Graduate Fellows Colloquia: Spring 2016

Collegium Institute invites all graduate students and other interested individuals from the University of Pennsylvania and Greater Philadelphia Area to join its graduate fellows for the spring colloquia series focusing on John Henry Newman’s The Idea of a University.  Fellows will explore excerpts of Newman’s book paired with various snapshots of the modern academy.

All readings are provided free of charge and refreshments are served!

Thursday, March 17 at 7p.m. in Arch 107. We will read Discourses 1-4 of Part I which, following an introduction to the university as a whole, argue for the place of theology in the university.  We will juxtapose that to the mission statement of Penn’s Religious Studies Department as well as with the video welcome to Trump University.

Thursday, March 31 at 7 p.m. in Arch 106. We will read Discourses 5-8 of Part I on the pursuit of knowledge in the university along with David Brooks’ seminal article on the over-professionalization of elite liberal arts students, in preparation for a lecture by Anthony Grafton on Friday, April 8.

Thursday, April 14 at 7 p.m. in Arch 107. We will read Discourses 1-3 of Part II on Christianity and Literature in preparation for a lecture by Joseph Bottom on Thursday, April 27 on the same topic.

For more information or to receive reading materials, contact Katie Becker:

Circle of St. Bede

Upcoming Meetings for October 2014 

CIRCLE OF ST. BEDE invites faculty, post docs, grad students, professionals and other interested early risers to join us. We seek to promote the integration of faith with our academic lives and to foster a sense of Catholic community in the campus setting. We meet for coffee and socializing following the 7:30 a.m. mass. Presentations begin promptly at 8:10 a.m. and finish at 8:50 a.m. Typically the group discusses a reading on the topic distributed a week before. [in the lower level of the Penn Newman Center].

“Appearances notwithstanding, every person is immensely holy and deserves our love.

Pope Francis
The Joy of the Gospel


Tues. Oct. 7. “On the holy rosary.” Discussion led by Dr. Marisa Marsh, astrophysicist, Dept. of Physics. .

Tues. Oct. 14. “On consulting the faithful in matters of doctrine” by John Henry Newman, 1859. Discussion led by Dr. Peter Dodson, School of Veterinary Medicine.

Oct. 21. Open

Oct. 28. Open

A note on parking. The parish of St. Agatha-St. James kindly permits limited use of the rectory parking lot for those attending morning mass and/or Circle of St. Bede. This is a privilege that must be used with respect. The slots available on a first-come basis face the Newman Center and are situated towards the upper end of the lot. On-street meter parking is available on 38th St. beside the church or on Sansom St behind the center, which is located at 3720 Chestnut St. The south side of Chestnut directly in front of the Newman Center was formerly a tow zone but now is potentially available as meter parking from 8 a.m. onward. However, due to heavy construction across the street currently it may not be available there on any given day.



What Happened to Syria?

A presentation by the author of “Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present”

When: October 16, 2014; 5:30 p.m.

Where: Amado Room of Irvine Auditorium (3401 Spruce Street, Philadelphia)

Featuring Christian C. Sahner, a former Rhodes Scholar who, while completing his Ph.D. in History at Princeton University, wrote “Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present,” which was just published by Oxford University Press this August.

With comment by Dr. Ronald Granieri,Director of Research of the Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies at the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania and moderated by Dr. Heather Sharkey, Associate Professor of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations, and Affiliate Professor of Middle East Center, University of Pennsylvania.

Cosponsored by:

The Alexander Hamilton Society, The Department of Near Eastern Languages & Civilizations at the University of Pennsylvania

A light reception to follow.

To Register for this lecture, please click here.

How to Redesign an American Metropolis

Water, Transportation, and Land Use in the Notre Dame Plan for Chicago 2109

A Luncheon Lecture featuring Professor Philip Bess

When: October 2nd, 2014; 12noon

Where: Houston Hall 218, Ben Franklin Room


Daniel Burnham’s 1909 Plan of Chicago was one of the last efforts (perhaps the greatest) to employ classical principles of architectural, landscape and urban design in and for and at the scale of a rapidly expanding modern industrial metropolitan region. Though Burnham’s classical humanist sensibilities are often downplayed by contemporary admirers more admiring of his environmental and civic sensibilities, modern metropolitan Chicago to its detriment has turned away from all three. The Notre Dame Plan of Chicago 2109 picks up where Burnham’s Plan left off, critiquing contemporary Chicago and proposing for it a 100-year vision comparable in scale and scope — and also showing how the long tradition of classical humanist urbanism speaks directly to contemporary concerns for better human stewardship of nature, and for making cities, towns, villages, and hamlets both economically and environmentally sustainable.

Philip Bess is Professor of Architecture at the University of Notre Dame. He teaches graduate urban design and theory, with a particular interest in Catholic and classical humanist intellectual and artistic traditions in the context of modern American life and the contemporary culture of architecture and urban design. He is the author of several books, including: Till We Have Built Jerusalem: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Sacred (ISI, 2006).

Moderated by Dr. Lothar Haselberger, the Morris Russell Williams and Josephine Chidsey Williams Professor of Roman Architecture and Art History at the University of Pennsylvania



The Department of Landscape Architecture, School of Design, University of Pennsylvania

The Department of the History of Art and the Program for Research on Religion and Urban Civil Society, School of Arts and Sciences, University of Pennsylvania

To RSVP for the Luncheon, please click here.

Upcoming Fall Events

Mark your calendars for these upcoming events:

September 18, 2014


An evening conversation with Dr. Margaret Brinig and Dr. Nicole Stelle Garnett,
professors at the University of Notre Dame Law School and authors of
Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools’ Importance in Urban America
(University of Chicago, 2014).

The event will be moderated by Rev. Timothy Scully,
Director of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives.

5:30pm at the Penn Newman Center
Reception to follow


October 2, 2014


A Luncheon featuring Professor Philip Bess,
the Director of Graduate Studies for the University of Notre Dame’s School of Architecture.

12 noon in Houston Hall 218 – Ben Franklin Room


October 16, 2014


Featuring Christian Sahner lecturing on the debut of his book,
Among the Ruins: Syria Past and Present, just published with Oxford University Press.

With Comment by Dr. Ron Granieri, Director of Research of the Lauder Institute for Management and International Studies at the Wharton School.

5:00 pm in the Amado Room of Irvine Auditorium


October 30, 2014


Featuring Rémi Brague, Emeritus Professor of Arabic and Religious Philosophy at the Sorbonne and
Chair of the Philosophy Department at the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich.

12 noon Luncheon, Wolf Auditorium of the McNeil Center


November 13, 2014


Featuring Robert Koons, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Texas, Austin.

5pm, Location TBA


A Crisis of Community: Catholic School Closures and Urban Neighborhoods

A Discussion with the authors of “Lost Classroom, Lost Community: Catholic Schools’ Importance in Urban America”

When: September 18th, 2014; 5:30 – 7:00 p.m.
Where: Penn Newman Center (3720 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia)

Dr. Margaret F. Brinig is the Fritz Duda Family Chair in Law at the University of Notre Dame Law School. She holds a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University and a J.D. from Seton Hall University. Her research integrates law and social sciences in empirical studies of families, social capital, and social welfare legislation. She serves on the executive board of the International Society of Family Law and is a Fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives at the University of Notre Dame. In addition to more than a hundred shorter works, her most recent book is Family, Law, and Community: Supporting the Covenant (University of Chicago Press, 2010).

Dr. Nicole Stelle Garnett is Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame. Her teaching and research focus on property, land use, urban development, local government law, and education policy. She is the author of numerous of articles on these subjects and of Ordering the City: Land Use, Policing and the Restoration of Urban America (Yale University Press, 2009). At Notre Dame, Professor Garnett also is a Fellow of the Institute for Educational Initiatives and the Senior Policy Coordinator for the Alliance for Catholic Education. From 2008-2010, she served as Provost Fellow at Notre Dame, and, in 2007, was a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Chicago Law School.

The event will be moderated by Rev. Timothy Scully, Director of Notre Dame’s Institute for Educational Initiatives.

Reception to follow.

Sponsored by:
Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought & Culture,
Robert A. Fox Leadership Program — Faith and Service Partners,
Penn Newman Center,
the Alliance for Catholic Education,
Notre Dame Law School, and
Penn’s Program for Research on Religion & Urban Civil Society.

To RSVP, Please register here.

Alumni Weekend Reception

When: Sunday, May 18th, 2014; 10:30 a.m. – 12 noon
Where: Houston Hall 223 (Golkin Room): 3417 Spruce Street

The Collegium Institute for Catholic Thought and Culture will host a breakfast reception immediately following the 9:30 a.m. Penn Alumni Mass at St. Agatha-St. James at Houston Hall in celebration of its first year of activities at Penn. We warmly welcome all alumni, family, and friends to join us. Advance registration is not required. For more information or to RSVP, please contact Dan Cheely,, or visit 

The Joy of the Gospel

Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium and Modern Catholic Social Thought

A Lunch Colloquium at the University of Pennsylvania

When: Friday, May 23rd, 2014; 12 noon – 2pm
Where: Ben Franklin Room, Houston Hall 218 (3417 Spruce Street)
Dr. Jesus Fernandez-Villaverde, Professor of Economics at the University of Pennsylvania and Visiting Professor at Princeton University.  Dr. Fernandez-Villaverde is also Research Associate at Penn’s Population Studies Center, the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, the National Bureau of Economic Research, and the Centre For Economic Policy Research.  He is Vice-President of the Catholic Research Economists Discussion Organization (CREDO) and a Senior Fellow of the Collegium Institute.
Dr. Matthew O’Brien, Chairman of the Collegium Institute.  Dr. O’Brien completed an A.B. in Philosophy at Princeton University, a Classics Certificate at the University of Pennsylvania, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of Texas at Austin.  His articles have appeared in venues such as The American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly, Public Discourse, The British Journal of American Legal Studies, National Catholic Bioethics Quarterly and as an amicus brief before the U.S. Supreme Court.  He has taught as a Lecturer at Rutgers University and Post-Doctoral Fellow at Villanova University and now works as an equity research analyst for O’Brien Greene & Co., an investment management firm in Media, PA.
Space is limited.  To RSVP, please contact Dan Cheely at

Event Reminder: What Happened to American Christianity? 9/19

Please join us this Thursday, September 19th, 2013 at 12 noon in the Terrace Room of Cohen Hall, G17 for our panel discussion: What Happened to American Christianity?

The event will be a retrospective conversation on the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington and the Second Vatican Council.

The panel features New York Times columnist Ross Douthat, author of Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (2013); Rev. Charles L. Howard, university chaplain at the University of Pennsylvania; Melissa Wilde, Associate Professor of Sociology & Religious Studies at the University of Pennsylvania; and, Robert Wuthnow, Gerhard R. Andlinger ’52 Professor of Sociology at Princeton University. The conversation will be moderated by Brad Wilcox, Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Virginia.

This event is cosponsored by the Department of Sociology at the University of Pennsylvania.
Refreshments served.

Please find further information about our speakers and the event here.