Written by Fr. Michael Sweeney, OP, on May 2008 at the Induction in the College of Fellows
Richard Paul Gallagher, husband and father, administrator, scientist, teacher and mentor, loyal son of the church, the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology salutes you.
The late Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, designated the Catholic University as the institution through which our faith is to encounter contemporary culture. There is no more fruitful occasion for encounter than the sciences and applied sciences, particularly the health sciences.
As clinical professor in the Department of Health Care and Epidemiology at the University of British Columbia and head of Epidemiology and of the Cancer Control Research Program at the British Columbia Cancer agency, you have devoted yourself to cancer research for over thirty-five years. Your accomplishment has been prodigious: you have delivered over forty invited papers nationally and internationally, chairing the fifth and sixth World Congresses on melanoma; you have participated in the work of numerous scholarly committees, chairing many of them. You have published over 200 articles, authored or edited eight books, contributed chapters of a further twenty-four books, and sat on the editorial boards of many journals, including theAmerican Journal of Epidemiology, the Journal of the National Cancer Institute (USA), and theInternational Journal of Cancer. You have served as an external review for the granting agencies of the governments of Canada, the United States, Great Britain, Germany, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand. You have served as president of the Canadian Society for Epidemiology and Biostatistics and as a member of the Society for Epidemiological Research, the International Epidemiological Association, and of the International Melanoma Foundation, and are a Fellow of the American College of Epidemiology.
Our brother, St. Albert the Great, referred to his students as his socii –his colleagues. Very much in his spirit, as Head of Epidemiology at the B.C. Cancer agency since 1987, you have promoted, facilitated, financed, and mentored the work of young researchers, exercising a quiet and confident leadership. You have distinguished yourself, not only as a research scientist, but as an administrator, even at the sacrifice of your own research, facilitating the dialog between persons and agencies that is essential to the progress of our understanding of the disease of cancer and its treatment. In this you have won the esteem of your own colleagues in Canada who, in 2007, honored you with the Terry Fox Award for your work in cancer research.
The contribution of the Church in these fields is, preeminently the work of the Catholic laity. It calls for an effort that is worldwide: “…individual action is not sufficient. Collective, intelligent, well-planned, constant and generous work is required, and not only within the individual countries, but also on an international scale. Coordination on a world-wide level will, in fact, allow a better proclamation and a more effective witness of your faith, of your culture, of your Christian commitment in scientific research and in your profession” (John Paul II, Apostolic Letter Dolentium Hominum 4, 1985). You have fulfilled this hope of the Holy Father in your international leadership in this, most important, field.
It is essential to the philosophical and theological work of our School that we are informed of the issues and challenges that arise in the practice of scientific research and inquiry. We are deeply appreciative of your willingness to enter into dialog with us. Accordingly, in grateful recognition of your accomplishment and in anticipation of your collaboration with us, in virtue of the authority vested in me by the Board of Trustees of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, I am privileged to bestow upon you, Richard Paul Gallagher, the degree of Doctor of Humane Letters honoris causa, and to name you as a Fellow of the School.