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Religion and the Liberal Aims of Higher Education


What sets religious colleges and universities apart from their secular peers when both are committed to offering a liberal education? This conference brings together 15 distinguished scholars and writers, including six current or former university presidents, to examine the varied complexions of liberal education and the unique contributions and challenges that religion brings to the endeavor.

To view the presentations and access transcripts, audio files, and photos of the event, please visit the Boisi Center web archive.



Thursday, November 8 – Friday, November 9, 2012

The Heights Room
John M. Corcoran Commons
Boston College, Chestnut Hill Campus

The conference is free and open to the public. All events will be held in The Heights Room of Corcoran Commons.



Thursday, November 8

5:00–5:10 p.m. Welcome and Opening Remarks
Erik Owens, Associate Director, Boisi Center for Religion and American Public Life, Boston College
5:10–6:15 p.m.
Opening Keynote Address
Nathan Hatch, President, Wake Forest University
6:15–6:45 p.m.
Public Reception


Friday, November 9

8:30–9:00 a.m. Continental breakfast
9:00–9:15 a.m.
Welcome and Opening Remarks
Henry Braun, Boisi Professor of Education and Public Policy, Boston College
9:15–10:30 a.m.
Panel 1: Historical Perspectives
Andrew Delbanco, Mendelson Family Chair of American Studies and Levi Professor in the Humanities, Columbia University
Cullen Murphy, Editor-at-Large, Vanity Fair magazine (moderator)
Mark Noll, Francis A. McAnaney Professor of History, University of Notre Dame
Julie Reuben, Professor of Education, Harvard University

10:45 a.m.–12:00 p.m.
Panel 2: The View from the Top
John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., President, University of Notre Dame
Mark Massa, S.J., Dean and Professor of Church History, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry (moderator)
Jane McAuliffe, President, Bryn Mawr College
Philip G. Ryken, President, Wheaton College (IL)

12:15–1:30 p.m.
Lunch and Keynote Address
Richard Morrill, President, Teagle Foundation; former President, University of Richmond, Salem College and Centre College
1:45–3:00 p.m.
Panel 3: Dynamic Tensions
Susan Jacoby, Author and Independent Scholar
Mark Oppenheimer, Columnist, New York Times; lecturer in English, Yale University (moderator)
Eboo Patel, Founder and President, Interfaith Youth Core
Nicholas Wolterstorff, Noah Porter Professor Emeritus of Philosophical Theology, Yale University; Senior Research Fellow, Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture, University of Virginia
3:00–3:15 p.m.
Closing Remarks
William P. Leahy, S.J., President, Boston College
3:30–4:30 p.m.
Public Reception