Professor Stephen Dunn, C.P., a Passionist priest and professor in the Faculty of Theology at the University of St. Michael’s College, was the founder and first director of the Elliott Allen Institute for Theology & Ecology. In the late 1970s, the Passionists’ Holy Cross Centre for Ecology and Spirituality in Port Burwell, Ontario, began exploring an emerging interest in the relationship between theology and its response to the ecological crisis. Significantly influenced by the work of geologian Thomas Berry, Stephen Dunn and the other members of the Centre’s staff used the workshops, retreats and colloquia of the Centre to delve into this new field. This collaborative process prompted the Faculty of Theology at St. Michael’s to welcome the creation of the EAITE in 1991. In that same year, its certificate of specialization in theology and ecology was extended to not only to the graduate students at St. Michael’s but also to the graduate students in the Toronto School of Theology.
Dr. Dunn has now retired from the university, but remains active with the Passionist Centre for Ecology and Spirituality. Both he and the Passionist community continue to provide support and valuable advice to the EAITE.