Christ College Symposium

The Christ College Symposium is one of the most long-standing traditions of Valparaiso’s Honors College providing an evening of stimulating thought and engaging conversation. Symposium events occur in two formats: Speakers Series and Next Steps.

The Speakers Series features exemplary scholars, artists, and public intellectuals who enlighten our thinking through an engaging lecture or panel discussion. These public lectures are intended for audiences from the campus and civic community, as well as Christ College. The Next Step events are curated for students to provide a forum for conversations about writing resumes, applying for fellowships, work life balance to help prepare them for life after college. Next Steps are open to all students and required for seniors taking CC499.


Jennifer Prough, Ph.D.
Interim Dean and Professor of Humanities and East Asian Studies, Christ College, Valparaiso University

Mueller Hall Refectory, 6:30 – 7:30 pm


Dean’s Annual Address –
Reframing: A Strategy for Uncertain Times

Interim Dean Jennifer Prough’s Annual Address to the CC Community.



Norman Wirzba, Ph.D.
Professor Norman Wirzba, Ph.D., Duke Divinity School

Christopher Center Library, Room CLR 205, 4:00 – 5:30 pm

How Do We Live Well in a Wounded World?
(Colloquium on Religion and the Healing Arts)

“This Sacred Life: A Call to Healing and Joy”

In Conversation with Invited Panelists: Professor M. Therese Lysaught, Ph.D., Loyola University Chicago and Professor Julien Smith, Ph.D., Christ College, Valparaiso University

This event will take place in person with a hybrid option.
Please email susan.holman@valpo.edu if you wish to attend by Zoom.

(Co-Sponsored by John R. Eckrich Chair in Religion and the Healing Arts)



James K.A. Smith, Ph.D.
Professor of Philosophy, Calvin University

Duesenberg Recital Hall, Center for the Arts, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

How to Inhabit Time: 
Understanding the Past, Facing the Future, Living Faithfully Now

Many Christians are disconnected from the past or imagine they are “above” history, immune to it, as if self-starters from clean slates in every generation. They suffer from a lack of awareness of time and the effects of history—both personal and collective—and thus are naive about current issues and fixated on the end times.

Popular speaker and award-winning author James K. A. Smith shows that awakening to the spiritual significance of time is crucial for orienting faith in the 21st century. He encourages us to cultivate the spiritual discipline of memento tempori, a temporal awareness of the Spirit’s presence—indebted to a past, oriented toward the future, and faithful in the present. To gain spiritual appreciation for our mortality. To synchronize our heart-clocks with the tempo of the Spirit, which changes in the different seasons of life. Integrating popular culture, biblical exposition, and meditation, Smith provides insights for pastoring, counseling, spiritual formation, politics, and public life.

(Co-Sponsored by Institute for Leadership and Service, Pathways to Purpose)


Taylor Brorby
Poet and Essayist, Environmentalist

Helge Center Multipurpose Room, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

Memoir as Protest and Witness  

Taylor Brorby—poet and essayist, environmentalist and activist—reads from his work on the power of place and culture to shape individual and communal identities. In Boys and Oil: Growing Up Gay in a Fractured Land, Brorby draws upon the poignancy of memoir to show how resilience develops in the face of harm and becomes a call to heal our social and ecological lives. Brorby is the Annie Tanner Clark Fellow in Environmental Humanities and Environmental Justice at the Tanner Humanities Center at the University of Utah. This event is co-sponsored by CC, the Cultural Arts Committee, and the departments of English, Communication and Visual Arts, and Chemistry.

(Co-Sponsored by Wordfest)

Julien Smith
Associate Professor of Humanities and Theology, Christ College, Valparaiso University

Mueller Hall Refectory, 6:30-7:30 p.m.

Julien Smith

The Four C’s of the Good Life:
Citizenship, Character, Community, and Creation

Description coming soon…

Thomas Albert Howard, Ph.D. 
Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics / Professor of History and Humanities, Valparaiso University

Duesenberg Recital Hall, Center for the Arts, 4:00 – 7:00 pm

Muslim-Christian Relations: Theological and Historical Explorations

In light of the tragic events of 9/11 and the growing religious pluralism of the United States, Christian-Muslim relations are now more important than ever.  Regrettably, too few Americans have thought seriously about what an honest, scholarly-informed conversation between the two traditions might involve–shorn of rancor, ignorance, and kumbaya bromides.  This three-speaker “mini-conference” takes a small step in remedying this deficiency.  Speakers have been asked to share from their scholarly expertise to help establish here at Valpo a learned, truth-seeking framework for one of the most important religious conversations of our time.


Gabriel Said Reynolds, Ph.D., Crowley Professor of Islamic Studies and Theology, University of Notre Dame.  Topic: “Is the God of the Qur’an the God of the Bible?”  Author of The Qur’an and the Bible (Yale University Press, 2018) and Allah: God in the Qur’an (Yale University Press, 2020)

Stephen Ogden, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Philosophy, University of Notre Dame.  Topic: “Christian-Muslim Dialogue in the Middle Ages: The Case of Averroes.”  Author of Averroes on Intellect: From Aristotelian Origins to Aquinas’s Critique (Oxford University Press, 2022)

Response by Ossama Abdelgawwad, Ph. D., Assistant Professor of Theology, Valparaiso University

This event is free and open to the public.  If you have questions, please contact Christ College.

(Co-Sponsored by the Theology/Philosophy Department and the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts)