The University of Scranton Hosts National Conference of Church-Related Colleges

Oct 9, 2013

The 23rd annual National Conference of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts will take place at The University of Scranton October 18–20, 2013. The theme of this year’s conference is “Faith and Academic Freedom in Civic Virtue.”

The University is one of approximately 100 member schools of the Lilly Fellows National Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities, the mission of which is to “renew and enhance the connections between Christianity and the academic vocation at church-related colleges and universities,” according to the organization’s website. The Lilly Fellows Program is based at Christ College, the interdisciplinary honors college of Valparaiso University in Northwest Indiana.

“As host of this year’s national conference, the University will provide a forum for dialogue about how we as individuals and institutions bring the values of faith and academic freedom to the service of civic virtue,” said conference chair Gretchen Van Dyke, Ph.D., associate professor of political science at Scranton and member of the LFP’s National Network Board. “As universities with faith missions our collective commitment to civic engagement arises directly from our devotion to open conversation, ecumenism and the search for truth.”

Three featured plenary speakers at the conference will represent three distinct narratives to ignite thought and dialog about ways individuals and faith-based institutions can bring the values of faith and academic freedom to the service of civic virtue.

Rev. Mark Ravizza, S.J., associate professor of philosophy and senior fellow at the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education at Santa Clara University, Santa Clara, Calif., will explore how an individual can incorporate the world – based on reason – as part of one’s personal and academic, faith-based vocation. Father Ravizza is the co-author of “Responsibility and Control” (with John Martin Fischer). The book explores the conditions under which individuals are morally responsible for actions, omissions, consequences, and emotions.

Patricia McGuire, J.D., president of Trinity Washington University, Washington, D.C., will address how a faith-based college or university develops programs or even transforms itself to address mission-based commitments, often which press the boundaries of faith and academic freedom. McGuire writes and speaks widely on topics concerning higher education, women and Catholic education. In 2012 the National Association of Independent Colleges and Universities recognized her leadership in higher education by presenting her with the Henry Paley Award.

 Robert Kapilow H’09, internationally renowned composer, commentator, author and conductor, will help conference attendees discuss why faith-based institutions embrace external, public projects and programs, and those individuals associated with them. Kapilow’s range of educational and community outreach initiatives include NPR’s “What Makes It Great?” and “Citypieces,” which involves communities in the inspiration and compositional process of his commemorative works. He is widely known for his efforts to nurture a greater appreciation of classical music in non-traditional audiences.

On Saturday, Oct. 19, participants will enjoy an “Evening of Jazz,” beginning with a pre-concert presentation by Grammy Award-winning writer, acclaimed musician and jazz historian Loren Schoenberg. Next, The University of Scranton’s Jazz Ensemble will perform with guest soloist and legendary jazz trombonist Wycliffe Gordon H’06.   Gordon and Schoenberg are also noted for their use of music to engage the community in artistic and intellectual endeavors.  The music talk and concert are both open to the public.

Other sessions of the conference are open only to representatives of National Network member institutions.

According to Dr. Van Dyke, National Network members generally are represented at each annual conference by two individuals:  a faculty member, typically from such disciplines as philosophy, theology, history, English or the fine arts, and an administrator, often a dean, provost or academic vice president.

The three-day conference will also include a Catholic mass, an interreligious reflection service, discussion groups, informal social gatherings, and a tour of  Scranton’s historic downtown area.

Prior to the conference the University will host the LFP’s 14th annual Workshop for Senior Administrators on Oct. 17-18. The workshop, titled “Mission and the Economic Challenges Facing Higher Education,” will examine how mission-based ideas and practices enable church-related institutions to increase revenue, resources, and enrollment while staying true to their historic mission.

For additional information, visit or call 570-941-7401.

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