Saint Meinrad alumni receive Distinguished Award
July 30, 2014
Msgr. Michael Hohenbrink of the Diocese of Toledo, OH, and John
Buche of Washington, D.C., were honored as winners of the
Distinguished Alumnus Award on July 29, at the annual Saint Meinrad
The reunion was held on the Saint Meinrad campus, St. Meinrad,
IN, July 28-29.
Msgr. Michael Hohenbrink
Rev. Msgr. Michael
Hohenbrink is a member of the Saint Meinrad ordination class of
1974. He graduated from the high school in 1966, and then earned a
Bachelor of Arts degree from the college in 1970 and a Master of
Divinity from the School of Theology in 1974. He also studied at
Indiana University and earned a master's in human development from
St. Mary University, Winona, MN.
Over the last 40 years as a priest, Msgr. Hohenbrink has had
only four assignments, but he has impacted the lives of many
After his ordination on May 25, 1974, Msgr. Hohenbrink spent
four years teaching and as an associate pastor in Fremont, OH. He
was assigned as vocations director for the Diocese of Toledo in
1978 and held that position for 15 years.
Starting in 1993, Msgr. Hohenbrink was the pastor at St.
Catherine of Siena Parish in Toledo, OH, until being assigned to
St. Michael the Archangel Parish, Findlay, OH, in 2000. He has held
that position for 14 years.
Msgr. Hohenbrink has served on many boards and committees in his
community and beyond. He served on the Board of Overseers for Saint
Meinrad Seminary and School of Theology for 19 years. He was chair
of the board from 2000-2002 and has been an emeritus member since
Msgr. Hohenbrink has been involved with Teens Encounter Christ
retreats in the Diocese of Toledo for nearly 40 years. He serves as
dean for the St. Francis of Assisi Deanery in the Diocese of
Toledo, on the Ethics Committee at the Blanchard Valley Health
System and as chairman of the Ecumenical Ministerial Association in
He believes the monks of Saint Meinrad who served as his
teachers and ecclesial ministers deserve all the credit and
recognition. They created a "healthy and wholesome environment that
would give strength to people," Msgr. Hohenbrink states. "That
would make them good priests, good businessmen and good family
Mr. John Buche
During John Buche's 45-year career as a diplomat in
the U.S. Foreign Service, his work has spanned the globe.
In West Africa, he headed a crisis response team that brought
food and medicines to thousands of nomads and their flocks who were
trapped in the Sahara Desert during a drought.
While posted in Switzerland, he helped with the resettlement of
more than 95,000 East European and Soviet refugees to the United
In Central America, he was responsible for assuring safe refuge
for Salvadorans and Nicaraguans fleeing armed conflicts in their
But before those and other challenges, he came to Saint Meinrad
for six years, beginning in 1949 as a high school freshman from
"I cannot imagine any better educational and disciplinary
preparation for my eventual career as a diplomat in the United
States Foreign Service than what I experienced at Saint Meinrad,"
He completed his college work at Purdue University, earning a
Bachelor of Science degree in 1957. It was while he was a junior at
Purdue that he learned that a recruiter from the State Department
was on campus. Intrigued, he decided to take the entry exam.
"Up to then, I had my mind set on becoming a university
professor," he says. "When I passed the written and oral exams and
was offered a position, I dropped the idea of an academic career
and signed on with the Department of State. It turned out to be a
His work took him to Canada, Ethiopia, Malawi, Niger, Zambia,
Switzerland, Germany, Austria and the Philippines. In one notable
assignment, he was part of the team that coordinated the U.S.
government's response to the accidental shoot-down of an Iran Air
civilian airliner by the U.S. Navy destroyer Vincennes. He was
awarded the Superior Honor Award by the State Department.
John retired twice from the State Department, the first time in
1992. He then taught at Saint Meinrad College for two years. In
1996, he was asked to return to the State Department, where he
worked for 12 more years.
He and his wife, Anike, now live in Washington, D.C., where they
had lived between foreign assignments. They have two children,
three grandchildren and a great-grandchild.
Hohenbrink and Buche are the 23rd and 24th
Saint Meinrad alumni to receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award,
which was established in 1990.