Consider the Idea of the Catholic University at the Bellarmine Forum

The Bellarmine College of Liberal Arts, in partnership with the Academy of Catholic Thought and Imagination, challenges the LMU campus community to consider “The Idea of the Catholic University in the 21st Century,” in this year’s Bellarmine Forum.

“What makes Catholic education genuinely distinctive, and what makes it distinctive while not pushing Catholic universities toward a closed or homogenous model?” asks Brian Treanor, professor of philosophy and director of the Academy for Catholic Thought and Imagination. Questions like this will inspire and inform the conversations held during the semester-long series of events and interconnected undergraduate courses that make up the Forum.

“It is entirely possible to have a shared, detailed educational vision while maintaining a faculty and student body that is diverse in terms of its religiosity, its politics, and its various cultural influences,” says Treanor. “So, what shared sense of belonging will define us as an intellectual community?”

In the coordinated Bellarmine Forum courses, students will consider the idea of the modern Catholic university from a wide variety of disciplinary perspectives. Courses like “Environmental Virtue Ethics,” “Philosophy and Christianity,” and “Evil” will engage students inside and outside of the classroom, with faculty in philosophy, political science, theology, English, sociology, history, women’s and gender studies. Theological studies faculty Kim Harris and Allan Figueroa Deck, S.J. will also lead a reading group for faculty and students on “The Catholic University and Minority Experience.”

The centerpiece of the Bellarmine Forum is the Bellarmine Forum Lecture, which will bring to campus Rev. John I Jenkins, C.S.C., president of the University of Notre Dame. The two-part event will feature a moderated discussion with President Timothy Law Snyder, Ph.D., and a keynote lecture on “The Idea of the Catholic University in the 21st Century.” The two-part event takes place on October 24 and is open to the public.

“LMU’s long-term well-being hinges on our ability to articulate our purpose, goals, and our mission in a manner that is both meaningful and which our entire community of students, scholars, and faculty can endorse,” says Treanor.

To learn more about the full event schedule, fall course offerings, and past Forum themes, visit