July 08, 2019

On June 26, 2019, CUA Law Stephen Payne was profiled in the Arlington Catholic Herald. Payne, who is focused on living his faith through work, started his deanship appointed on July 1, 2019.

“I’m interested in (this job) because of my Catholic faith and the Catholic identity and mission of the school,” he said. “It seemed like a good way to take the next challenge in my career and try to live my faith through my work.”

Payne thought getting the job was a longshot.

“The appointment meant a great deal,” he said. “I viewed the whole thing as providential because in my view, I was the unlikeliest of candidates at the start.”

Payne, a parishioner of St. James Church in Falls Church, said a law school with a Catholic tradition has some unique resources to offer. “The legal profession has a lot of struggles, a high rate of dissatisfaction, depression, addiction, and I think a law school in the Catholic tradition has some special things to offer folks who want to find their calling,” he said. “In educating the whole lawyer, I think there are some happy points of convergence between the Catholic tradition and what secular science is really proving helps make people happy and flourish. So, human flourishing or lawyer flourishing is what I think will be the emphasis.”

Payne said the law school is an open and welcoming community to all faiths. “What positive psychology might call character strengths we might call in the Catholic tradition, values,” he said. “There’s a neat point of convergence that can offer something distinct and helpful to those who are from a Catholic or Christian background and are interested in developing that as part of their education.”

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