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LSTC News Release

Lea F. Schweitz appointed director of Zygon Center for Religion and Science

Posted Jul 20, 2010

Dr. Lea F. Schweitz has been appointed director of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science by the center’s co-sponsors, the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science (CASIRAS) and the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. Schweitz is assistant professor of systematic theology/religion and science at the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago. She has served as the associate director of the Zygon Center for more than two years. Dr. Gayle Woloschak continues as associate director of the Zygon Center after serving as director from 2007-2009.

Dr. Karl Peters, president of CASIRAS, said, “We have always stood for the yoking of religious traditions with scientific knowledge. Dr. Schweitz will lead the Zygon Center in engaging a new generation of scholars, scientists, and religious leaders with the living legacy of founding figures like Ralph Wendell Burhoe, William Lesher, and Philip Hefner.” 

Dr. James Kenneth Echols, president of LSTC, concurred, “We aim to train visionary leaders with both a rich appreciation of history and a bold sense of possibility for the future.  In her scholarship and her teaching, Dr. Schweitz brings both of these qualities to the present and pivotal moment.”

Mentoring and teaching graduate students

Widely recognized as one of the leading centers of science-religion dialogue, the Zygon Center offers research conferences, public lectures, and graduate-level courses and sponsors a student society, a student symposium series, and a study emphasis in religion and science. Schweitz launched the highly successful Student Symposium on Science and Spirituality while associate director of Zygon Center. In a series of annual conferences, graduate students from across the continent gather with distinguished faculty for research and professional development. 

“Lea has a particular passion for teaching and mentoring,” observed Dr. Michael Hogue, associate professor of theology at Meadville Lombard Theological School and co-chair of the student symposium.  “I am delighted to have a close colleague who offers her keen intellect, her quiet wisdom, and her joy of learning to emerging scholars.”

Schweitz links anthropology, theology, biology

Schweitz earned a bachelor’s degree in biology and philosophy at Luther College and master’s and doctoral degrees in philosophy of religion at the University of Chicago Divinity School.  Her doctoral work explores how early modern philosophers like Leibniz can contribute to our contemporary views of personhood. 

“Dr. Schweitz understands the powerful connections between our anthropology and our theology, between our views of humanity and our views of God,” noted Dr. Philip Hefner, professor emeritus of systematic theology at LSTC, director of the Zygon Center from 1988 to 2003, and editor in chief of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science from 1988 to 2009.

“Here at the Zygon Center—through our network of faculty and students, staff and supporters—we are entrusted with a deep tradition and empowered with diverse talents.  I look forward to building on these foundations as we face the challenges and the extraordinary opportunities of our shared future,” Schweitz said as she accepted the appointment.

Woloschak continues to guide Zygon Center

Dr. Gayle Woloschak holds a triple appointment as professor of cell and molecular biology, radiation oncology, and radiology in the Lurie Comprehensive Cancer Center of the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University. She will continue to guide the work of the Zygon Center and participate in the Zygon Center-sponsored courses, “The Epic of Creation” and “The Future of Creation.”

Zygon Center for Religion and Science and its sponsors

The Zygon Center for Religion and Science is dedicated to relating religious traditions and the best scientific knowledge in order to gain insight into the origins, nature and destiny of humans and their environment, and to realize the common goal of a world in which love, justice and responsible patterns of living prevail. Established in 1988, the Zygon Center is a partnership of the LSTC and the Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science (CASIRAS). For more information about the Zygon Center visit www.zygoncenter.org.

The Center for Advanced Study in Religion and Science is an independent organization of scientists and theologians.  Founded by Ralph Wendell Burhoe, former executive director of the American Associations for Arts and Sciences and winner of the 1980 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, CASIRAS is co-sponsor of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science and co-publisher, with the Institute for Religion in an Age of Science, of Zygon: Journal of Religion and Science (see www.zygonjournal.org).

Contact:

Jim Schaal
Executive Coordinator
Zygon Center for Religion and Science
773-256-0676
zygon@lstc.edu

Jan Boden
Director of Communications
773-256-0744
jboden@lstc.edu

The Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago (LSTC), a seminary of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, forms visionary leaders who bear witness to the good news of Jesus Christ. It provides high-quality seminary and graduate education for women and men in a community that is global, multicultural, ecumenical, interfaith, and urban. LSTC faculty provides resources for the whole church through their research, writing, and workshops and presentations around the world. Graduates serve in every type of ministry setting as they work to realize the gospel vision of peace and justice.

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