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Theology Chair Catherine Cornille Appointed to Newton College Alumnae Chair in Western Culture


CHESTNUT HILL, Mass. (3-6-12) -- Boston College has announced the appointment of Theology Department Chairwoman Catherine Cornille to the Newton College Alumnae Chair in Western Culture. Cornille, an internationally acclaimed scholar in the field of comparative theology, succeeds Judith Wilt, the inaugural Newton College Alumnae Professor, who retired in 2011.

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Catherine Cornille (Photo by Lee Pellegrini)

A native of Belgium, Cornille joined Boston College in 2005. In 2010, she became the first woman to chair the University’s Theology Department. She previously was an associate professor of Religious Studies at the Catholic University of Leuven, where she was the first female theologian to be named to the 500-year-old university’s teaching staff.

"Catherine Cornille has been a terrific chair of the Theology Department for the last three years and she has established an international reputation as a leading scholar in the field of comparative theology. I'm pleased to see that Catherine will succeed Judith Wilt as the second holder of the Newton College Alumnae Chair,” said College and Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Dean David Quigley.

Cornille’s teaching and research focus on interreligious dialogue and comparative theology and on particular theological questions arising from Hindu-Christian and Buddhist-Christian dialogues. She has written or edited 14 books in English and in Dutch, including the award-winning The Im-Possibility of Interreligious Dialogue. She is the founding editor-in-chief of the book series Christian Commentaries on non-Christian Sacred Texts. From 2008 to 2012, she organized the annual Boston College Symposia on Interreligious Dialogue, which brought together scholars from different religious traditions to discuss issues such as women, cultural change and economic development.

“I am humbled by the appointment," said Cornille. "As religious diversity is becoming an integral part of Western Culture, I hope that my work on interreligious dialogue will shed some light on the religious challenges and opportunities raised by this continuously evolving reality."

The Newton College Alumnae Professorship in Western Culture was endowed by alumnae of Newton College of the Sacred Heart to preserve the Newton College name and to honor its tradition.

Kathleen Sullivan, Office of News & Public Affairs, Kathleen.sullivan@bc.edu