PROFILE OF JOHN A. GUEGUEN, JR.
John Arthur Gueguen, Jr., is the son of John Arthur
(1910-1992) and Marjorie Agnes (Mallot) Gueguen
(1910-1997)—their first-born (four daughters followed). His father was descended from immigrants to
the United States from Brittany in the late 19th
century; his mother was descended from Irish immigrants in the mid 19th
century. Both families settled in Lexington, a small river town in western Missouri.
Both parents practiced the Catholic faith with devotion; aided by the priests
and nuns of Immaculate Conception church and school they instilled in their
children a solid life of piety.
John Jr. (known as Jack in the family and at school)
was born in Independence, Mo. on Flag Day, June 14, 1933, and baptized
July 2 at St. Mary’s Church. His
education began at home with Compton’s Pictured Encyclopedia. After several moves to other river towns in Missouri, the family returned to Lexington in 1944. Gueguen graduated (salutatorian) from Lexington High School
in 1951 (having taken part in numerous school activities) and from Wentworth Military Academy
(Junior College) as Honor Graduate in 1953 (having followed the pre-engineering
curriculum and editing the school paper).
Gueguen transferred to the Univ. of Notre Dame,
intending an architecture major, but soon switched to
the program in journalism (communication arts) in the College of Arts
and Letters, and joined the band (trombone).
At Notre Dame he learned to study hard, pray well, and form friendships
with fellow students and faculty members.
He graduated in June 1956 magna cum laude, and awarded an
assistantship (with Gerhart Niemeyer) in Notre Dame’s
masters program in Soviet and East European Studies (M.A., 1958).
Later that year Gueguen was asked to
fill a sudden faculty vacancy in the political science dept., and this became
the beginning of a lifetime career in college teaching (interrupted by doctoral
studies with emphasis on political philosohy at the
Univ. of Chicago; Ph.D. June 1970; dissertation director, Joseph Cropsey). While
teaching at Notre Dame (1958-60, 1962-64, 1965-66) he served as assistant to
Eric Voegelin and in 1960 helped to establish Windmoor
House, a student residence and meeting center near the campus.
teaching career continued at San Francisco
State (1967-68) while helping to
establish Richmond Park Cultural
Center for supplementary education of
high school students, and in the College of the Univ.
of Chicago (1970-72); his long tenure
at Illinois State Univ. (Normal)
began in Sept., 1972. There he devoted
24 years to the intellectual and personal formation of several thousand
students and formed many lifetime friendships.
In 1981 he was selected teacher of the year in the Arts and Sciences College and delivered the Arts and Sciences
Lecture. He became emeritus in 1996; at
that time the annual Thomas More Scholarship was created in the Dept. of
Politics and Government to honor high achievers in political thought who intend
careers in public service.
Gueguen’s primary achievement at Illinois State
was in researching and teaching political thought and great books courses, as
supplemented by informal discussions with students and conference papers for
colleagues. He participated in a dozen
professional associations and published frequent articles and book
reviews. He was a co-founder of the
Society of Catholic Social Scientists (1990).
His principal extra-curricular activity (1983-92) was heading the
American delegation to the annual UNIV congresses in Rome and editing the ICU (Institute for University
Cooperation) quarterly, Cooperation in Education; nine ISU students
accompanied him on those trips. He also
helped to develop and often taught a study skills course for high school and
college students. Between 1980 and 2005
he taught courses in moral and social philosophy and the history of philosophy
in Summer Semesters of Christian Philosophy.
During the fifty years of his academic career Gueguen
acquired a substantial library and archive in the history of philosophy and
political thought. This is located in
part at Wespine
(his retirement residence in suburban St. Louis)
and at Lincoln Green, a student residence and meeting
center he helped to establish in 1989 near the Univ.
of Illinois in Urbana.
He maintains active association with more than 50 former students and colleagues,
as well as his four sisters, their 19 children, and 40-some grandchildren, visiting
whenever possible and writing often.