Alumni Profile: Elliot Milco
By Br. Stephen Ruhl, O.P.
Mr. Elliot Milco (MA ’13) is Deputy Editor of First Things magazine. Born and raised in Chicago, he came into the Catholic Church through the Dominican parish of St. Mary’s in New Haven, Connecticut, while studying at Yale University. He went on to study theology as a lay student at the Dominican House of Studies (DHS), where he was formed in the thought of St. Thomas Aquinas.
What influence did your studies at the Dominican House of Studies have on you?
My time at the DHS was easily the most intellectually nurturing time in my life. The quality of instruction, the level of rigor and concern for learning, the spirit of love for the truth—all of these aspects far outstripped anything I had experienced previously, and left me with a definite intellectual foundation from which to approach moral, metaphysical, and theological problems. They gave me the tools to see the integrity of Christian doctrine as something infinitely profound in its intelligibility, and to appreciate the mysteries of our faith not as an excuse for confusion but as an invitation to expect ever greater understanding.
Were there any particular friars who in influenced you?
Frs. John Baptist Ku, O.P., John Corbett, O.P., and Thomas Joseph White, O.P., were all stellar, each in his own distinctive way. But I think it’s safe to say that Thomas Aquinas has influenced me the most!
How has your education formed your writing at First Things?
I’ve tried to integrate an unabashedly Catholic, unabashedly traditional perspective, informed by Thomistic theology. Usually doing this requires no conscious effort, as these are all habits that were formed in me during my time at the DHS.
I believe emphatically in the importance of the DHS, in its tremendous power as an instrument in God’s hands for the restoration of all things in Christ by means of the truth of the Gospel. I’m very grateful to be able to support the work of the friars and would heartily encourage others to do so as well!