity.”
It is the kind of education, she often emphasizes, which prepares students not simply to be effective educators, but teachers whose personal lives of faith and love transform the culture in which they live. Mother Anna Grace consistently offers an example of what Aquinas College is about, leading with a vision set on values that are eternal.
The 2022 class of inductees includes civil rights activists, veterans, civic and faith leaders, medical pioneers, sport and business professionals, and passionate philanthropic and humanitarian leaders, all hailing from Tennessee private non-profit institutions.
Every inductee exemplifies the value of a liberal arts education and how it can be used in a variety of career fields. In addition to Mother Anna Grace, other inductees include civil rights pioneer W.E.B. DuBois, Former Tennessee Governor Frank G. Clement, and creator of the first Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Dr. Mildred Stahlman. Read more about each inductee in the 2022 Hall of Fame website or in the TICUA 2022 Hall of Fame publication.