Eli Lilly Emphasis on Religion and Ethics – NOT IN USE
As a major contribution to its vision of educating about the role of Christian faith in an academic context, the Campus Christian Center (CCC) annually offers a series of lectures, workshops, retreats, colloquies, and even services of worship in areas of contemporary interest, where issues or questions of faith, religious tradition, spirituality, social justice, and rigorous academic engagement, study, and theological or moral reflection intersect. Because the Eli Lilly Professor of Religion leads the Center in the planning, development, and delivery of this emphasis, for which the endowment of the Campus Christian Center underwrites all support, the Center has designated this program as the Eli Lilly Emphasis on Religion and Ethics. Rev. Michelle Tooley, Ph.D. currently occupies the chair of the Eli Lilly Professorship in Religion and, as provided by this professorship, holds appointments in two departments: the Campus Christian Center and the Department of Philosophy and Religion.
One recent series of lectures illustrates the Campus Christian Center’s development of this emphasis through the leadership of the Eli Lilly Professor of Religion. In the fall semester of 2005, Professor Tooley delivered a series of lectures under the general theme: “Sabbath Economics: Living Faithfully in a Global Community.” These lectures occurred across the entire semester: “A Material Theology of Abundance and Wealth” (13 October 2005); “A Material Theology of Poverty and Justice” (10 November 2005); “Trade Justice: Living Faithfully in a Global Economy” (17 November 2005); and “Eco-Justice: Living Faithfully in a Global Economy” (8 December 2005). These lectures occurred on Thursdays, from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., during which the Center also provided a luncheon for all participants.
History of the Eli Lilly Visiting Professorship in Religion
When the College established the Campus Christian Center in 1971 with a grant from Mr. and Mrs. Eli Lilly, the new department included an academic component, a program that would bring to campus two visiting distinguished professors in religion each academic year: The Eli Lilly Visiting Professorship in Religion. With this visiting professorship, according to the proposal that President of Berea College, Dr. Willis Weatherford, sent to Mr. and Mrs. Eli Lilly, the College aimed both to augment the strong teaching faculty of the College and to inspire as well as inform the faculty with fresh insights in the field of religious studies from “persons of national stature.” From the beginning, the Eli Lilly Visiting Professorship in Religion had four aims:
- To bring to campus persons who would be accessible to a broad range of students and faculty;
- To contribute to the life of the Department of Philosophy and Religion;
- To contribute to the life of the Campus Christian Center; and
To help focus or provide moral and Christian perspectives on campus conversations and initiatives.
The scholar or teacher who held the title of Eli Lilly Visiting Professor in Religion, as a result, received appointments to two departments: the Campus Christian Center and the Department of Philosophy and Religion. Through the Department of Philosophy and Religion, the visiting professor taught courses usually in the curriculum of General Studies, but also sometimes in religious studies. In addition, this visiting professor engaged the faculty and students of the Department of Philosophy and Religion in discussions about the current state of religious studies, as well as about possibilities for graduate or ministerial studies in the field of religion. Within the context of the Campus Christian Center, the visiting professor participated in programs of the Center that explored issues of faith and learning in institutions of higher education. The visiting professor also delivered sermons during worship, spoke in various classes on campus, met with various student religious groups, held occasional faculty seminars, and sometimes delivered addresses at convocations or other major events on campus. The distinguished scholars and teachers who held the Eli Lilly Visiting Professorship in Religion follow.
The Eli Lilly Professorship in Religion
In order to employ more effectively the healthy endowment of the Campus Christian Center and to meet curricular needs within the College, the College secured permission from the Lilly Endowment to create a new, permanent, tenure-track position on the faculty from the resources that historically supported the Eli Lilly Visiting Professorship in Religion. This new, permanent, tenure-track professorship retains a similar title, the Eli Lilly Professorship in Religion, but is no longer a visiting professorship. The new Eli Lilly Professor of Religion
functions much like the Eli Lilly Visiting Professor of Religion had functioned, only as a regular member of the faculty within the tenure-track system of the College. The new, tenure-track, endowed chair became effective in the academic year of 2003-04. That year, Rev. Michelle Tooley, Ph.D. became the first person to hold this permanent position.
Like the visiting professors, the Eli Lilly Professor of Religion holds appointments and carries responsibilities in both the Department of Philosophy and Religion and the Campus Christian Center. The Eli Lilly Professor of Religion teaches courses in both religious studies and in the curriculum of the Department of General Studies. In the Campus Christian Center, the Eli Lilly Professor of Religion, serving as a regular and full member of the department, leads workshops and spiritual retreats, plans and offers series of lectures in the areas of religion, Christian theology, and social ethics, leads workshops on peacemaking, offers occasional faculty and staff seminars, plans and leads worship, works with various student religious and social-justice organizations, and develops collaborative relationships with other departments that relate directly to the Campus Christian Center.