Seton Hill Names New Director of the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education
Seton Hill University has named Tim Crain, Ph.D., as director of the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education. His appointment is effective July 1.
Seton Hill Interim President Bibiana Boerio said, "The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education at Seton Hill University provides a model for teaching the Holocaust and for building relations with the Jewish and Christian communities, and certainly, all religious groups. We are delighted that Dr. Crain will be part of our efforts to advance the Center's life-changing work."
Crain, who has extensive experience in Holocaust education and outreach in Wisconsin, will also hold the rank of assistant professor and will teach in the University’s Genocide and Holocaust Studies Program. His appointment occurs as Sister Gemma Del Duca, one of the two founding co-directors of the Center, becomes co-director emerita. Sr. Gemma will continue to serve as a consultant for the Center’s program with the Yad Vashem International School for Holocaust Studies in Israel. Sister Gemma and Sister Mary Noel Kernan, also a co-director emerita, founded the Center in 1987 with the support and direction of the then newly appointed president, Dr. JoAnne Boyle, and in response to the urging of Pope John Paul II to recognize the significance of the Holocaust and to promote its study.
Sister Gemma Del Duca sees this appointment as moving the Center forward: “Dr. Crain comes to the position of director with a strong educational background in modern Jewish, European, and Middle East history. He has been an outstanding teacher and an active academic involved in community, especially Jewish community affairs. He also brings to the position experience in programming, grant writing, and bridge building, all of which will be needed to move the Center forward into our fast moving technological world. Dr. Tim Crain’s skills in bridge building will be invaluable in reaffirming Seton Hill University’s deep commitment to Holocaust education within the context of Catholic history and identity and in the ongoing dialogue with Holocaust survivors, Catholic leaders, educators, scholars, and students.”
“I am delighted to welcome Tim Crain as the new director of the NCCHE,” said Sister Lois Sculco, Vice President for Mission, Institutional Identity and Student Life, who administers the activities of the Center in the United States. “I am confident that he will build on the vision of the founding co-directors while taking the Center and its programs, particularly The Ethel LeFrak Holocaust Education Conference, to new levels of significance.” Sculco continued, “All of us are very aware that Dr. Crain’s appointment comes at a time when our world faces tremendous discord. The challenges in the Ukraine underscore the need for the kind of work the Center supports—mending the world through education, understanding, and reconciliation.”
Rev. John T. Pawlikowski, O.S.M., Ph.D., Chair of the NCCHE Advisory Board said, “Sister Mary Noel and Sister Gemma along with Sister Lois Sculco and Wilda Kaylor have made the National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education an outstanding example of Catholic-Jewish dialogue at the university level.” He continued, “Focusing on Church history, documents, and Papal teaching, the Center brings to the faculty and students of Seton Hill University a living dialogue with survivors, scholars, and educators of the Holocaust. This is a great achievement for the work of interreligious understanding and peace that Dr. Tim Crain will continue to advance. I look forward to working with him as he assumes the directorship and leads the Center into a new era.”
“I am thrilled that Dr. Tim Crain will become the new director of our Center,” said Rabbi Sara Perman, who serves as chair of the Center’s Advisory Board Steering Committee and is the Rabbi of Congregation Emanu-El Israel in Greensburg, Pa. “I believe he will be a true asset to the Center, Seton Hill and our community at large. I cherish the retiring director Sister Gemma Del Duca and the work she has done and am confident that Dr. Crain with his interests and talents will continue and expand upon the work begun by Sister Gemma and Sister Mary Noel Kernan. I excitedly look forward to working with Dr. Crain as in the words of Seton Hill's motto we ‘Hazard Yet Forward.’”
Tim Crain said, “The National Catholic Center for Holocaust Education at Seton Hill University provides a model for teaching the Holocaust and for building relations with the Jewish and Christian communities, indeed, all religious groups. I am honored to be the Center’s new Director. The position ties together my two areas of specialization, Holocaust education and Jewish-Catholic relations. I plan to continue building and expanding this outstanding program that was started more than a quarter century ago. I look forward to working with the Advisory Board, alumni, friends, benefactors and community leaders to advance the Center.”
Crain added, “I will be forever indebted to the Jewish community of Milwaukee, and I thank them for their kindness, support, and most importantly, their friendship over the past fifteen years. My family and I look forward to the years ahead at Seton Hill University.”
Crain currently serves at the University of Wisconsin-Madison where he is adjunct assistant professor in the Center for Jewish Studies and teaches courses on the Holocaust, modern Jewish history, and comparative history of religions.
In addition to his work at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he serves as an adjunct professor in the College of Professional Studies at Marquette University. Prior to his current position, Crain held positions at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. He served as director of outreach and taught in the Center of Jewish Studies and was also a senior lecturer in the history department.
Crain has been recognized with Outstanding Teaching Awards from both Marquette University (1999) and the University of Wisconsin-Stout (1992). In 2010, Marquette University recognized him with an Outstanding Service Award for teaching and service excellence in the College of Professional Studies.
Known for his community involvement, Crain has had extensive experience in outreach, grant writing, programming, and bridge building with the Jewish community of Southeastern Wisconsin. He has served on the Holocaust Executive Board of Milwaukee since 2006. Since 2000, he has worked with Jewish Wisconsin Educational tours recruiting participants and leading tours for Jewish Community members to destinations of Jewish interest in Ireland, Britain, Spain, Central Europe and Israel. He has been a popular lecturer and guest speaker providing numerous presentations for organizations ranging from the Milwaukee Jewish Community Center to the Milwaukee Catholic Home.
Crain holds a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, history and political science from Marquette University, a master’s degree in British and Modern European history from Marquette University, and a Ph.D. with specializations in Modern Jewish, Modern Europe and Modern Middle East history from Arizona State University.
Dr. Crain and his wife, Paula, are the parents of a daughter, Kennedy, and two sons, Jack and Carson.