Dr. Kyle Washut (’07) Named President of Wyoming Catholic College
August 10, 2023
After 16 years of service to Wyoming Catholic College — which mixes a Great Books curriculum with a commitment to the outdoors — Dr. Kyle Washut (’07) has been appointed the school’s fourth president, assuming leadership of an institution which shares a deep spiritual kinship with his alma mater.
This kinship began, Dr. Washut observes, as a friendship between Dr. Ronald McArthur, founding president of Thomas Aquinas College, and Dr. John Senior, co-founder of the erstwhile Integrated Humanities Program (IHP) at the University of Kansas. “One day, early during my time as a student at Thomas Aquinas College, I was dining at [tutor] Dr. John Nieto’s house,” recalls Dr. Washut. “Naturally, my car — with its distinctive Wyoming license plates — was parked out front. At one point during the evening, Dr. McArthur burst into the room, calling out in his booming voice, ‘Who’s the guy from Wyoming?’ He proceeded to buttonhole me, regaling me with stories of his time in Wyoming and of his friendship with Dr. Senior.”
As the Most Rev. James D. Conley, Bishop of Lincoln, Nebraska, noted in his 2023 Commencement Address on the College’s California campus, although they did not always agree on particulars, Dr. McArthur and Dr. Senior were “fellow co-conspirators … engaged in a bold project that would have a lasting impact on the renewal of the liberal arts in the West.” The College and the IHP were among the first generation of institutions to realize that project — and Wyoming Catholic, established in 2005, is foremost among the next.
Dr. Washut has watched this project unfold from many vantages at Wyoming Catholic over the years. He first came to the school soon after graduating from TAC in 2007, serving for two years as the inaugural assistant dean for student life before taking a break to earn a doctoral degree, after which he joined the school’s fulltime faculty in 2012, becoming the academic dean in 2019. Through it all, he has remained faithful to the essential wisdom at the heart of the two friends’ “conspiracy.”
“As the new president of Wyoming Catholic, I have been formed both by the thought of Dr. Senior (as communicated by my teacher and mentor, Dr. Robert Carlson, who studied under Senior himself at the IHP) and that of Dr. McArthur (passed on to me during my time as a student at Thomas Aquinas College),” says Dr. Washut. “This twofold formation has profoundly shaped me as an educator and as a man, and has prepared me, I believe, to guide this unique college into the future — a future informed by the intellectual richness and spiritual boldness each of these great men had to offer.”
Having been appointed to his new position on August 7, Dr. Washut will formally take the helm as Wyoming Catholic College’s president at its matriculation ceremony on August 20, with a formal inauguration to be held later in the year.
“I am pleased to extend my warm congratulations to Dr. Washut, his family, and the whole Wyoming Catholic College community,” says Dr. Paul O’Reilly, president of Thomas Aquinas College. “Just as Dr. McArthur and Dr. Senior’s friendship deepened through their years spent in the common project of revitalizing Catholic liberal education, I hope and pray that our two schools may grow closer as we continue the project they started.”