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.


Steven Bouma-Prediger, Ph.D.
Leonard and Marjorie Maas, Professor of Reformed Theology, Hope College

Mueller Hall Refectory, 6:00 – 7:00 pm

What Kind of Person Would Do Something Like That?:  A Christian Ecological Virtue Ethic

Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger is the Leonard and Marjorie Maas Professor of Reformed Theology at Hope College, where he has taught for the last 27 years. Dr. Bouma-Prediger is a graduate of Hope College, with a major in mathematics and computer science, and has masters degrees from the Institute for Christian Studies (in philosophy) and Fuller Theological Seminary (in theology) as well as a Ph.D. in religious studies from The University of Chicago.

Prof. Bouma-Prediger has over 100 published articles and has authored six books, the most recent being Earthkeeping and Character: Exploring A Christian Ecological Virtue Ethic. Every May he teaches a four-week course entitled “Ecological Theology and Ethics” which includes whitewater rafting, flatwater canoeing, and backpacking in the Adirondacks of upstate New York.


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

Edward Upton

CC Student Scholarship Symposium

Facilitated by Edward Upton, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Humanities, Christ College, Valparaiso University


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

Mueller Hall Refectory, 4:00 – 6:30 pm


Loneliness & Solitude: A Conference  

Even before Covid, medical experts and psychologists were speaking of an “epidemic” of loneliness in contemporary America, as research data has pointed to diminishing forms of group involvement and the fraying of social bonds along with upticks in isolation—something the sociologist Robert Putnam already compellingly diagnosed in his 2000 book Bowling Alone.  Spikes in mental-health problems related to loneliness have also dramatically increased in recent years—trends sadly magnified by the corona virus.

But what exactly is loneliness and how does it differ from related phenomena such as solitude?  The theologian Paul Tillich once wrote: “Our language has sensed . . . two sides of being alone: loneliness expresses the pain of being alone and solitude expresses the glory of being alone.”  If Tillich is right, how might we thoughtfully address the pain of loneliness and cultivate an enriching solitude and meaningful relations with others?  Furthermore, are loneliness and solitude constants in the human condition or are they heavily dependent on social context and historical forces?  Finally, since medical professionals and social scientists have been at the forefront in addressing these topics, what do the humanities—literature, philosophy, history—have to say and how might they contribute constructively to contemporary discussions?  This conference is designed to explore these questions and more.

Ian Marcus Corbin, PhD – Co-Director of the Human Network Initiative at Harvard Medical School/Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Senior Fellow at Capita.  He is writing a book on solitude and human solidarity. 

Samantha Rose Hill, PhD – Assistant Director of the Hannah Arendt Center for Politics and the Humanities and Visiting Assistant Professor of Politics at Bard College and Associate Faculty at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research in New York City.  She is the author Hannah Arendt (Reaktion Books, 2021).

(The conference is sponsored by Christ College, the Duesenberg Chair in Ethics, and Sodalitas Christiana.)

Ross Gay
American Poet / Professor, Department of English, Indiana University Bloomington

Zoom Webinar, 6:00-7:00 p.m.

Poems from the Garden and the Court

Please join us virtually in celebrating the expanse of Ross Gay’s reach as a poet of joy. In Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, Gay offers a sustained meditation on that which goes away—loved ones, the seasons, the earth as we know it—and tries to find solace in the processes of the garden and the orchard. In Be Holding, Gay connects pick up basketball and legendary player Dr. J to far-reaching concerns deeply embedded in American life and culture and family. Throughout his award-winning work, whether as poet or essayist, Gay keeps wondering “how the imagination, or how our looking, might make us, or bring us, closer to each other. How our looking might make us reach for each other. And might make us be reaching for each other. And how that reaching might be something like joy.”

Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against Which; Bringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released by Algonquin Books in 2019. He has received fellowships from Cave Canem, the Bread Loaf Writer’s Conference, and the Guggenheim Foundation. Ross teaches at Indiana University.

Register in advance for this webinar:


After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

(Co-Sponsored by Wordfest)

Slavica Jakelic, Ph.D. 
Richard P. Baepler Distinguished Professor in the Humanities, Christ College, Valparaiso University

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

Slavica Jakelic

Reflections on Nationalism (CC Student Presentations)

Students presentations of research projects they prepared in “Christianity & Nationalism” seminar. 

Charles Mathewes
Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia 

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

American Christianity After the Religious Right 

Charles Mathewes is the Carolyn M. Barbour Professor of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia.  He spent much of his childhood in Saudi Arabia, and was educated at Georgetown University and the University of Chicago.  He is the author of Evil and the Augustinian Tradition and A Theology of Public Life, both with Cambridge University Press; Understanding Religious Ethics from Wiley-Blackwell; and The Republic of Grace, from Eerdmans.  Among other edited volumes, he was the Senior Editor for a four volume collection on Comparative Religious Ethics: The Major Works for Routledge Publishers.  He is currently co-directing a major grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, on “Religion and its Publics.”  From 2006 to 2010, he was Editor of The Journal of the American Academy of Religion, the flagship journal in the field of religious studies, and was the youngest Editor ever appointed to lead that journal.  He was Chair of the Committee on the Future of Christian Ethics for the Society of Christian Ethics, the inaugural Director of the Virginia Center for the Study of Religion, and from 2010 to 2020 he served on the House of Bishops Theology Committee of the Episcopal Church.  He lives with his family outside Charlottesville, Virginia, in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

(This event is part of CC Symposium, organized under the auspices of Richard P. Baepler Chair in the Humanities and with the support of John R. Eckrich Chair in Religion and the Healing Arts, Duesenberg Chair in Christian Ethics, and Emil and Elfriede Jochum Chair.)