Remembering Michael Novak

Yesterday I wrote about knowing Ben Novak for ten years, and toasting to his 75th birthday. Today I’m sharing the program from a program honoring his brother Michael at Catholic University of America here in Washington, DC:

A Legacy of Faith and Reason: Honoring Michael Novak

Join the Busch School of Business and Economics for a very special event honoring Michael Novak – a mentor, colleague, and friend – on the occasion of the first anniversary of his death.We will welcome the Novak family and hear from a number of voices, celebrating and reflecting on Michael’s life and work, as well as our role in carrying forward his legacy of faith, reason, and service to both our Church and our country.


  • 8:45 a.m. – Registration and continental breakfast
  • 9:30 a.m. – Welcome and introductory remarks, Dr. Andrew Abela, provost, The Catholic University of America
  • 9:45 a.m. – Dr. Jay Richards, The Catholic University of America and host of EWTN series “A Force for Good”
  • 10:30 a.m. – Break
  • 10:45 a.m. – Panel of Catholic University colleagues including Dr. Michael Pakaluk and Dr. Max Torres
  • 11:30 a.m. – Fr. Robert Sirico, founder and president, Acton Institute
  • 12:15 p.m. – Lunch and screening of “A Force for Good”
  • 1:30 p.m. – Panel of former students
  • 2:15 p.m. – Remarks from Ms. Mary Ann Novak and Dr. Ben Novak
  • 3:00 p.m. – Mass in the Crypt of the Basilica of the National Shrine
  • 4:15 p.m. – Reception

I was standing just a few feet from Michael when the photo above was taken in Ave Maria, Florida, in front of what was then Ave Maria University’s Oratory. I think he was a bit tired that day, but his joie de vivre shines through in it nonetheless.

Michael was a joy to be around, even and especially when he was admonishing you for some failing and maybe especially when he was encouraging you to work harder, because in those moments you realized you were with someone who really cared about you, and really wanted you to strive for something greater, and to reject self-satisfaction and laziness.

I’m here today to hopefully honor that spirit of his, and to keep the flame alive. They’re streaming the event:

Robb Klucik from Ave Maria also sang this short, adapted version of Hillaire Belloc’s “Benedicamus Domino” in honor of Michael:

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