Jesuits honour Dr Tony White
The Dominic Collins SJ medal was presented to Dr Anthony (Tony) White on Tuesday 21 February 2023, by Fr Leonard Moloney SJ (former Provincial of the Irish Jesuits and former Chair of the Governing Body of the National College of Ireland) at a ceremony in the Jesuit Provincialate in Milltown, Dublin.
The Dominic Collins medal commemorates the Irish Jesuit martyr Blessed Dominic Collins, who died in 1602, and is awarded to men and women who have most closely collaborated in the mission of the Society of Jesus, with a spirit of generosity and for the greater glory of God. The medal was first presented in 2019; previous recipients were John Bruton (former Taoiseach) and Paddy McEvoy (former Chair of the Board of Management of Belvedere College SJ).
The presentation ceremony was attended by family, friends, and colleagues of Tony White, including wife Marian, daughters Philippa and Barbara, and grandson Matthew. Tony’s son Johnny watched the presentation from Los Angeles via Zoom, at the unfavourable hour of 5am local time! Many Irish Jesuits also attended, including Frs. Shane Daly, Tom Morrissey, Bill Toner, Bruce Bradley, and Terry Howard.
The formal citation accompanying the Dominic Collins medal read, “With gratitude in recognition of counsel and service in the furthering of education, alumni networks and scholarship, associated with the Irish Province of the Society of Jesus”. However, that only hints at the extent of Tony White’s involvement with the Irish Jesuits. Tony served as Registrar of the Milltown Institute of Theology and Philosophy, represented the Irish Jesuits on the Governing Body of NCI and with the World Union of Jesuit Alumni, as well as currently serving as a member of the editorial board of Studies: An Irish Quarterly Review and his role in Crescent College Past Pupils Union.
After the formal part of the proceedings, Fr Moloney hosted a lunch for the guests, during which the attendees were invited to contribute their reminisces. Tony’s life-long association with Crescent College Comprehensive SJ featured prominently, which was hardly surprising as the attendance included Tony’s former pupil Fr Moloney and Tony’s former teacher Fr Morrissey.
Further reminisces were given by Tony’s Crescent classmate Fr Martin Daly, who confirmed that he (Martin) did indeed feature in the history of that school, edited by Tony, namely The Crescent: Sacred Heart College Comprehensive SJ, 1859-2009 (2009). Other books written by Tony were Irish Parliamentarians: Deputies and Senators 1918-2018 (2018); and Investing in People: Higher Education in Ireland 1960-2000 (2001), which was described by another attendee Prof Áine Hyland (emeritus professor of education in University College Cork) as an invaluable reference work on Irish education policy. Tony’s long-time support for NCI was highlighted by many speakers, especially Tony’s ongoing involvement with the Early Learning Initiative in NCI.
Fittingly for Shrove Tuesday, the event drew to a close when pancakes were served as dessert for the lunch!