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Michael Naughton


Catholic Studies

  • Education
  • PhD, in Theology
  • Expertise
  • Catholic Social Thought in relation to work, business and organizational life. Catholic education in relation to its purpose and organizational policy.
  • Research Interests
  • Meaningful Work, Labor and Leisure, Philosophy of Education

Dr. Michael Naughton is the director of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas (Minnesota, US) where he holds the Koch Chair in Catholic Studies and is a full professor in the department of Catholic Studies. He also taught in the College of Business for over 20 years. Author, co-author and co-editor of 12 books and monographs and over 60 articles, his most recent book is What We Hold in Trust: Rediscovering the Purpose of Catholic Higher Education (2021). He serves on multiple boards including as board chair for Reell Precision Manufacturing, which has plants and offices in the US, Europe and Asia and the board of trustees at the University of Mary and Catholic Eldercare.

Online Talks


What We Hold In Trust: Rediscovering the Purpose of Catholic Higher Education (with Don Briel and Ken Goodpaster), The Catholic University Press of America, due out 2020.

Getting Work Right: Labor and Leisure in a Fragmented World (Emmaus Road Publishing, 2019).

Leading Wisely in Difficult Times: Three Cases on Faith and Work, (co-author David Specht), Paulist Press, Fall 2011. Refereed.

Bringing Your Business to Life: The Four Virtues that Will Help You Build a Better Business—and a Better Life (co-author Jeff Cornwall), ISBN 13: 978-0-8307-4593-7, Regal Publishing Group (2008). Refereed.

Managing as if Faith Matters: Christian Social Principles in the Modern Organization Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, March 2001 (co-author, Helen Alford) ISBN-10: 0268034621 (Translations: Spanish, Hungarian and Russian completed; in process Italian and Chinese). Refereed.

The Good Stewards: Practical Applications of the Papal Social Vision of Work. ISBN-10: 0819185981, Lanham: University Press of America, May 18, 1992. Not Refereed.

Edited Books:

Rediscovering Abundance: Interdisciplinary Essays on Wealth, Income and their Distribution in the Catholic Social Tradition, co-editors, Helen Alford, Charles Clark, S.A. Cortright ISBN10: 0-268-02027-2 (University of Notre Dame Press, 2005). Refereed.

Rethinking the Purpose of Business: Interdisciplinary Essays within the Catholic Social Tradition co-editor, S.A. Cortright, ISBN10: 0-268-04011-7 (University of Notre Dame Press, October 2002). Refereed.

Work as Key to the Social Question Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 2002, ISBN: 88-209-7380-4 (proceedings from “Work as Key to the Social Question” held at the Vatican) (part of a team of editors). Not Refereed.

Religion and Public Life: The Legacy of Msgr. John A. Ryan University Press of America, 2001, ISBN: 0-7618-2091-4 (co-editors, Robert Kennedy, et al.). Not Refereed.

Dignity of Work: John Paul II Speaks to Managers and Workers. Lanham: University Press of America, 1994, ISBN: 0-8191-9620-7 (co-editors with Dr. Gary Atkinson and Dr. Robert Kennedy). Not Refereed.


The Vocation of the Business Leader (Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development), coordinator and coauthor of the document, 2012 (translated into 15 languages; on editorial team for all editions; 5th edition release 2018).

Respect in Action: Applying Subsidiarity in Business, (University of St. Thomas 2015), coauthored with Jeanne Buckeye, Ken Goodpaster and Dean Maines (translated into Portuguese, Spanish and French)

The Logic of Gift: Rethinking Business as a Community of Persons (Milwaukee: Marquette University Press, 2012) Pere Marquette Lecture.

The Vocation of Principled Global Business Leaders, Finding a Moral Compass in a Global World (The Maryville Symposium: Conversations on Faith & the Liberal Arts).

Editor of Special Issues of Journals:

Journal of Catholic Social Thought, special issue on Poverty, Prosperity and the Role of Business in the Catholic Social Tradition, vol. 13, No. 1, Winter, 2016 (co-editor Fr. Nicky Santos).

Journal of Catholic Higher Education, special issue on the Mission and Identity of Catholic Business Education, May 2013 (co-editor Br. Ray Fitz).

Journal of Business Ethics, special issue on Caritas in Veritate and Business, 2012 (co-editor, Domenec Mele).

Journal of Management Development, special issue on Practical Wisdom in Business within the Christian Social Tradition, August 2010 (co-editors, Andre Habisch and Gilbert Lenssen).

  • The Monika K. Hellwig Award for Outstanding Contributions to Catholic Intellectual Life, 2015 from the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
  • Julie Hays Teaching Award of the Opus College of Business chosen by faculty, students and alumni at the Opus College of Business. The Award “recognizes faculty members who exemplify an ongoing commitment to teaching and learning.” 2014.
  • Awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters from the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology in Berkeley California and inducted into the school’s College of Fellows, 2009.
  • National Outstanding Course Award for "Christian Faith and the Management Professions: An Entrepreneurial Perspective," First Place from the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship, 2002.
  • The University of St. Thomas Business Ethics Award for 2001.