The Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science
the 25th Anniversary Banquet
Berkeley, CA, October 4, 2006-- William Stoeger, S. J., the Chair of the Board of Directors of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS), announced the establishment of the Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science on September 16, 2006 at the CTNS gala 25 th anniversary banquet. Dr. Stoeger also announced the decision of the Board that Robert John Russell, CTNS Founder and Director and Professor of Theology and Science in Residence at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU), is the first holder of the Chair. The Chair is named for Ian Barbour, a distinguished pioneer in the dialogue between science and religion, a long-time colleague of Dr. Russell's and the major donor for the Chair. With this announcement, CTNS is launching a three-year capital campaign to build on the 1.7 million dollars already raised with a goal of funding the Chair at 2.5 million dollars.
The primary purpose of the Barbour Chair is to carry out the heart of the CTNS mission: teaching, research and public service. Once fully-funded, the Barbour Chair will ensure that CTNS' doctoral and seminary teaching program, “where religion meets science”, will be a permanent part of the GTU faculty curriculum.
“The quality of the research, the teaching, and the public conversations at CTNS has taken the issues integral to the discourse in science and religion onto the world stage in ways that it never was before and in ways that no other center of inquiry has been able to do… Bob Russell is a national theological treasure.”
– James Donahue, President, The Graduate Theological Union
Founded as an Affiliate of the GTU in 1981, CTNS has attracted a variety of graduate students to pursue masters and doctoral degrees at the GTU because of the Center's excellent academic reputation. Many of these graduates are now in tenure track positions at universities and seminaries nationwide. Currently Dr. Russell is working with eleven GTU doctoral students, many of whom have come to the GTU specifically because of the presence of CTNS. Dr. Russell has also taught over three hundred seminary students in his introductory courses on the relations between science, technology, theology, ethics, the environment and Christian spirituality. For 25 years, CTNS has provided Dr. Russell's faculty salary through program grants and donor gifts. When funding for the Barbour Chair is complete it will ensure the permanence of this faculty position for the GTU community and it will allow the Center to focus more extensively on grants for its international research programs.
Crucial support for the founding of CTNS came from Claude Welch, Dean and President of the GTU, and the Deans of the Pacific School of Religion and the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley . With the leadership of Dr. Russell as the Center's director, a variety of local, national and international programs that deploy this mission have emerged. Its annual J. K. Russell Fellowship in Religion and Science brings distinguished scholars from around the world to the GTU to work with students and faculty. Its members receive the CTNS scholarly refereed journal, Theology and Science . It has co-sponsored seven international research conferences with the Vatican Observatory. The “Science and Religion Course Program” offered $4 million dollars in grants to support new and improved courses in science and religion. “Science and the Spiritual Quest” brought over 120 internationally distinguished scientists into the public conversations about science and spirituality. Its new program, “Science and Transcendence: Advanced Research Series” (STARS), will offer $1.3 million dollars in grant money to small teams of distinguished scientists and humanities scholars for research into the ways science raises questions of ultimate meaning and purpose.
For more information, visit www.ctns.org or call 510-848-8152.