What is a University?

An afternoon conversation on defining the "University." What is the nature of a university? What is the role of the pursuit of truth in a university? What role should universities play in advancing societal goals, such as preparation for citizenship or the fostering of diversity? Are religious institutions more or less able to fulfill the goals of a university?



This is an event of the Robert P. George Initiative on Faith, Ethics and Public Policy at Baylor University. A special thank you to our event co-sponsors: the American Enterprise Institute's Values & Capitalism Program and The Institute for Human Ecology at The Catholic University of America.

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, New Jersey, and has, on several occasions, been a Visiting Professor at Harvard Law School. In August 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.

John Garvey is the President of The Catholic University of America. He was the Dean of Boston College Law School from 1999 to 2010. In 2008, he was the President of the Association of American Law Schools. He has practiced law with the firm of Morrison & Foerster in San Francisco, and taught at Notre Dame, Michigan, and Kentucky. He is the author or co-author of numerous books, including "Religion and the Constitution" (2011), which won the Alpha Sigma Nu Jesuit book award; and "Sexuality and the U.S. Catholic Church" (2007), which won the Catholic Press Association award. From 1981 to 1984, he was Assistant to the Solicitor General of the United States. He was elected to the American Law Institute in 1982.

Matthew Crawford is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies in Culture at the University of Virginia. He studied physics at UC Santa Barbara and then turned to political philosophy, earning a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. He has published articles on ancient Greek philosophy, neuroscience, and the philosophy of science, as well as a book entitled "Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work" (Penguin 2009), translated into seven languages. His current work is on the topic of attention and brings together cognitive science, phenomenology, and moral philosophy. His new book on this subject, "The World Beyond Your Head: On Becoming an Individual in an Age of Distraction" (Farrar, Straus and Giroux), was released in 2015.

Elizabeth Corey is an associate professor of Political Science at Baylor University, in Waco, Texas, where she also serves as Director of the Honors Program. She has received several awards for teaching and research, and was a 2016-17 Robert Novak Journalism Fellow. Her writing has appeared in "First Things" and "The Atlantic", as well as in a variety of scholarly journals. She received a bachelor’s degree in Classics from Oberlin College, and master’s and doctoral degrees in Art History and Political Science from Louisiana State University. She is co-editor of the "Radical Conservatisms" book series at the University of Pennsylvania Press.