Bruce Grelle (MA’81, PhD’93) is Professor in the Department of Comparative Religion and Humanities at California State University, Chico. He recently published Antonio Gramsci and the Question of Religion: Ideology, Ethics, and Hegemony (Routledge, 2017) and The Practices of Global Ethics: Historical Backgrounds, Current Issues and Future Prospects (co-author with F. Bird, S.B. Twiss, K.P. Pedersen, & C.A. Miller, Edinburgh University Press, 2016).
C. David Hein (MA'77) has resigned his professorship at Hood College (MD) to accept an offer to be a senior fellow at the George C. Marshall Foundation, in Lexington, VA. His many books include Noble Powell and the Episcopal Establishment in the Twentieth Century (U. of Illinois Press). Prof. Hein also delivered a Legacy Series Lecture at the George C. Marshall
Foundation, Lexington, VA, on March 15, 2018, which can be viewed on YouTube.
Lubomir Martin Ondrasek (AMRS'05, the president and co-founder of Acta Sanctorum, a Chicago-based Christian non-profit that works for positive transformation in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe (presently focusing on Slovakia), has recently published his new book Krestanstvo, etika a verejný život [Christianity, Ethics, and Public Life]. The book consists of fifty commentaries that he wrote for Denník N and SME (prominent Slovak newspapers) in the last three years. The book was endorsed, among others, by Tomáš Halík, who won the 2014 Templeton Prize, and Martin Bútora, who served as the Slovak ambassador to the United States and is currently an advisor to Andrej Kiska, President of Slovakia.
Ted Peters (MA'70, PhD'73), is Professor of Systematic Theology and Ehtics at the Graduate Theological Union. In 2017 he published God in Cosmic History (Anselm Academic), which nests human history and natural history within cosmic history, and poses the question of transcendence. This book is the focus of "Author Meets Critics" including responses by Lowell Gustafson, Ann Milliken Pederson, Nancy Howell, George Murphy, and Franciso J. Ayala in the journal Science, Religion, and Culture 4:1 (Feb. 2018) 1-36.
Ilsup Ahn (PhD'05) recently published Just Debt: Theology, Ethics, and Neoliberalism (Baylor University Press, 2017).
Maynard Kaufman (PhD71), who had volunteered in the organic farming movement especially since he retired from teaching Religion and Environmental Studies at Western Michigan University, has published a book, The Organic Movement in Michigan (2007). The publisher was Michigan Organic Food and Farm Alliance in Lansing, Michigan.
Dov Weiss (PhD'11) has been awarded the Nahum S. Sarna Memorial Award for scholarship from the Jewish Book Council for his book Pious Irreverence: Confronting God in Rabbinic Judaism (University of Pennsylvania Press). Weiss is an Assistant Professor of Jewish Studies in the Department of Religion at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He was a Martin Marty Fellow in 2011 and was the Alan M. Stock Fellow at Harvard University’s Center for Jewish Studies in 2012. Specializing in the history of Jewish biblical interpretation and rabbinic theology, recent articles include "Sins of the Parents in Rabbinic and Early Christian Literature" [Journal of Religion 97:1], “Divine Concessions in the Tanhuma Midrashim” [Harvard Theological Review (108:1)] and “The Sin of Protesting God in Rabbinic and Patristic Literature” [AJS Review 39:2].
George W. Shields (PhD'81) Professor Emeritus of Philosophy and Environmental Studies and former University Distinguished Professor at Kentucky State University, has been appointed to the Comparative Humanities PhD Program faculty at the University of Louisville, where he also teaches in the Department of Philosophy. His paper entitled "Analytical Critiques of Whitehead's Metaphysics," co-authored with Leemon B. McHenry, was published in the Journal of the American Philosophical Association, Vol. 2, No. 3 (Fall 2016), also available from Cambridge University Press at http://journals.cambridge.org (August 2016 issue). His “Review of Donald A. Crosby, Nature as Sacred Ground: A Metaphysics for Religious Naturalism,” appears in Process Studies, Vol. 46, No. 2 (Fall/Winter 2017). Also, his paper entitled “Neoclassical Deep Empiricism: On Hartshorne’s Relation to the Empirical Sciences” has been accepted for presentation at the annual meeting of the American Philosophical Association-Pacific Division to be held in San Diego, CA, March 28 – 31, 2018. The paper is based, in part, on new research into Prof. Charles Hartshorne’s activities with the now disbanded University of Chicago X-Club (a selective association of natural scientists and philosophers) and Hartshorne’s close relationship with nuclear physicist Leo Szilard, an important member of the Manhattan Project who patented the idea of a nuclear reactor with Enrico Fermi.
Matthew R. Foster (MA'77, PhD'87), Professor in the Department of Theology and Religious Studies at Molloy College, Long Island, New York, has recently published The Human Relationship to Nature: The Limit of Reason, the Basis of Value, and the Crisis of Environmental Ethics (Lexington Press, 2016).
Rev. Richard Lawrence (MDiv) was recently awarded the "Moral Courage Award" and given the honor of being the keynote speaker at the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King memorial breakfast by San Diego's African-American clergy association. In addition, he introduced his book Light, Bright, Damn Near White at a public book signing on November 9th, 2017, at Christian Fellowship Congregational Church (San Diego).
Rory Osborne (MA'75) recently retired from the University of California at Davis but is still maintaining a part-time private clinical practice.
Robert M. Franklin (PhD'85) has been appointed James T. and Berta R. Laney Professor in Moral Leadership at Candler School of Theology, Emory University and Senior Advisor to the President of Emory. He writes that "it was a delight to return to Swift Hall in 2016 to participate in the unveiling of the Benjamin E. Mays Portrait. Dr. Mays was a Chicago alumni (MA and PhD) and former President of Morehouse College. I am also proud of my son and alumnus, Rev. Julian DeShazier, who serves the University Christian Church and the local community."
Beau Underwood (MDiv'10) has been invited to give the annual Founders Day Address at Eureka College. Rev Underwood is a 2006 Eureka College graduate and senior minister of First Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Jefferson City, Missouri. His address is titled “The Virtue of Vocation” and will emphasize how the liberal arts tradition is not just about teaching critical thinking or professional skills, as so often depicted today, but about training students in virtue so that in acquiring their education they might discover a sense of vocation. Underwood is currently working on a doctorate at the University of Missouri’s Truman School of Public Affairs. In addition to serving his congregation in Jefferson City, Rev. Underwood is the First Vice-Moderator of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for the 2017-2019 biennium and Board Chair for Higher Educational and Leadership Ministries for 2017-2018.
Eureka College was incorporated on Feb. 6, 1855 by an act of the Illinois Legislature. The founding date coincides with the birth date of the college’s most famous alumnus, Ronald Reagan, who graduated in 1932. The College was founded by members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and is among 17 colleges and universities affiliated with the church.
Elizabeth Pérez (MA'97, PhD'10, History of Religions) has been awarded the 2017 Clifford Geertz Prize in the Anthropology of Religion for her first book, Religion in the Kitchen: Cooking, Talking, & the Making of Black Atlantic Traditions (New York University Press, 2016). Drawing on years of research in Chicago among African American practitioners of Lucumí--the transnational tradition popularly known as Santería--Pérez focuses on the behind-the-scenes ritual labor of the women and gay men responsible for feeding the gods. The Society for the Anthropology of Religion confers the Geertz Prize annually "to foster innovative scholarship, the integration of theory with ethnography, and the connection of the anthropology of religion to the larger world." Pérez is assistant professor of Religious Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
Julian DeShazier (MDiv'10) has been named one of Crain's Chicago Business "40 Under 40" class for 2017. The Senior Pastor of University Church of Chicago, Rev. DeShazier was noted for his work on the South Side adult trauma center, set to open at UChicago Medicine in May 2018.
Rev. Tabitha Isner, MDiv'09, is a dual degree graduate (she also holds an MPP from the Harris School of Public Policy). She has announced a pollitical campaign for Alabama's Second Congressional District. "So much of a representative's job is really about pastoral care - actively listening to constituents and validating the underlying anxieties and fears that motivate them. At a time when so many in society are feeling unheard, we need representatives that are able to demonstrate empathy and resist the drive toward tribalism. I think my ministerial training has prepared me well for that task," said Rev. Isner. Isner lives in Montgomery, AL, and currently works in the early childhood policy field.
Three of our alumni – one of whom is also a faculty member – were recently interviewed on WBEZ Chicago's "Worldview" program on issues around The Enhancing Life Project.
Maria Antonaccio, AM'85, PhD'96, discusses her alternate theories of sustainability, and how they spill into modern discourse around climate change.
(L-R): Timothy Lee (PhD'96), Bryce E. Rich (PhD'17), and Brandon Cline (PhD'16) prepare for convocation at Brite Divinity School (Fort Worth, TX) where the three now serve.
The American Academy of Religion's Committee on the Public Understanding of Religion is pleased to announce Winnifred Fallers Sullivan (JD’76, PhD’93 and a former Divinity School Dean of Students) as the recipient of the 2017 Martin E. Marty Award for the Public Understanding of Religion. Sullivan is professor of religious studies and affiliate professor of law at Indiana University Bloomington. She is widely known for her critical studies of American law and jurisprudence about religion. Her public scholarship on religion and her work as an expert witness have had an important impact in courtrooms, prisons, military units, and government offices from city halls to the State Department.
Teresa Hord Owens (MDiv'03), Dean of Students in the Divinity School, was elected to serve as the General Minister and President of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada. She is the first African-American to hold this post and the second woman to lead the denomination.
Hord Owens comes to the position in a time of renewed emphasis on the issues of race, particularly in the United States. Her election comes on the 50th anniversary of the Merger Agreement uniting the African-American and largely white branches of the American-born denomination. She is currently pastor of a predominately white congregation in the Chicago area.
“We need to stop demonizing differences as deficiencies,” Hord Owens says. “We should seek to understand, to work through our differences in priorities, opinions, methods, and goals. This will not be easy, but imagine what an example this will be for the world if we can bridge the gaps in politics, identity, geography and theology.” Read our full story.
Jamil Khoury (AMRS'92) has been selected by the Diversity Leadership Council to receive the 2017 Diversity Leadership Award for University of Chicago Alumni.
The University of Chicago's Diversity Leadership Council was appointed by President Robert J. Zimmer in 2007 to help ensure that the University’s relationships with its staff, surrounding neighborhoods, and business partners appropriately reflect the University’s commitment to diversity as part of its core mission. As part of its role, the Diversity Leadership Council recognizes annually a University of Chicago alumna/us who has provided leadership in advancing social justice and equity, furthering the University’s goal of achieving greater diversity across our community and society.
Mr. Khoury was recognized on January 9th in Ida Noyes Hall. University President Robert J. Zimmer conferred the award, saying, "Jamil has worked tirelessly to challenge stereotypical narratives against Asian, Middle Eastern, and Muslim Americans. He has created opportunities for writers, artists, and performers of color to bring their stories and craft to the stage. As an alumnus of this university, his use of the arts to counter dominant narratives, to educate the community, and to promote inclusion and social justice for underrepresented groups exemplifies the values of the university and its commitment to diversity and inclusion."
Also recognized were Rudy Nimocks (Diversity Leadership Staff Award) and Margaret Beale Spencer (Diversity Leadership Faculty Award).
photo credit: Malik Gillany, Silk Road Rising
Phyllis D. Airhart (MA'81; PhD'85) is the winner of the 2016 Book Prize from the CSSR/SCÉR (Canadian Society for the Study of Religion) for A Church with the Soul of a Nation: Making and Remaking the United Church of Canada. The annual award recognizes an outstanding monograph in the field of Religious Studies. Airhart is Professor of the History of Christianity at Emmanuel College in the University of Toronto and cross-appointed to the Department for the Study of Religion.
Ralph Keen (PhD'90) was named President-Elect of the American Society of Church History at the 2017 meeting in Denver. Ralph is professor of history, Schmitt Chair in Catholic Studies, and dean of the Honors College at the University of Illinois at Chicago.