Professor Profile

Dr. Alan Schreck

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Professor Profile

Dr. Alan Schreck

Franciscan’s longest-serving professor talks theology and teaching.

Winter 2022 | Celeste Fortenberry

In This Article

I’ve been around a long time,” says Dr. Alan Schreck, Franciscan University’s longest-serving professor.

In 44 years, he has accomplished much: theologian, professor, department chair, best-selling author, TV personality, conference leader and speaker, Baron track coach, husband, father of 5, grandfather of 13—and counting. Mentor to many.

His story is Franciscan University’s renewal story. A year after graduating from Notre Dame, Schreck met Father Michael Scanlan, TOR, soon to become president of the College of Steubenville. Father Mike said he wanted to make Jesus Christ the Lord of every aspect of campus.

That planted a seed in Schreck’s heart. He pursued graduate degrees in Scripture and Church history, especially the history of spiritual renewal movements. By January of 1978—four years after his first encounter with Father Mike—Schreck was teaching theology at the College of Steubenville.

He says the movement to rebuild the Church led by St. Francis and his followers was “similar in many ways” to the modern movement led by Father Mike and his band of friars “touched by the grace” of the charismatic renewal. Schreck joined the Community of God’s Love, the local charismatic community, in 1978 and is still a member and leader.

“The Franciscan charism and the charism of renewal are so compatible,” says Schreck. The wedding of the two at Franciscan provides “joy and freedom” to the students.

In his early years, the campus was small, there were only four full-time theology faculty, and the theology major had just been established. Schreck lived in the nearly empty Tommy More dorm, he advised a household, and he helped form the theology major.

In the ’80s, he developed the MA Theology Program, an “essential piece to becoming a university.” Dr. Regis Martin and Dr. Mark Miravalle joined the faculty; Dr. Andy Minto and current Franciscan University President Father Dave Pivonka, TOR, were students.

He wrote his first of 16 books, including Catholic and Christian, which became a bestseller (half a million copies) and a classic. In 1982, he married Nancy Pflug. Households and summer conferences, including the Defending the Faith Conference, which he founded, fueled a “surge of spiritual renewal.”

In the ’90s, he hired Dr. Scott Hahn and Professor Barbara Morgan, who became director of the new catechetical program and mentored a generation of catechists.

Schreck was a strong advocate for distance learning back in the ’90s. He calls it missionary work: “We have to reach those who can’t come to Franciscan.”

Division III sports, too, have an advocate in Schreck. For eight years, he helped coach the track team and remains their number one fan.

He also prays for Franciscan University daily. On his Rosary walks, he devotes a decade to praying that the grace of the Holy Spirit will continue to fall on campus and bring this good work to completion.

By August of 2023, Schreck plans to retire from full-time teaching.

“I’m grateful to the Lord for putting me here,” he says. “This is the apostolate—the ‘vineyard’—he’s given to me, and I have been richly blessed by it in so many ways.”


Celeste (Gregory ’93) Fortenberry writes from Lincoln, Nebraska.

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