Beloved Irish professor spends spring in Steubenville


Photo by: Sabrina Ariss

Robert McNamara: a name any student on campus who has studied in Gaming, Austria, knows.

McNamara has been a staple at Franciscan University of Steubenville’s Gaming campus since he was hired five years ago.

Yet this semester, he has travelled across the ocean to teach theology and philosophy here in Steubenville. Whether teaching in Gaming or Steubenville, McNamara’s honest and engaging lectures, willingness to answer questions and enchanting Irish accent make him a popular teacher.

McNamara’s personability and intellect find roots in his Irish heritage. He hails from Dublin, Ireland, though he grew up across the island in Galway. Before making his way to Gaming, Austria, McNamara studied all across Western Europe, earning two bachelor’s degrees. The first was in physics and applied science from the National University of Ireland Galway, and the second was in philosophy and theological studies from the National University of Ireland Maynooth. He also earned a master’s degree in philosophy from the International Theological Institute in Austria, and he is just now completing his doctoral studies from Liverpool Hope University.

Now McNamara’s journey has taken him to Franciscan’s Steubenville campus, where he is teaching Metaphysics, Foundations of Ethics and a graduate seminar.

“I like the United States,” McNamara said. “It’s nice to have a period to work here. I have the ability to have a full understanding of the university.” McNamara will teach on the Steubenville campus this semester, and he will return to the Gaming campus for the fall semester.

“Gaming is a beautiful, natural environment,” said McNamara. “I miss the people particularly.” McNamara explained that the beauty of the surrounding mountains, the closeness of the Kartause community and the permeating spirituality make the Gaming campus incredibly unique.

“I’m sure that the students and staff on that campus have received graces from the prayers from the centuries,” he said. “Franciscan reinvigorate(d) a monastery that was dying, bringing new life into it.”

Students are enjoying seeing one of their favorite professors from Gaming around main campus.

“I honestly loved just how open he was,” said sophomore Aileen Casillas, who took McNamara’s Theology of the Body class in Gaming last semester. “It was nice that someone was really responsive to my questions.”

McNamara enjoys helping his students grow in knowledge and faith and helping them become better versions of themselves. He is glad to teach on the Steubenville campus this semester and happy “to know the faculty and see old students that (he has) taught.”