Graduate Student Mentorship Award

The Arts & Letters Graduate Student Mentorship Award, established by Dean Sarah Mustillo in 2022–23, is presented annually to one member of the tenured faculty in the College who has demonstrated outstanding scholarly mentorship of, and professional care for, doctoral or MFA students.

The ideal awardee has a strong and sustained record of extensive graduate mentorship, evidenced by uncommon student success (e.g., graduation rates, publications, and placements). They also have a consistent and extraordinary commitment to developing students as teachers and departmental citizens. To be eligible for nomination, individuals must have been on the faculty at Notre Dame for at least five consecutive years.

2024 Winner: Michael Rea

Michael Rea's headshot shows him from the chest up. He is a white male with no hair, wearing square, black-framed glasses and a dark grey and blue plaid shirt.

Michael Rea is the Rev. John A. O’Brien Professor of Philosophy and director of the Center for Philosophy of Religion.

Rea believes good graduate mentorship goes beyond helping students through their scholarly achievements — it also requires myriad traits like kindness, empathy, an ability to connect with students, and a willingness to be challenged and change.

“It's not just helping someone through a particular philosophical project, " he said. “It's helping them to build an identity and a way of being within the profession.”

During his tenure, Rea has personally supervised 12 Ph.D students and is currently mentoring six. Those he has mentored have landed tenure-track jobs at prestigious programs such as Rutgers University, Fordham University, Yale-NUS in Singapore, the University of Missouri, Washington State University, Calvin University, San Jose State University, the University of Wyoming, and more.

Rea’s research focuses primarily on topics in philosophy of religion, analytic theology, metaphysics, and feminist philosophy. He has written or edited more than 15 books and 50 journal articles and has given numerous lectures around the world, including the 2017 Gifford Lectures at the University of St. Andrews.

Rea received the Graduate Student Mentorship Award at the Arts & Letters Spring Faculty Meeting on Tuesday, May 7.

“Rea has been our most successful graduate mentor in philosophy over the past two decades. His selfless pursuit of the intellectual growth of his students and his evident care for their well-being, combined with his extraordinary successes in their training and placement, sets him apart as a truly outstanding graduate advisor and as someone eminently worthy of this award.”

— Samuel Newlands, the Carl E. Koch Professor of Philosophy and chair of the department

Previous Award Recipients

Year   Recipient Media Department
2024 Michael Rea News story


2023 Jean Porter News story, Video