Fr. Thom Hennen! Fr. Hennen will become a new (and old to some) face on the St. Ambrose University Campus next year, as he is taking over the Campus Chaplain duties of Fr. Chuck Adam. Local high school students might also know him as a religion teacher from Assumption High School in Davenport.
Hennen is a 2000 St. Ambrose graduate with majors in History and Philosophy and was quite active in the theatre department, playing many fantastic roles and enjoying every moment of them. Why is St. Ambrose Theatre something Fr. Hennen keeps so close to his heart? It's time to dive in and find out!
What did you do post-graduation and what are you doing currently?
I attended The North American College in Rome for seminary and was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Davenport in 2004. I have served at Prince of Peace Parish in Clinton, St. Mary's and the Newman Center in Iowa City, and have been the Director of Vocations for the Diocese since 2011. I have also been chaplain and senior religion teacher at Assumption High School since 2014.
What was your favorite memory from your college years at St. Ambrose?
I would honestly have to say the many opportunities I had to be involved with Theatre productions at Galvin; it is something close to my heart and that always make me smile when I look back.
What inspires you today?
I am inspired by many of my students in my current position at Assumption, and knowing that I will get to meet many more truly excellent young people in my new role as chaplain at St. Ambrose.
What was your biggest post-SAU surprise?
Every priestly assignment I have had has been a surprise, to some extent. Also, each of my assignments has, in turn, been full of surprises. That's one of the many things I love about being a priest - it's never boring.
Any advice for current students?
As I look back, while I was good student, I wish I had poured myself more into my learning, not just for a grade, but to really learn the subject. You don't ever have quite the same opportunity to devote yourself to learning subjects that fascinate you (or at least challenge you) as you do during these four short years.
What is a show you have acted in that you are the most proud of and why?
I feel like my "proudest" moment on stage was as Einstein in Picasso at the Lapin Agile my junior year. It was about as close as I got to a lead. Of course, I'm also very proud to have be Mr. DePinna in You Can't Take it With You not once, but twice: once as a freshman and again for the 2012 alumni production of the show.
What do you miss most about the department?
I loved working with Dr. Johnson, Kris, and Mike Kennedy. I also always enjoyed dabbling in set construction and striking the set after a show.
Anything else you'd like to add?
I am very excited to return to my alma mater and will be a frequent patron of the arts!
The St. Ambrose Theatre community is excited to have another advocate on campus! We can't wait for Fr. Hennen to take his new position and start inspiring students. Thanks for all you do and we all look forward to seeing you soon!