April 12, 2023 — Fr. Thomas D. Stegman, SJ, a respected New Testament scholar and former dean of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (BCSTM), passed away on April 8, 2023, in Weston, Massachusetts, at age 60 after a battle with glioblastoma.
Fr. Stegman most recently served at BCSTM as a professor of New Testament (2008-2015) and dean of the school (2016-2022). In 2022, he was missioned to Campion Center in Weston, Massachusetts, to care for his health.
During his tenure, BCSTM rose to the upper echelon of the global rankings in theology, divinity and religious studies. The school also established the Spirituality Studies Program; the Committee on Race and Ethnicity to advance racial justice, diversity, equity and inclusion; and Formacíon Continua, which offers continuing education courses and webinars in Spanish for tens of thousands of learners worldwide. He also helped to establish two endowed chairs at BCSTM: the Clifford and Kitz Chair in the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and the Henry R. Cavalieri Visiting Jesuit Professorship, to attract and retain the best faculty in the field.
A Jesuit for 37 years, he attended the University of Nebraska for one year before earning a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in 1985. He entered the Society of Jesus at the Jesuit novitiate in St. Paul, Minneapolis, in 1985. He was ordained a priest in 1995 and pronounced final vows in 2008.
After entering the Society, Fr. Stegman earned a master’s degree in philosophy from Marquette University and a Master of Divinity and a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Weston School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts. He earned his doctorate in New Testament Studies from Emory University.
As a Jesuit in formation, Fr. Stegman taught English and religion at Creighton Preparatory School in Omaha, Nebraska. After earning his doctorate, he was a professor of New Testament at the Weston School of Theology from 2003 to 2008. After Weston became part of the Boston College School of Theology and Ministry, he was a professor of New Testament and then dean of the school.
Fr. Stegman was a most effective mentor who facilitated numerous theses and dissertations, a gifted teacher, valued colleague and respected Scripture scholar. In addition to being respected by his colleagues and students, Fr. Stegman was greatly respected by his Jesuit brothers and was elected to represent the Wisconsin Province at the 2012 Procurators Congregation in Nairobi and at the 36th General Congregation in Rome in 2016. As Fr. Michael McCarthy, SJ, current dean of BCSTM, notes, Fr. Stegmam’s “legacy is tremendous, but one of the greatest gifts he left us was an example of how a Christian may approach diminishment and death: with an abiding faith and trust in God and hope in the resurrection.”