Gatto Chair

General Information

The Father Edo Gatto Chair of Christian Studies was established in honour of Father Edo Gatto (BA 1952), who died tragically as the result of a motor vehicle accident in December 1991.

Father Gatto was chair of the St.FX Philosophy Department at the time of his death. Born in Dominion, Cape Breton in 1931, he graduated from StFX in 1952 with a bachelor of arts degree and studied for the priesthood at St. Basil's Seminary in Toronto. Following his ordination in 1956, he taught at StFX for one year, but returned to Toronto where he received a Licentiate in Mediaeval Studies from the Pontifical Institute of Mediaeval Studies) and a PhD degree in philosophy from the University of Toronto in 1962.

From 1962 until 1991 Father Gatto taught in the Department of Philosophy at St FX. He also served on various university committees including the Senate, Board of Governors, and the X-Ring Committee. He held a number of positions in the Alumni Association including a term as president from 1980-83. As part of Homecoming 1993, a "Philosopher's Bench," located beside Somers Hall, was dedicated in his memory.

Terms of Reference

The principal objective of the Chair of Christian Studies is to provide an opportunity for the scholarly exploration of Christianity from all perspectives: artistic; historical, literary; philosophical; social; scientific; and theological.

  1. Any department or combination of departments in the Faculty of Arts is eligible to host a Christian Studies professor.
    1. The appointee to the Chair of Christian Studies shall be a scholar, writer or artist who will continue to teach, to do research or engage in creative work while in residence at the University.
    2. Although members of the University faculty shall not normally be candidates for appointment to the Chair, such an appointment may be made under appropriate circumstances.
  2. The appointment to the Chair may be used as leave replacement or as a "bridge" to a tenured appointment in a department, if that department is scheduled for a faculty replacement through retirement, especially if the department plans to make an emphasis shift in its course offerings.
  3. The appointment to the Chair may be for any length of time to a maximum of five years.
  4. The appointment of the Christian Studies professor shall be in a manner similar to that of an appointment to the regular faculty. Letters of invitation and appointment shall be sent by the Academic Vice-President.
  5. A statement describing the financial support paid to the Chair of Christian Studies professor shall accompany the letter of appointment. This statement, among other things, shall specify:
    1. the salary and fringe benefits which are to be paid either directly to the appointee or to the permanent employer of the appointee;
    2. relocation expenses;
    3. other expenses incidental to the appointment which the Chair professor may require to carry out his/her duties and responsibilities specified in the letter of appointment.
  6. The Chair of Christian Studies professor must be prepared to give consideration to the following duties:
    1. public general lectures, approximately three per year;
    2. more specialized lectures to the University community, approximately three per year;
    3. the teaching of University undergraduates to a maximum of two courses or seminars;
    4. close interaction with faculty and senior students.
  7. A nomination to the Chair may originate from a hosting department or from any member of the University community. In the latter case, the nomination must be made to the chair of the hosting department and must be accompanied by a statement containing:
    1. the reasons for the nomination;
    2. a budget for the items mentioned in #6.
  8. The Academic Vice-President shall inform all departments of the monies available for the Chair in any particular year.
  9. The selection of a candidate for the Chair shall proceed according to the following sequence:
    1. Departmental nominations are to be made in writing to the Academic Vice-President.
    2. A committee composed of the Academic Vice-President as Chair, the Dean of Arts and the Dean of Science, three faculty members appointed by the President, and the Director of Development shall be established to rank the candidates in priority order. The committee shall seek the advice of external referees when appropriate.
    3. Upon confirmation of the academic stature of the candidate, the Academic Vice-President shall initiate negotiations with the candidate. If the first-ranked candidate is unable to accept the invitation, the selection process is to begin again with candidate #2, unless other nominations have been made in the interim. In this latter case, the selection process shall begin from the beginning.
  10. Although appointments to the Chair normally shall be full-time, part-time appointments will also be considered that would involve the teaching of fewer than two full courses or seminars. Such appointments would be made in the same way described above for full-time appointments.
  11. Up to twenty-five percent of the income each year for the Chair may be available for support of research in the Faculty of Arts that is intended to achieve the principal objective of the Chair. These expenditures would have to be approved by the Selection Committee described in 10 (b).
  12. These terms and conditions are subject to review by the Senate at the request of the President or any member of the Senate.

Approved by Senate: March 11, 1996 & April 8, 1996