Our Distinguished Presenters


Dr. Robert P. George

McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University; Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion

Dr. Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is also the Herbert W. Vaughan Fellow of the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, and has on several occasions been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. In August of 2017, Baylor University launched the Robert P. George Initiative on Faith, Ethics & Public Policy, and Dr. George was appointed as a Distinguished Senior Fellow in the Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion.

In addition to his academic service, Dr. George has served as Chairman of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. He previously served on the President’s Council on Bioethics (2002-2009), and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights (1993-1998). He has also been the U.S. member of UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology.

He is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award.

Dr. George is author of Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality (Oxford University Press, 1993), In Defense of Natural Law (Oxford University Press, 1999), The Clash of Orthodoxies (ISI, 2001) and Conscience and Its Enemies (ISI, 2013). He is co-author of Conjugal Union: What Marriage Is (Cambridge University Press, 2014), Embryo: A Defense of Human Life (2nd edition, Doubleday, 2011), Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2008), and What is Marriage? (Encounter, 2012). He is editor of several volumes, including Natural Law Theory: Contemporary Essays (Oxford University Press, 1992), The Autonomy of Law: Essays on Legal Positivism (Oxford University Press, 1996), Natural Law, Liberalism, and Morality (Oxford University Press, 1996), and Great Cases in Constitutional Law (Princeton University Press, 2000).

Dr. George's articles and review essays have appeared in the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, the Columbia Law Review, the University of Chicago Law Review, the Review of Politics, the Review of Metaphysics, and the American Journal of Jurisprudence. He has also written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, First Things, the Boston Review, and the Times Literary Supplement.

A graduate of Swarthmore College, Dr. George holds degrees in law and theology from Harvard and the degrees of D.Phil., B.C.L., and D.C.L. from Oxford University. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Swarthmore and received a Frank Knox Fellowship from Harvard for graduate study in law and philosophy at Oxford. He holds honorary doctorates of law, letters, ethics, science, divinity, humane letters, law and moral values, civil law, and juridical science.

Among his awards are the United States Presidential Citizens Medal, the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland, the Bradley Prize for Intellectual and Civic Achievement, the Philip Merrill Award of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni, the Paul Bator Award of the Federalist Society for Law and Public Policy, a Silver Gavel Award of the American Bar Association, the Charles Fried Award of the Harvard Law School Federalist Society, and the President’s Award for Distinguished Teaching at Princeton.

He has given the John Dewey Lecture in Philosophy of Law at Harvard, the Guido Calabresi Lecture at Yale, the Sir Malcolm Knox Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and the Frank Irvine Lecturer in Law at Cornell.

Dr. George is general editor of New Forum Books, a Princeton University Press series of interdisciplinary works in law, culture, and politics. He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and serves as Of Counsel to the law firm of Robinson & McElwee.


Dr. Melissa Moschella

Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics in the Department of Medicine, Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons

Dr. Melissa Moschella is Assistant Professor of Medical Ethics in the Department of Medicine at Columbia University's College of Physicians and Surgeons. She received her A.B. (Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude) from Harvard College, with a concentration in Social Studies (and a particular focus on political philosophy). After working for a couple of years as a research assistant and teaching assistant at Harvard, she went on to complete a Licentiate in Philosophy (summa cum laude), with a focus on ethics and anthropology, at Universita della Santa Croce in Rome. She pursued further graduate studies in Political Philosophy at Princeton University, where she earned her Ph.D. in 2012. Her dissertation, Parental Rights in Education, sought to establish that parents have a pre-political right to direct the education and upbringing of their children, grounding this right on the special, non-transferable obligations that parents have for their children’s well-being. A revised version of that work was published in 2016 as a book by Cambridge University Press, To Whom Do Children Belong? Parental Rights, Civic Education and Children's Autonomy. She has published in several academic journals including Bioethics, Journal of Law and Philosophy, Christian Bioethics, Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, Journal of Medicine and Philosophy, Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics, and American Journal of Jurisprudence. Dr. Moschella has also held full-time academic appointments at the Catholic University of America as an Assistant Professor of Philosophy (2014-17), University of Notre Dame as the 2014-15 Myers Fellow in the Center for Ethics & Culture, and Princeton University as a 2012-2103 Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.


Dr. Daniel Mark

Assistant Professor of Political Science, Villanova University; Chariman, United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF)

Dr. Daniel Mark is an assistant professor of political science at Villanova University, where he has taught since 2013. He teaches political theory, philosophy of law, American political thought, and politics and religion. At Villanova, he is a faculty associate of the Matthew J. Ryan Center for the Study of Free Institutions and the Public Good, and he holds the rank of battalion professor in Villanova’s Navy Reserve Officers’ Training Corps unit. He is also on the steering committee for the Villanova Political Theology Project and on the graduate committee of the Department of Political Science. He has served as the faculty adviser to the mock trial team and to the men’s club lacrosse team and as a mentor in the university’s Faith and Learning Scholars Program.

For the 2017-18 academic year, Dr. Mark is on leave from Villanova University as a visiting fellow in the Department of Political Science at the University of Notre Dame under the sponsorship of the Tocqueville Program for Inquiry Into Religion and Public Life as well as the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study; the Program on Church, State, and Society; and the Center for Ethics and Culture. In the 2015-16 academic year, he was on sabbatical as a visiting fellow in the Department of Politics at Princeton University under the sponsorship of the department’s James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions.

Dr. Mark is a fellow of the Witherspoon Institute in Princeton, NJ, and works with the Tikvah Fund in New York. He is an affiliated scholar of the James Wilson Institute on Natural Rights and the American Founding in Washington, DC, and he has taught at the Straus Center for Torah and Western Thought at Yeshiva University. Dr. Mark is also a member of the advisory council of CanaVox. He has served as an assistant editor of the journal Interpretation and is a contributor to the Arc of the Universe blog.

Dr. Mark speaks frequently for a wide variety of groups, including the Acton Institute, the US Military Academy (West Point), the American Enterprise Institute, the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, the Love and Fidelity Network, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention, Opus Dei, the Agora Institute, and Chabad. In September, 2015, Daniel spoke at the World Meeting of Families, a triennial event organized by the Catholic Church, which drew 20,000 participants to Philadelphia. Other appearances have included speeches at Ave Maria University, Arizona State University, Baylor University, Brigham Young University, Colorado Christian University, Eastern University, the University of Notre Dame, and the Mount Academy, the Bruderhof (Anabaptist) high school in upstate New York.

In addition to his academic writing, Dr. Mark has published on topics related to international religious freedom in US News & World Report, Investor’s Business Daily, Foreign Affairs, The Hill, and the Philadelphia Inquirer, and he has appeared on CNN, Al Jazeera America, CBS radio in Philadelphia, KNUS radio in Denver, and Relevant Radio, among other outlets.

He holds a BA (magna cum laude), MA, and PhD from the Department of Politics at Princeton University. He wrote his dissertation under the direction of Professor Robert P. George on the subject of "Authority and Legal Obligation." There, he participated in the Program in Law and Public Affairs and the Penn-Princeton Bioethics Forum. He was also affiliated with the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions and served as coordinator of its Undergraduate Fellows Forum.

Before graduate school, Dr. Mark spent four years as a high school teacher in New York City, and he received the New Jersey Department of Education Commissioner’s Distinguished Teacher Candidate Award while earning his teaching certification.

Dr. Mark was appointed to the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on May 9, 2014 by then-Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) and reappointed on May 16, 2016 by Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (R-WI) for a two-year term expiring in May 2018.


Dr. Patrick J. Deneen

David A. Potenziani Memorial Associate Professor of Constitutional Studies, University of Notre Dame

Dr. Patrick J. Deneen is currently an Associate Professor of Political Science and holds the David A. Potenziani Chair of Constitutional Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Prior to joining the faculty of Notre Dame in 2012, he taught at Princeton University (1997-2005) and Georgetown University (2005-2012), where he held the Markos and Eleni Tsakapoulos-Kounalakis Chair in Hellenic Studies. From 2005-2007 he served as principle Speechwriter and Special Assistant to the Director of the U.S. Information Agency, Joseph Duffey.

Deneen's intellectual interests and publications are ranging. He has written books on the Odyssey of Homer and its reception and meaning in the history of political thought; and on the ways that belief in democracy is consonant with forms of religious faith. He has published articles, essays, and book reviews on topics ranging from ancient to modern political thought, democratic theory and practice, American political thought, political theology, Catholicism and American liberalism, literature and politics (including essays on Mark Twain, Henry Adams, Wendell Berry and Don DeLillo). His most recent book is entitled Why Liberalism Failed (Yale, 2018).

He teaches across his areas of interest, and offers regular courses with titles such as "Political Theory," "Constitutionalism, Law and Politics," "Liberalism and Conservatism," "The End of Education," "The American Regime," and "Tocqueville's Democracy in America."

In addition to academic work, he frequently writes for journals of opinion, including First Things, The American Conservative, The Weekly Standard, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and Commonweal. He is a regular contributor to a variety of online journals and blogs, which has gained him an extensive readership beyond academic audiences. He receives frequent invitations to lecture in both academic and non-academic settings, particularly to address undergraduate and general interest audiences. He has lectured at many academic institutions, including Harvard University, University of Pennsylvania, Valpariaso University, Georgetown University, University of Virginia, Yale University, Princeton University, Hope College, University of Chicago, Hillsdale College, Augustana College, Mercer University, Berry College, Colby College, University of Notre Dame, as well as at universities in Poland, Hungary, Italy, Australia and Ireland.

Deneen received a B.A. in English literature from Rutgers University, where he graduated summa cum laude with Honors and was the student commencement speaker in 1986. He received his Ph.D. in political science from Rutgers University in 1995. He wrote his dissertation - The Odyssey of Political Theory - under the direction of the late Wilson Carey McWilliams. His dissertation received the American Political Science Association's Leo Strauss Award for Best Dissertation in Political Theory in 1995. He has also studied at Trinity College in Dublin, Ireland and at the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.

Deneen is series editor of Political Companions to Great American Authors, with the University Press of Kentucky; and "Radical Conservatisms" (along with co-editor Elizabeth Corey) with University of Pennsylvania Press. He serves on a number of editorial boards, including Perspectives on Political Science and American Political Thought. He is a contributing editor with the journal The American Conservative.

While at Georgetown University, Deneen founded and served as Founding Director of the "Tocqueville Forum on the Roots of American Democracy," which became a vibrant center for reflection on the contributions of political thought to American politics and culture. At the University of Notre Dame he is an affiliate faculty with the Tocqueville Program for Inquiry into Religion and American Public Life, and the Minor in Constitutional Studies, both of which he served as Interim Director from 2014-2015.


Dr. Francis J. Beckwith

Professor of Philosophy and Church-State Studies, Baylor University

Dr. Francis J. Beckwith is Professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies at Baylor University, where he also serves as Associate Director of the Graduate Program in Philosophy and Co-Director of the Program on Philosophical Studies of Religion in Baylor’s Institute for Studies of Religion (ISR). With his appointment in Baylor’s Department of Philosophy, he also teaches courses in medical humanities, political science, religion, and church-state studies. From July 2003 through January 2007, he served as the Associate Director of Baylor’s J. M. Dawson Institute of Church-State Studies.

The 2016-2017 Visiting Professor of Conservative Thought and Policy at the University of Colorado, Boulder, he has also served as the 2008-09 Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow in Notre Dame’s Center for Ethics & Culture at the University of Notre Dame, and as a 2002-03 Research Fellow in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions in the Department of Politics at Princeton University. Professor Beckwith is a member of Princeton’s James Madison Society. He has also held full-time faculty appointments at Trinity International University (1997-2002), Whittier College (1996-97), and the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (1989-96).

A graduate of Fordham University (Ph.D. and M.A. in philosophy), he also holds the Master of Juridical Studies (M.J.S.) degree from the Washington University School of Law in St. Louis, where he won a CALI Award for Academic Excellence in Reproductive Control Seminar.

Professor Beckwith has been quoted in a variety of publications including the New York Times, the Dallas Morning-News, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, Christianity Today, World Magazine, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Las Vegas Sun, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Los Angeles Times, the Waco Tribune-Herald, the Washington Times, Touchstone Magazine, the National Catholic Register, Commonweal, Moody Magazine, Christian Research Journal, the Baptist Standard and the Salt Lake Tribune. Both colleagues and students have recognized him for teaching excellence. On April 25, 2006 he was awarded a certificate by Baylor’s undergraduate journal (The Pulse) for his "outstanding contributions to undergraduate scholarship." In November 2004 he was recognized as a distinguished faculty member by Baylor University's Mortar Board. The students of Trinity Graduate School (California campus) selected him Professor of the Year for the 1997-98 school year. During his seven years at UNLV he received a 1995 merit award (given by the Multicultural Student Affairs Office of UNLV), a professor of recognition award by the UNLV alumni association (1992), and was a finalist for university-wide and/or college-wide teaching awards in 1996, 1993, 1992, and 1991.

He is the author of over 100 academic articles, book chapters, reference entries, and reviews. Among his over one dozen books are Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice (Cambridge University Press, 2007), Return to Rome: Confessions of an Evangelical Catholic (Brazos Press, 2009), Politics For Christians: Statecraft As Soulcraft (IVP, 2010), (with R. P. George & S. McWilliams) A Second Look at First Things: A Case For Conservative Politics (St. Augustine’s Press, 2013), and Taking Rites Seriously: Law, Politics, and the Reasonableness of Faith (Cambridge University Press, 2015), winner of the American Academy of Religion’s prestigious 2016 Book Award for Excellence in the Study of Religion in Constructive-Reflective Studies.

He has presented academic papers, chaired sessions, and offered commentaries at the conferences of a number of professional societies including the American Philosophical Association, the American Political Science Association, the Society of Christian Philosophers, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, the American Bar Association (Science & Technology Section), the Christian Legal Society, the Evangelical Theological Society, the American Academy of Religion, the Southwestern Political Science Association, the Society of Catholic Social Scientists, the University Faculty for Life, and the Conference on Faith and History. He has served on the executive committees of both the Society of Christian Philosophers (1999-2002) and the Evangelical Philosophical Society (1998-2003, 2015-present). The 2017-18 President of the American Catholic Philosophical Association, he has served as the 57th President of the Evangelical Theological Society (November 2006-May 2007) as well as a member of the American Philosophical Association’s Committee on Philosophy and Law from 2005 through 2008. In January 2008 he was selected as the 2007 Person of the Year by Inside the Vatican Magazine.