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Unsung Heroes: Professor James Gaston

Meredith (Cavallo ’96) Di Liberto

I would like to speak to an unsung hero right there on Franciscan’s campus: Professor James Gaston. When I showed up as a freshman in the fall of 1992, I had no idea what major I wanted to choose. I had no “call” to a particular vocation or mission. After listening to Professor Gaston’s enthusiastic pitch for the Humanities and Catholic Culture Program, I was sold. I had no idea how pivotal that decision would be.

Over the next four years, I would field the question, “Humanities and Catholic Culture?! What are you going to *do* with that?!,” a million times. And each time I answered with Professor Gaston’s favorite reply: “Anything I want.” Looking back now, I would answer, “Everything I want.” The fruits of the HCC Program literally touch every facet of my life. 

Professor Gaston’s dedication to the fading art of rational thinking, the thrill of learning for the sake of learning, and exploring the interplay of the human person, our Creator, and the world has been a gift unparalleled. This gift has shaped how I navigate everything from writing a brief for the U.S. Supreme Court to how I help my kids learn to appreciate the beauty of everyday life in the midst of uncertainty and craziness.

The influence of Professor Gaston spreads beyond the merry band of HCC majors. He has positively affected our spouses, children, co-workers, parishes, and communities. Professor Gaston never seeks the limelight, but I nominate him as an unsung hero just the same. I am eternally grateful to him.

Meredith (Cavallo ’96) Di Liberto, her husband (USN, Ret.), and three kids moved to Pennsylvania a couple of years ago. Meredith works for Judicial Watch, Inc. as an attorney. She also teaches CCD and volunteers with the middle school youth group.