Celebrated University of Chicago President Robert Maynard Hutchins once remarked that the Catholic Church has “the longest intellectual tradition of any institution in the contemporary world.” The mission of the Lumen Christi Institute is to make that tradition a vital part of the culture of today’s university. The Lumen Christi Institute’s programs enrich academic communities at the University of Chicago, across the nation, and throughout the world with the insights of Catholic thought, in order to engage our secular culture in dialogue and ultimately to renew our civilization by forming leaders for a global society in need of Christian wisdom.
Daniel Wasserman-Soler serves as the executive director of the Lumen Christi Institute. He holds a Ph.D. in history from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in history from the University of Chicago. He first became acquainted with Lumen Christi as an undergraduate.
As a Fulbright scholar in Spain, he conducted research on the Spanish Empire during the sixteenth-century. His book, Truth in Many Tongues: Religious Conversion and the Languages of the Early Spanish Empire (Penn State, 2020), explores how the Spanish Crown managed an empire of unprecedented linguistic diversity. He also has published articles in the Journal of Early Modern History, Church History, the Medieval History Journal, and History Compass. A native Spanish speaker, he grew up in Miami, where he attended Carmelite and Salesian schools. His wife and five children are members of St. Mary of the Angels Church in Chicago.
Before joining Lumen Christi, Danny was a history professor for ten years, first at Oberlin College and then at Alma College, where he was a tenured associate professor of history, department chair, and director of the first-year seminar program.
Fr. Peter Bernardi, SJ is scholar-in-residence at the Lumen Christi Institute and Associate Professor Emeritus of Theology at Loyola University of Chicago, where he taught from 2010 to 2020. Before coming to Chicago he taught at Loyola University New Orleans from 1996 to 2010. Fr. Bernardi holds an Honors B.A. in Classical Languages from Xavier University (Cincinnati), an MA in Philosophy from the University of Detroit, a Master of Divinity from Regis College of the Toronto School of Theology, an STL from the Weston School of Theology with a thesis concerning soteriology, and a PhD in Systematic Theology from the Catholic University of America. His areas of interest include modern Christian thought; John Henry Newman, Maurice Blondel, and the Renewal of Catholic Theology; Theology of Vatican II; Christology & Soteriology. He is the author of Maurice Blondel, Social Catholicism and Action Française: The Clash over the Church’s Role in Society During the Modernist Era (CUA Press, 2009). His most recent scholarly publications are "Blondel, Maurice (1861–1949)" in the Bloomsbury Encyclopedia of Philosophers (2020) and "Louis Cardinal Billot, S.J. (1846–1931): Thomist, Anti-Modernist, Integralist" in the Journal of Jesuit Studies 8 (2021): 585-616.
John Buchmann completed his M.T.S. at Duke Divinity School, and his PhD in religious ethics at the University of Chicago Divinity School. A moral theologian working at the intersection of ethical theory, Catholic Social Thought, and economics, John also has extensive nonprofit experience, including stints as Associate Director of Collegium Institute and Executive Director of Beatrice Institute.
Russell Hittinger is Senior Fellow at the Lumen Christi Institute, visiting professor at the University of Chicago Law School, and Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies and Law at the University of Tulsa. He is also Ordinarius of the Pontifical Academy of the Social Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of St. Thomas Aquinas. Hittinger is the author of many books, including A Critique of the New Natural Law Theory, The First Grace: Rediscovering Natural Law in a Post-Christian Age, Thomas Aquinas and the Rule of Law, and most recently Paper Wars: Catholic Social Doctrine and the Modern State (forthcoming).
Therese is a native Chicagoan and the proud mother of Cecilia, Anne, Benedict, Josephine, and Margaret. Before joining the Lumen Christi Institute, she worked in development at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Benefactor Relations for over six years. She is a graduate of the University of Dallas, where she received a B.A. in Political Philosophy and an M.B.A. in Business Management.
Born and raised in Oregon, Michael moved to Chicago after a year of teaching in a high school in Nantes, France and a year of independent research on the topic of inculturation theology in various countries across Africa on a Watson Fellowship. He received a B.A. in Religious Studies and French from Willamette University. He came to the University of Chicago in 2008 for his a M.Div. and first became acquainted with the Lumen Christi Institute through its non-credit course. In 2011 he started a Ph.D. in Theological Ethics from the University of Chicago Divinity School, graduating in 2019, having written a dissertation entitled “The Stain of Association and the Burden of Membership: Institutional Ethics in Paul Ricoeur and Catholic Social Thought.”
Michael has co-edited a volume on former Lumen Christi Board Member, public scholar, and professor of ethics, Jean Bethke Elshtain, entitled Jean Bethke Elshtain: Politics, Ethics, and Society (Notre Dame, 2018), and has a chapter on Ricoeur’s institutional Ethics and Higher Education in Paul Ricoeur and the Hope of Higher Education: The Just University (Lexington, 2021). Michael has also taught courses in the humanities and in Christian Ethics at the University of Chicago, DePaul University, and Loyola University of Chicago. In 2017, he was awarded a competitive prize for Excellence in Teaching from the University of Chicago Divinity School.
Michael first started working at the Lumen Christi Institute in 2012 as a program coordinator for our Catholic Social Thought Programming, planning annual conferences in Economics and Catholic Social Thought and coordinating lectures, symposia, and summer seminars. He has taught courses in Business, Ethics, and Society at DePaul University and in Catholic Social Thought at Loyola University Chicago. He became Assistant Director in 2017, and was co-project leader of the John F. Templeton Foundation funded Lumen Christi Institute project “Science and Religion, the Dialogue of Cultures.”
In 2019, Michael became Associate Director, collaborating with Executive Director Thomas Levergood to develop and implement programs (including conferences, symposia, lectures, masterclasses, summer seminars, and webinars) in topics across the Catholic Intellectual Tradition. He has spearheaded programs in Hispanic Theology, Black Catholic programming, and Science and Religion. He has helped to oversee operations, communications, marketing, and day-to-day supervision of staff to ensure successful execution of programs and events. He has developed, facilitated, and maintained strategic relationships with peer institutes, campus departments and centers, regional partners, and national institutions. Most recently, he has helped lead our pivot to online programming.
Between May of 2021 and August of 2022, Michael was elected by the Board of Directors as Acting Executive Director of the Lumen Christi Institute.
Michael is passionate about the mission of the Lumen Christi Institute to make the Catholic intellectual tradition, in its depth and breadth, a living dialogue partner at the university, in the city, and across the nation. He is married and has a young toddler.
Peter Tierney is the Science & Religion Program Coordinator and In Lumine Project Co-Director at the Lumen Christi Institute. He received his doctorate in Geophysical Sciences from the University of Chicago in 2018. His research is on the evolutionary ecology of reef systems, with a particular focus on Early to Middle Paleozoic reefs of North America. He is also active in Catholic lay ministry in Hyde Park, both at Calvert House and St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church.
Austin Walker is Assistant Director of the Lumen Christi Institute where he directs LCI's Newman Forum and West Suburban Series on Catholic Culture, in addition to serving as the instructor for LCI's Executive Great Books series. He is also an instructor at the University of Chicago's Graham School Basic Program of Liberal Education. He is completing a Ph.D. on John Henry Newman's political philosophy at the University of Chicago's prestigious Committee on Social Thought, and holds M.A.'s from the University of Chicago and the University of Mississippi. He received a B.A. with highest honors in Classical Languages from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. From 2007 to 2011, he taught in the Mississippi Delta for the Mississippi Teacher Corps, where he received the Andrew P. Mullins Jr. Award in 2009.
A graduate of St. Ignatius High School in Cleveland, Kenneth L. Woodward received his B.A. from the University of Notre Dame, where he studied literature with the legendary Frank O’Malley. He edited Newsweek’s Religion section from 1964 until his retirement in 2002, which gave him a unique vantage point on and personal acquaintance with the world’s religious leaders. He is the author of Making Saints: How the Catholic Church Determines Who Becomes a Saint and The Book of Miracles: The Meaning of the Miracle Stories in Christianity, Judaism, Buddhism, Hinduism, and Islam. In 2006, the University of Notre Dame gave him its Rev. Robert F. Griffin Award, which recognizes outstanding achievements in writing. His most recent publication is entitled Getting Religion: Faith, Culture, and Politics from the Age of Eisenhower to the Era of Obama.
Alietia Caughron is a managing director of financial risk and enterprise risk management at TIAA. As a longtime benefactor of Catholic education, Caughron is currently on the board of Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, and a member of the Chicago Board of Regents for her alma mater Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in liberal arts. She earned both her master’s degree and doctoral degree in mathematics from the University of Missouri-Kansas City, where she received a Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship. Upon earning her doctorate, she began a career in the financial services industry, working at GE Insurance, Swiss Re, Homesite Insurance Group, and CNA Financial.
John T. Cusack is the Global Co-Chairman of DLA Piper’s Finance Group and Co-Chairman of DLA Piper Real Estate Capital Markets Group and he has been a partner of DLA Piper and its predecessor firms for over 25 years. His legal practice is in the area of corporate and finance law. Among his clients are financial institutions, private equity funds and corporations and partnerships, both public and private. John is also an active investor holding interest in a number of privately held companies in various industries, including real estate, retail distribution and technology. John received a B.A. in Economics and Political Science from Drew University in 1980 and a J.D. from George Washington University Law School in 1983. He is a member of the bars of the states of New York and Illinois. John is married to Elizabeth Cusack and has three children. He has been a member of Saint Clement Parish in Chicago for over 20 years. He also sits on the board of City Year Chicago and is a member of the Saddle & Cycle Club of Chicago.
Father Brian Daley, SJ, is the Catherine F. Huisking Professor of Theology at the University of Notre Dame. He received B.A. degrees from Fordham University and the University of Oxford, where he completed an M.A. in 1967 and a DPhil in 1978. In 2012 he was awarded the Ratzinger Prize in Theology, which has been nicknamed the “Nobel Prize in Theology.” Father Daley is an internationally renowned scholar of the Fathers of the Church. His most recent books are The Hope of the Early Church and On The Dormition of Mary: Early Patristic Homilies.
Hon. Noel J. Francisco is Partner-in-Charge at Jones Day. He served as the 47th Solicitor General of the United States from 2017 to 2020. He has argued some of the most important cases the Supreme Court has heard in recent years on a wide array of issues. He also spearheaded the government's general strategy to seek emergency relief in the appellate courts and the Supreme Court when lower courts issued nationwide injunctions against important government programs. Noel's service as Solicitor General built on his previous tenure at the Firm, during which he argued McDonnell v. United States, which reversed the federal bribery conviction of the governor of Virginia; NLRB v. Noel Canning, which limited the president's constitutional recess appointments power; and Zubik v. Burwell, which challenged federal insurance coverage regulations that violated Catholic organizations' religious beliefs.
Richard W. Garnett is the Paul J. Schierl/Fort Howard Corporation Professor of Law and Concurrent Professor of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame. He is a leading authority on questions and debates regarding the role of religious believers and beliefs in politics and society. He has published widely on these matters, is the author of dozens of law-review articles, book chapters, and he contributes to several law-related blogs, including Mirror of Justice and PrawfsBlawg. His current research project, Two There Are: Understanding the Separation of Church and State, will be published by Cambridge University Press.
Julie Jansen Kraemer received her bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University in 1980 and her M.B.A. from the Northwestern University Kellogg School of Management. In addition to her service to the Lumen Christi Institute, Julie serves on the boards of Regina Dominican College Preparatory School, the University of Saint Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, and Catholic Relief Services. Julie, her husband Harry, and their five children live in Wilmette, IL.
Noel Moore graduated from the University of Chicago in 1981. During the 1980s, he began working on the floor of the Chicago Board of Trade, and, by the late 1980s, Noel had left the floor to focus exclusively on developing proprietary trading strategies. At the end of 1991, he founded a global macro trading advisory firm where he built a record of consistent, low-risk returns for 16 years. Currently, Noel invests and trades across all financial markets. He is a managing equity partner for Traditum and Endurance Asset Management, a fund of funds LP. Noel and his wife of 27 years, Michele, are the proud parents of five children, who range in age from 12 to 23. For the past 26 years, they have worshiped at St. Luke Parish in River Forest. Noel and his wife are also active members of the River Forest Tennis Club.
Anna Bonta Moreland is Associate Professor of Humanities at Villanova University. She received her PhD in Systematic Theology from Boston College. Prof. Moreland is author of Known by Nature: Thomas Aquinas on Natural Knowledge of God and What’s Reason Got to Do with it? Contemporary Theologies of Religious Pluralism (forthcoming). She resides in Bryn Mawr, PA with her husband and four children.
Charles W. (“Chip”) Mulaney, Jr, earned his A.B. degree at Georgetown University in 1971 and his juris doctor degree from Yale Law School in 1974. Chip is currently a Partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, where he focuses on mergers and acquisitions (friendly and hostile), joint ventures and corporate financings. He counsels clients on a broad range of securities and corporate matters, including disclosure issues, the duties of directors and governance matters. Chip was named Best Lawyers’ 2013 Chicago Mergers & Acquisitions Lawyer of the Year, and has repeatedly been listed in Chambers Global: The World’s Leading Lawyers for Business, Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, and The Best Lawyers in America, and was selected for inclusion in The International Who’s Who of Corporate Governance Lawyers 2009 and Crain’s Chicago’s Who’s Who 2012 list. A member of the Board of Advisors of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of Chicago since 1982, Chip served as chairman of the organization’s board of directors from 2008 to 2010. He also served on Catholic Charities’ stewardship, major gifts and by-laws committees. He and his wife, Ellen, reside in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago, and are the proud parents of three children.
James N. Perry, Jr. is a co-founder of Madison Dearborn Partners, a private equity firm based in Chicago. He oversees MDP’s investing efforts in the telecommunications, media and technology services industries. Jim currently serves as Vice-Chairman of the Chicago Archdiocese School Board, as well as the Board of Directors of the Big Shoulders Fund and the Advisory Board of Catholic Charities. He served as one of the first-ever lay Board Members of Catholic Relief Services between 2003 and 2009, and he currently now serves on the Catholic Relief Services Foundation Board. Jim was a founding funder of Father Robert Barron’s Catholicism documentary series, and he sits on the board of Fr. Barron’s WordOnFire digital media evangelization enterprise. Jim also sits on the board Chicago Public Media, as well as the Institute on Religion and Public Life, which publishes First Things. He is a 1982 graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and he received an M.B.A. from the University of Chicago in 1985. Jim and his wife, Molly, have three children and reside in the Lincoln Park neighborhood of Chicago.
J. Peter Ricketts is the Governor of the state of Nebraska. Founder of Drakon LLC an asset management company based in Omaha, Nebraska, he is also a member of the TD Ameritrade Holding Corporation Board of Directors, a director for the Chicago Cubs baseball team, and an Advisory Board member for the Alumni Capital Network. In addition to his service to the Lumen Christi Institute, Ricketts serves on the Global Advisory Board for the University of Chicago Booth School of Business, and as a board member for the Chicago Cubs Charities. In Omaha, he is the president of the Platte Institute for Economic Research, serves on the Boards of the Christian Urban Education Service and the Mid-America Council of the Boy Scouts of America. He holds an M.B.A. in marketing and finance from the University of Chicago, where he also earned his B.A. Ricketts is a Knight in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem, as well as a member of the Knights of Columbus.
Mark E. Schneider earned his B.A. from Indiana University in 1996 with highest honors, studied Philosophy, Politics & Economics at the University of Oxford (as a Marshall Scholar), and received his J.D. from Harvard Law School (magna cum laude) in 2003, where he was an editor of the Harvard Law Review. Mark is currently a litigation partner at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in Chicago, focusing on civil and criminal government enforcement defense and internal investigations. Prior to joining Kirkland, Mark served for more than a decade as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Northern District of Illinois, where he handled a broad docket of complex criminal cases at the trial and appellate level and served in multiple leadership roles, including as chief of appeals. He also served for a year at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq. Prior to studying law, Mark was a management consultant with the Boston Consulting Group, Inc., where he worked on growth strategy and corporate development. Mark is an elected member of the American Law Institute, was a Term Member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has been a lecturer for several years at the University of Chicago Law School.
Scott Turicchi is CEO of Consensus where he recently led the activities for the company to spinoff from J2 Global. Previous to his current role, Scott was President and CFO of J2 Global where he was responsible for all finance, merger and acquisitions activity and public company matters. Prior to joining j2 Global, Scott was a managing director in Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette Securities Corporation’s investment banking department, where he was responsible for corporate finance activities. Scott received a B.A. in Economics and Mathematics from Claremont McKenna College in 1985. Scott and his wife, Lannette, currently chair the Council of Institutional Advancement for the Pontifical North American College in Rome. Additionally, Scott serves as Board Chair for Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, CA and is Vice Chairman of Legatus International. Scott and Lannette reside in Pasadena, CA with their three daughters.
Don Briel held the Blessed John Henry Newman Chair of Liberal Arts at the University of Mary. He is the founder, and was for twenty years director, of the Center for Catholic Studies at the University of Saint Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he held the Koch Chair of Catholic Studies. His areas of specialization included Newman studies, ecclesiology, and dogmatic theology. He was also a Notre Dame alumnus who wrote extensively on the nature and promise of Catholic universities, including “Catholic Studies at the University of St. Thomas” in Best Practices: Enhancing Religious Identity at Catholic Colleges and Universities, and “The Prospects for Catholic Universities in a Secular Age,” published in The Angelicum. Briel served on a number of national advisory boards, including the Advisory Council on Justice Education of the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities.
Vincent Carraud is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Caen. He holds degrees from the University of Poitiers and the University of Paris-Sorbonne. Carraud has published numerous articles on the history of modern philosophy and several books, including Causa Sive Ratio: La Raison De La Cause, De Suarez a Leibniz, and Pascal et la philosophie. Carraud is also science editor for the Bulletin cartesien.
Sr. Agnes Cunningham is a member of the Servants of the Holy Heart of Mary and lives in retirement in at Saint Mary’s Community in Kankakee, Illinois. She is professor emerita of historical and systematic theology at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary. She was a member of the American Theological Society, Catholic Theological Society of America, International Association Patristic Scholars. Sr. Agnes was the first woman president of the Catholic Theological Association serving 1977-1978. She holds a doctorate in historical theology from the Institut Catholique de Lyon. She did post-doctoral studies with Johannes Quasten at the Catholic University of America.
Mary Ann Glendon is the Learned Hand Professor of Law, emerita, at Harvard Law School. She writes and teaches in the fields of human rights, comparative law, constitutional law, and political theory. Glendon served as U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See from 2008 to 2009. She also chaired the U.S. State Department Commission on Unalienable Rights (2019-2020) and served as a member of the Commission on International Religious Freedom (2012-2016), and the U.S. President's Council on Bioethics (2001-2004). She received the National Humanities Medal in 2006, and was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1991. In 1995, she was the Vatican representative to the international Beijing Conference on Women. She was President of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences from 2003 to 2013, and a member of the Board of Supervisors of the Institute of Religious Works (Vatican Bank) from 2013 to 2018. She is author of many articles and books, including The Forum and the Tower: How Scholars and Politicians Have Imagined the World, from Plato to Eleanor Roosevelt (2011) and has lectured widely across the United States and in Europe.
Bernard McGinn is the Naomi Shenstone Donnelley Professor Emeritus of Historical Theology and of the History of Christianity in the Divinity School and the Committees on Medieval Studies and on General Studies at the University of Chicago. He has written extensively about the history of apocalyptic thought, spirituality, and mysticism. McGinn's many books include Antichrist: Two Thousand Years of the Human Fascination with Evil, The Presence of God, a multivolume history of Western Christian mysticism, and most recently Thomas Aquinas’s Summa theologiae: A Biography.
David Tracy is Andrew Thomas Greeley and Grace McNichols Greeley Distinguished Service Professor Emeritus of Catholic Studies and Professor of Theology and the Philosophy of Religion in the Divinity School. He is also in the Committee on Social Thought. He received his STL and STD from Gregorian University, Rome, and has taught a wide variety of courses in contemporary theology at the University of Chicago. He has offered classes in philosophical, systematic, and constructive theology and hermeneutics, and courses dealing with issues and persons in religion and modern thought. His publications include The Analogical Imagination: Christian Theology and the Culture of Pluralism and On Naming the Present: Reflections on God, Hermeneutics, and Church. Professor Tracy is currently writing a book on God.
Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron is Archbishop of Detroit. He received an A.B. in Philosophy and Classical Languages from Sacred Heart Seminary, Detroit, and an S.T.B. and later a Licentiate in Sacred Theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University, Rome. Archbishop Vigneron was ordained to the priesthood in the Detroit Presbyterate on July 26, 1975 at St. Clement of Rome Church, by the late Cardinal John Dearden. He earned his M.A. and PhD in Philosophy in 1983 and 1987, respectively, with a dissertation on the German Philosopher, Edmund Husserl. In 1988 he was appointed dean of that Sacred Heart College Seminary and became a key member of the team working to realize Cardinal Edmund Szoka’s vision for the transformation of that institution into a “major seminary” offering graduate theological education. Archbishop Vigneron has served on the Committee for the American College in Louvain, the Committee on the Liturgy and the ad hoc Committee on the Plenary Council Varium. He is currently a member of the Doctrine Committee and the Catechism Committee. Archbishop Vigneron is a trustee of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, St. Patrick Seminary (Menlo Park, CA) and the Catholic University of America. He has served on the Executive Committee of the Association of Theological Schools and the board of the Detroit chapter of the National Conference for Community and Justice (formerly “The National Conference of Christians and Jews”), and the board of Ave Maria University.
Carol Zaleski is Professor of World Religions at Smith College, where she has taught since 1989. She is the author of Otherworld Journeys: Accounts of Near-Death Experience in Medieval and Modern Times and The Life of the World to Come.
The Lumen Christi Institute is honored to call home the James J. Gavin, Jr. House. Built in a 1920’s French Renaissance style and acquired in 2011, Gavin House is located across from the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and adjacent to the Frederick C. Robie House, an architectural masterpiece designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. Gavin House hosts the Institute’s offices and serves as a venue for small lectures, seminars, dinners, and receptions. Most importantly, the building acts as an anchor for the Institute and a symbol of its commitment to bringing Catholic thought to students and faculty at one of the world’s leading universities. We are grateful to our donors and benefactors—especially the Gavin family—for providing us with such a wonderful home.
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