The St. Philip Neri Catholic Newman Center forms university students through an active faith-filled community to develop them as missionary disciples of Christ.
FOCUS at Tulsa
The University of Tulsa is blessed to host full-time campus missionaries from FOCUS, Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Read more about FOCUS at TU and their tremendous work.
“I have been incredibly blessed to serve my first year as a FOCUS missionary at The University of Tulsa, and I am so excited to come back for a second year! It is such a joy to work with the students and staff at the Newman Center, who truly desire to make Jesus known on campus. I am confident that when we, as a community, proclaim and give witness to the love of Christ, through our community, bible studies, and personal encounters, many souls will be freed from sin and death and brought in to freedom and fullness of life! Equipping, encouraging, and laboring alongside the young men at Tulsa is what Christ has called me to do, and it will bear much fruit, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam.” -Alexander Tsatsoulas
Peer Ministry Team
The Peer Ministry Team is the leadership group of Newman. They are an appointed group of students who function like the Newman Center’s student council. They work under the guidance of the chaplain to develop and organize the majority of the activities throughout the year. Check out the Newman information page.
“I am so excited to serve as a Peer Minister this year! I know that I learned a lot from past Peer Ministers, and I hope to be as helpful as they were. I have been so lucky to call Newman home for the past two years, and I am excited to have the opportunity to welcome others to that home. Through this experience, I hope to grow closer to my fellow Peer Ministers and all students involved at the Newman Center. ” -Claire Jolly
Our center is located on the campus of the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We are three blocks west of Harvard Avenue, between 4th Place and 5th Street. Our building is on the west side of Florence Avenue, across from John Rogers Hall and northwest of the Allen Chapman Activities Center (ACAC) and Hardesty Hall. Ample parking is available, including the 4th and College South Lot on the west side of our chapel.
The Saint Philip Neri Newman Center was established in 1946 to serve Roman Catholic students at the University of Tulsa. In 1991 it moved to its present location at 440 South Florence Avenue.
An active ministry on the TU campus, the Newman Center provides weekly liturgies, as well as educational, social, and service opportunities for students of all faiths. Students enrolled at other colleges and universities in the Tulsa area are encouraged to participate, too.
The Newman Center is a member of the National Catholic Student Coalition and the Catholic Campus Ministry Association. The Newman Center also connects with other campus ministries through regional and national conferences and retreats.
Catholic students on the University of Tulsa campus formed the Catholic Discussion Club. The first meeting was held on February 20, 1946 and Robert D. “Bob” Mannix was elected president. The Newman Club, established by members of the former Catholic Discussion Club, held its first meeting on October 2, 1946, in Marquette Hall at Christ the King Parish. Reverend John J. Sullivan, assistant pastor at Holy Family Cathedral, was the first chaplain and Bob Mannix was the first president. Father Sullivan would retire on August 8, 1993, in St. Joseph, Missouri as the Bishop of the Diocese Kansas City. The Tulsa Chapter of the Newman Center became affiliated with the National Newman Federation in Washington, D.C. and the Southwest Province.
A house with two lots at 3112 East 5th Street was purchased for the first permanent meeting place. Bishop McGuinness dedicated this building in December 1955. Reverend William J. McCarthy, assistant at Holy Family, was named the chaplain.
The Newman House underwent significant remodeling, which included a proper chapel. Bishop Reed blessed this chapel in April. At the time, the chaplain was Reverend Michael E. Keatinge, pastor of Claremore.
Mass was celebrated on the TU campus for the first time. Reverend Thomas K. Melton, the Newman chaplain and assistant pastor at St. Francis Xavier Church, offered the Eucharist at Sharp Chapel.
Reverend Robert T. “Bob” Schlitt was appointed as TU’s first full-time resident Catholic chaplain.
Sisters Rose Mary Elsbernd and Rosemary Hemesath, F.S.P.A. (Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration, of La Crosse Wisconsin) were asked by Bishop Ganter to assume responsibilities as campus ministers in the Tulsa area. The name of the Newman Center was changed to Metropolitan Tulsa Catholic Campus Ministry.
The Newman Center building was traded to the University of Tulsa for the land at the present site of the St. Philip Neri Catholic Newman Center. The original house was dismantled for the construction of the Allen Chapman Activity Center. The Newman Center temporarily moved to a small house at 3205 East 5th Place.
A building committee headed by Reverend Paul E. Eichoff formed to plan a new center.
Bishop Beltran assigned Reverend Timothy Davison as chaplain, while continuing as the chaplain at Bishop Kelley High School. Father Davison replaced Father Bob Schlitt, who completed his second assignment at TU, having served previously from 1965 to 1973.
The groundbreaking ceremony for the new center was held on May 22 at 4th Place and Florence. Construction began in August. The first board of trustees was appointed by Bishop Beltran.
The new St. Philip Neri Catholic Newman Center was dedicated on April 21, 1991, by Bishop Beltran. Reverend Timothy Davison was appointed full-time resident chaplain. Soon after, he was appointed as the diocesan vocation director.
Stuart Crevcoure entered the seminary and was the first TU student associated with the Newman Center to do so. St. Philip Neri House, a satellite residence for young men planning to enter the seminary, was established at 3rd Street and Florence. It was dedicated by Bishop Slattery on August 15.
Construction began on a new addition to the center, a game room named in honor of Bishop Sullivan. The Newman Society celebrates its 50th Anniversary on the TU campus with a Mass and dedication of the new game room on September 19.
Reverend Daniel Mueggenborg was named chaplain. The Newman Choir organized under the direction of student Brian Gonzales. The first ERiS Youth Rally for junior high school students was presented by Newman Center students.
The Newman Center sponsored its first education and immersion program. In December, a course in Marian theology was completed with a pilgrimage to the Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Annual high school confirmation retreats for area high school students began.
The Catholic Faith Series immersion program began with a year-long study of early church history and Catholic doctrine. The course ended with a two-week pilgrimage to Rome, Assisi, Florence, and Milan. Also, the Social Justice Guatemalan immersion program began. After an overview course in the Church’s teaching on social justice, student and staff of the Newman Center traveled to the Catholic Mission of Oklahoma in Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala. The construction of two homes for area families commenced. The Catholic Faith Series was recognized by the Catholic Campus Ministry Association as one of six exemplary programs nationwide.
Father Jack Gleason, pastor of the Church of the Madalene and the diocese’s vocation director, was named chaplain of the Newman Center. Father Stuart Crevcoure, a Newman Center alumnus, was named assistant chaplain.
Father Joe Townsend, pastor at Saints Peter and Paul Church, was named chaplain. Father Stuart Crevcoure continued as assistant chaplain and was also named parish administrator for Sacred Heart Church in Sapulpa, Oklahoma.
Father Stuart Crevcoure, was appointed chaplain of the Newman Center. The Social Justice Guatemalan Immersion program was recognized by the Catholic Campus Ministry Association as one of six exemplary programs in the nation.
The Newman Center library received an important collection of books from the estate of Dr. Robert Tompkins. Included in this collection are several rare volumes from the personal library of Cardinal John Henry Newman.
The Newman Scholars Program was inaugurated. Five scholarships for Catholic students at the University of Tulsa are endowed through the university.
Father Jovita Okonkwo was appointed Chaplain of the Newman Center and Father Gary Kastl was appointed Assistant Chaplain.
Father Matthew Gerlach was appointed Chaplain of the Newman Center, sharing duties with his appointment as Vocations Director. Father Matt also renovated the apartment at the Newman Center and lived there during his tenure at the Newman Center. The Chapel of the Good Shepherd was repaired due to damage during a rainstorm.
Father Kerry Wakulich was named part-time Chaplain of the Newman Center in addition to his duties as Chaplain at Bishop Kelley High School. The Faith and Food program was recognized by the Catholic Campus Ministry association as one of six exemplary programs in the nation.
FOCUS (Fellowship of Catholic University Students) missionaries served the students of TU for the first time. The missionaries offer their daily life for serving Christ by praying, being vibrant on campus, starting Bible studies, and fostering disciples to multiply the flock. Read more about FOCUS at TU and their tremendous work.
The Freese Patio was constructed on the west side of the building with a fireplace and plenty of space for students to enjoy time together.
The Newman Center kitchen was completely remodeled, updating the entire space from its original construction in 1991.
The University of Tulsa campus added Hardesty Hall, a new residence hall, to the southeast of the Newman Center. The addition changed our Florence Avenue location to end the street outside our building and updated the parking and entrance of our east side. Thanks to the support of Jack and Patty Freese, who made the updates to the west side patio in 2013 possible, we revamped the east side courtyard to be a welcoming main entrance for all. This project included a welcoming Jesus statue, Holy Trinity water feature, extra bench seating, stamped concrete and pergola arched walkway and updated landscaping.
The St. Philip Neri Newman Center celebrated 25 years in our home at 440 South Florence Avenue and honored all past chaplains at the annual Society Dinner Gala in March. Father Bryan Ketterer was named full-time chaplain at the Newman Center in addition to spending one day each week at Bishop Kelley High School.
The St. Philip Neri Newman Center dedicated the new and renovated spaces provided by our Inspired by Faith Capital Campaign on November 14, 2018. This campaign added new square footage, the Blessed Stanley Rother Classroom, to the second floor. The existing second floor, as well as the lobby, was completely gutted and restructured to better fit the current and future needs of our ministry. To see Inspired by Faith Campaign photos, from wall breaking to dedication, visit our Facebook album.
1946-1947 Rev. John Sullivan*
1947-1948 Msgr. Victor Reed*
1948-1950 Rev. John Seary*
1950-1951 Rev. Elmer Ernst*
1951-1955 Rev. Peter Brickner*
1955-1958 Rev. William McCarthy*
1958-1961 Rev. Michael Keatinge*
1961-1962 Rev. James Kastner*
1962-1965 Rev. Thomas Melton*
1962-1965 Rev. Francis Manning, Assistant*
1965-1973 Rev. Robert Schlitt*
1973-1974 Rev. George Lutjen*
1974-1975 Rev. John McNamee*
1975-1976 Msgr. Cecil Finn*
1976-1977 Rev. Jake Males*
1977-1978 Rev. Neal Brogan*
1978-1980 Rev. Christopher Daigle
1980-1983 Rev. Thomas Hildebrand*
1983-1987 Rev. J. Richard Bradley
1987-1989 Rev. Robert Schlitt*
1989-1998 Rev. Timothy Davison
1998-2001 Rev. Daniel Mueggenborg
2001-2002 Rev. Jack Gleason
2001-2003 Rev. Stuart Crevcoure, Assistant
2002-2003 Rev. Joe Townsend
2003-2007 Rev. Stuart Crevcoure
2007-2008 Rev. Jovita Okonkwo
2007-2008 Rev. Gary Kastl, Assistant
2008-2011 Rev. Matthew Gerlach
2011-2016 Rev. Kerry Wakulich
2016- Rev. Bryan Ketterer
*denotes our deceased past chaplains