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Fr. Bernard Coughlin, S.J.: President, Priest, Scholar, Civic Leader, Friend: Case 2: Pre-Gonzaga

Case 2: Pre-Gonzaga

Fr. Bernard Coughlin, S.J. began work at Gonzaga just a few years after turning fifty. In the decades before his presidency, however, he was already displaying the traits he would become best known for on Gonzaga’s campus, including a propensity for leadership, a focus on serving his community, and a dedication to education.

Born in Galveston, Texas on December 7, 1922, Coughlin completed his undergraduate degree at Saint Louis University in 1946, and continued his education with a masters in social work from the University of Southern California and a doctorate in social welfare from Brandeis University. He began his career in education as a high school teacher in his home state of Texas, eventually starting as an assistant professor at Saint Louis University. There he worked as a priest and professor, and was eventually instated as the Dean of the School of Social Services. While in this position of leadership, he was selected to become the next president of Gonzaga University in 1974.

Bernard Coughlin, April 13, 1941

Bernard Coughlin, June 1941

Bachelor of Arts diploma from Saint Louis University received by Bernard J. Coughlin, June 2, 1946

“Profile: The Humanist as Social Worker,” Saint Louis University Magazine, April, 1964

Before starting at Gonzaga, Coughlin spent over a decade working at his alma mater, Saint Louis University. This article, indicative of his future at GU, describes his propensity for going above and beyond as a leader. Announcing his appointment as the new director of the School of Social Services, this essay also mentions how Coughlin “typifies the University’s contribution of leadership to community life” by being an exemplary educator, scholar, administrator, and consultant, among many other qualities. As he would be later for Gonzaga, Coughlin was a well-rounded and experienced leader at Saint Louis before even setting foot on campus at Gonzaga.

Church and State in Social Welfare, by Bernard J. Coughlin, S.J., New York: Columbia University Press, 1965

“Greetings from the Dean,” from vol. 1 no. 1 of the Challenge, Newsletter from the School of Social Services at Saint Louis University, November, 1971

Bernard Coughlin with parrot, no date

Bernard Coughlin celebrating mass, no date