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Rev. Joseph Thorning (1985)

As a young Jesuit Scholastic in 1924, Joe Thorning initiated the National Catholic Invitational Basketball Tournament. For seventeen years until its demise during World War II, the tourney featured teams from across the country. It grew so popular that many states were forced to start their own tournaments to select which team would make the trip to Chicago. After leaving the Academy, Father Thorning became a world renowned Catholic Scholar. He was recognized especially for his knowledge of Latin American history, which earned him the title "Padre of the Americas" from former Senator Mike Mansfield. Fr. Thorning died on March 8, 1985 at the age of 88.

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