Tom Lucas, S.J.

Born of a groceryman and nurse at the Placerville Sanitarium(!?), Easter Sunday 1952; my parents separated in ‘56. I have one sister, Justine, 4 years older than me. We’re close. I come from a family of nurses (grandmother, mom, and sister).

Attended Jesuit High, Sacramento (’70) and Santa Clara (’74) before entering the Jesuits at Montecito, 1975. Fordham for philosophy, Bellarmine Prep regency doing everything (‘79-‘82); Rome for theology at the Gesù (’82-’85), where the rector scolded me for drinking cappuchinos in the piazzas instead of going to class. Ordained at San Francisco, ‘85.

Graduate studies in theology and art, GTU ‘86-‘91 (PhD 1992). Research and projects included restoration of Camerette of St. Ignatius (‘88-‘91) and an exhibit at Vatican Library on Jesuit architecture as part of

Then a complete shift of gears: 3 years in Washington as Communications Secretary of Jesuit Conference (‘92-‘9e).

I came to USF in ‘95; got a joint degree program with CCAC established, established and chaired Fine and Performing Arts dept. for 8 years. Designed on-campus programs for Art and Architecture. Founding director of Thacher Gallery, to date 70+ exhibits. Tenure, ‘02, promoted to Full Professor, ‘08, named University Professor ’11.

I teach a variety of courses in Art dept including Art History Survey, visual theology, sacred space, and an occasional studio class in stained glass. Serve on the trustees facilities committee, and am charged with campus beautification projects. Proud to have gotten some extraordinary art that speaks to our mission already, and more to come. I do a lot of lecturing at universities here and abroad. On my sane days, I believe I have the best job in the world.

Professionally I do a lot of liturgical and design consultation (Shanghai Cathedral and St. Mary’s City, Maryland Jesuit Chapel reconstructions were big projects in recent years, and lots of smaller design related work (Loyola House/Chapel, St. Ignatius Church, parishes and hospitals). In recent years the Thacher Gallery has taken a lot of my research time as we improve the quality, depth, and diversity of our shows.

I’ve been pastorally engaged at St. Joan of Arc Church San Ramon since 1987 on and off, and regularly since ’95. Also help out at St. Joseph’s Alameda, and St. Ignatius. I continue to work with and fundraise for the Sisters of the Casa de los Pobres, Tijuana (I first went there as a novice in ’76). They’ve made me half-Franciscan.

I’ve recently rediscovered the writings of Teilhard de Chardin S.J., who’s helping me to move optimistically into my 60s.

  • Reading
  • Going to museums
  • Listening to music
  • Gardening
  • Watch the stars come out