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Liturgical Architect to offer Keynote Address at Benedictine’s 2024 Discovery Day

Annual Day of Academic Presentations Set for April 17

Michael Raia

Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., will host its annual Discovery Day on Wednesday, April 17, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. This year, it will feature more than 60 presentations involving more than 300 students discussing their research on everything from the design and construction of a radio telescope to the ability of humans to detect AI-generated writing. The day will also feature a keynote address from Michael Raia, an architect and president of Studio io Liturgical Designs and Consulting. His presentation on designing sacred spaces is set for 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday, April 17, in O’Malley-McAllister Auditorium inside the St. John Paul II Student Center. All events and presentations are free and open to the public.

Each year, Benedictine College cancels its classes and meetings to allow for students and faculty to attend Discovery day, a day of learning focused on student projects that have been researched outside of the classroom. More than 3,200 students have participated in Benedictine’s Discovery Day since its inception in 1996. In that time, most faculty members and academic departments have taken an active role in sponsoring student projects.

As president of Studio io, Raia leads a team of Catholic design professionals who are passionate about beauty and renewal through the sacred arts. After 12 years of managing various religious and institutional projects for a commercial architecture firm, he felt called to pursue a graduate degree in liturgy and attended the Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary of the Lake in Chicago, where Bishop Barron was rector at the time. In 2018 he founded Studio io and has since been blessed to serve over 100 Catholic clients with design consulting, beautification and construction planning projects around the country.

This year, the firm completed numerous projects, including the new church for St. Mary’s Catholic Center at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and a new chapel and seminary addition for St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota. A core component of the firm’s mission involves liturgical catechesis, and Raia has been blessed to present to many different groups around the country. He is a native Texan and lives in Austin with his wife Hannah and their daughter Clare. His brother, Fr. Jonathan Raia, serves as the chaplain and director of the University Catholic Center at the University of Texas at Austin, their undergraduate alma mater.


Benedictine College

Founded in 1858, Benedictine College is a Catholic, Benedictine, residential, liberal arts college located on the bluffs above the Missouri River in Atchison, Kansas. The school is honored to have been named one of America’s Best Colleges by U.S. News & World Report, the best private college in Kansas by The Wall Street Journal, and one of the top Catholic colleges in the nation by First Things magazine and the Newman Guide. It prides itself on outstanding academics, extraordinary faith life, strong athletic programs, and an exceptional sense of community and belonging. Benedictine College is dedicated to transforming culture in America through its mission to educate men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.