Christ College Symposium

The Christ College Symposium is one of the 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.
Dean and Associate Professor of Humanities and East Asian Studies

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

Dean’s Annual Address – On Purpose

Dean Jennifer Prough’s Annual Address to the Christ College community.

Kelly Anthony 
Assistant Director, Valparaiso University Career Center

Mueller Hall, Commons, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Next Step: Resume Building

Figuring out how to effectively represent yourself, your background, and your skills in a page or two can be challenging. How do you succinctly communicate your academic strengths and valuable undergraduate experiences (extracurriculars, service, and internships) to potential graduate schools and employers?  Join Kelly Anthony (Assistant Director, Career Center) and Assistant Dean Anna Stewart to explore successful strategies for crafting a compelling resume. 

Mueller Hall, Commons, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Studying Abroad in a Pandemic:

Join us for a conversation with a group of intrepid CC students (including Katharina Depenthal, Ben Jacobs, Julia Marhenke, and Ellie Wegener) as they share what it was like to study abroad during COVID-19–from ably navigating changing destinations and travel restrictions to discovering unexpected opportunities and adventures.

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

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


The Faiths of Others:

Tal Howard, Ph.D. (Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics) will discuss his new book, The Faiths of Others: A History of Interreligious Dialogue (Yale University Press, 2021).  Respondents: Stephanie Wong (Department of Theology, Valparaiso University) and Mahan Mirza (Executive Director, Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion, University of Notre Dame).

Anna Stewart, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean

Mueller Hall Commons, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Anna Stewart

Next Step: Thinking About Graduate School

This panel discussion will feature faculty who have recently received their Ph.D.’s to talk about what to expect in graduate school. If you are thinking you might be interested in graduate school this is a great chance to ask questions and gain some insight into the process and experience from a range of disciplines. All are welcome to this event and it is one of the that are a part of CC499: Senior Colloquium.


Sean Kamperman, Ph.D. —  Assistant Professor of Professional Writing. English Department 

Paul Smith, Ph.D —  Assistant Professor of Chemistry

Stephanie Wong Ph.D.  —  Assistant Professor of Theology

Margarita Rayzberg Ph.D.—Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology

Abbie Thompson Ph.D.—Assistant Professor of Psychology


Anna Stewart, Ph.D.
Assistant Dean 

Mueller Hall Commons, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Anna Stewart

Next Step: Writing a Personal Statement 

As they begin to look beyond life at Valpo, many CC students are first asked to look back and construct a personal narrative making sense of their experiences and choices.  Graduate programs, grants, and fellowships often make telling one’s story a key component of their application processes.  Yet crafting a personal narrative does not have to be merely another hoop to jump through on the way to a rewarding opportunity or career.  Carefully and creatively constructing life stories can be empowering.  Join Assistant Dean Anna Stewart to discuss approaches to a challenging genre–the elusive “personal statement”–as well as the exciting possibilities that can arise when we engage in this process.


Aaron Stalnaker, Ph.D.
Chair, Religious Studies, Indiana University Bloomington

Mueller Hall Commons, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

(Janet Lynn Kerr Lecture)

Dependence and Autonomy in Early Confucianism

Confucian accounts of the good society center on role relations, personal development, and individual and communal flourishing.  But is there room for personal autonomy in this sort of vision?  I argue that there is, contra some authoritarian and anti-individualist readings of the tradition.  Confucians, like some contemporary theorists, see role-structured dependency relations as central to human life and the problems of politics, in sharp contrast to most liberal views that imagine a social contract between autonomous, free, and equal individuals.  Confucians view extreme dependence as a special case of the pervasive interdependence of all human beings on each other, with family relations serving in many respects as the model for other relations.


Lydia Dugdale, MD
Associate Professor, General Internal Medicine
Associate Director, Biomedical Ethics, Yale School of Medicine

Valparaiso University Center for the Arts, Duesenberg Recital Hall, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

(Co-Sponsored by the Institute of Leadership and Service, Pathways to Purpose, College of Nursing & Health Professions and the John R. Eckrich Chair in Religion and the Healing Arts)

The Lost Art of Dying: Reviving Forgotten Wisdom:

Lydia S. Dugdale is associate professor in the Section of General Internal Medicine and the associate director of the Program for Biomedical Ethics at Yale School of Medicine.  Her teaching commitments at Yale include clinical medicine and general ethics to medical students and residents.  Dugdale’s scholarship focuses on biomedical ethics, with particular emphasis on care at the end of life.  She is author of the book The Lost Art of Dying: Reviving Forgotten Wisdom (HarperOne), has published widely in peer-reviewed and popular press journals, and has been interviewed on television and public radio.  She practices primary care medicine with Yale Internal Medicine Associates. 

Dean Prough, Ph.D. and Assistant Dean Anna Stewart, Ph.D.

Mueller Hall, Commons, 6:30 – 7:30 pm

Anna Stewart

Next Step: Self-Care with Dean Prough and Dean Stewart

Join Deans Prough and Stewart in a conversation about strategies for self-care in stressful times. We know this can be a demanding time in students’ lives so this Next Step will combine strategies for stress management and self-care along with some time to put them into practice.