Dr. Gerard F. (Jerry) Baumbach
Born in New York City and raised on Long Island, I left the “city lights” for Saint Michael’s College in Vermont in 1964. A week after graduation I married my wife Elaine. We have three great sons, three great daughters-in-law, and six wonderful grandchildren, who keep us hopping!
A four-year stint in the Air Force began soon after college, including a lengthy assignment on the island of Okinawa, where God’s call to lay ministry eventually led me back to the United States. In 1978, after six years as a parish catechetical leader in the Diocese of Albany, I joined Sadlier, the New York City-based publisher. My varied work there included service as director of catechetics and later executive vice president and publisher. Graduate studies formed a parallel path for me in the 1970s and 1980s, resulting in a master’s degree in counseling from the University of Maryland and a doctorate in religious education from New York University.
After nearly 25 years with Sadlier, I was invited to join the faculty of the Institute for Church Life to help launch Echo. So in 2003 Elaine and I packed our bags and moved to Indiana. I served as director for eight years and as a concurrent professor in the Department of Theology until my retirement in 2013. Now, as professor emeritus in the Institute and director emeritus of Echo, I rejoice at Echo’s enduring growth in service to the Church’s catechetical mission. At Notre Dame I was blessed to work alongside highly-talented and faith-filled colleagues. Echo’s gifted and resilient staff holds at its heart the apprentices and theology teachers who give new life to the Echo vision through an array of partnerships and numerous opportunities for service, academic fulfillment, and leadership.
Dr. Baumbach was recently named among the most influential Christian educators of the 20th century by the Talbot School of Theology at Biola University. This honor was also mentioned in Notre Dame’s Catholic Mission Report on page 31 here.