Saint Meinrad Seminary & School of Theology

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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 Alumni Reunion.

The reunion was held on the Saint Meinrad campus, St. Meinrad, IN, July 28-29.

Msgr. Michael Hohenbrink

Pic _hs _hohenbrinkRev. 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 people.

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 2010.

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 Findlay, OH.

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 men."

Mr. John Buche

Pic _hs _bucheDuring 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 States.

In Central America, he was responsible for assuring safe refuge for Salvadorans and Nicaraguans fleeing armed conflicts in their home countries.

But before those and other challenges, he came to Saint Meinrad for six years, beginning in 1949 as a high school freshman from Richmond, IN.

"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 says.

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 great decision."

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.