Learn more about the GTF’s special “All But Dissertation” Doctor of Philosophy Degree Completion Program.
Robert Norris, I’m a Catholic priest of the Archdiocese of New York. I’m currently, I’m a pastor of a moderate church [with] about 1,000 families in Westchester County; prior to that it was 13 years as pastor in an inner-city parish in the Bronx.
I studied in Rome and did my seminary training in Rome, and [it] was there that I started my studies in Scripture. Then I went back, was assigned to different parishes, continued the study of Scripture at Fordham University, [and] was able to complete the coursework and the comprehensives but not the dissertation. I always thought that I’d want to come back to that. In the meantime, I had been teaching theology and [studying] for a master’s degree in religious education, and when I finished my 13 years in the Bronx, I was asked for and received a sabbatical, [which] would be an opportunity to look into how I could complete this degree. I went back to Fordham but that was unsuccessful because it would have entailed much more, including redoing the comprehensives, redoing the language exams.
I do remember speaking to [Dr.] Ewert Cousins [of Fordham and Teilhard de Chardin Professor Emeritus at the GTF]; he was one of the people who helped me with the comprehensives at Fordham, and I knew his wife, and so it was at their home and he had mentioned the [Graduate Theological] Foundation. So when the time came to consider the sabbatical, I thought this would be a wonderful opportunity because I did all the coursework, and I really wanted the opportunity to write the dissertation.
I was very pleased when I looked online and saw your description of this program for those who are “ABD” and [thought] his would be a real opportunity to do so. And having a period of sabbatical to initiate that program really made sense.
(See more interviews with GTF students and alumni from the “All But Dissertation” Ph.D. Degree Completion Program.)