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Bellarmine Hosts Acclaimed Professors for Compelling Conversation Regarding Civil Discourse


Authors and professors Dr. Cornel West and Dr. Robert George come from opposite ends of the political spectrum and are often referred to as the “ideological odd couple.” George, a Catholic conservative who is a professor of jurisprudence at Princeton University; and West, a Baptist liberal who is a professor of the practice of public philosophy at Harvard University, are friends who have taken their perspectives o.n a national speaking tour and each are frequent guests on numerous network and cable news programs.

On October 28, a virtual online discussion occurred between professors West and George that was viewed by students, faculty, staff, and parents of Bellarmine College Preparatory. The professors answered questions posed by several Bellarmine students addressing topics ranging from race relations and the political climate to faith and hope.

Moderated by Bellarmine Department of Social Science faculty members Jerome Facione and Bill Colucci, Esq., the event was an extension of Bellarmine’s weekly 2020 Election Series during which a series of student-led conversations have occurred.

During the one-hour session, both speakers invoked common themes of service, justice, and truth-seeking that are among the hallmarks of a Jesuit education. “Act fundamentally for the sake of truth,” said Professor George. “Act for justice … an impartial good and impartial reality,” he added as he cautioned against “tribalism” and encouraged people to be willing to suffer criticism or ostracization of one’s group in seeking truth. “We should all have a curriculum that engages a quest for truth,” said Professor West, a belief echoed by Professor George. “Put the quest for truth at the center of whatever you do.”

Professor West also praised Jesuit education and its call for everyone to find God in all things and to be of service to others. “Be a force for good,” he said. Extolling the Jesuit virtues of integrity and service to others, he later opined that, “The next {Abraham} Lincoln … may be shaped by a Jesuit education.”

“While there have been many aspects of remote instruction that have been challenging, it also has unlocked some unique opportunities, such as the remarkable gift we experienced today in hosting a live conversation with Dr. Robert George and Dr. Cornel West,” noted Bellarmine’s president, Chris Meyercord, referencing the presentation that was coordinated by Dr. Justin Christensen, Bellarmine’s vice principal for instruction. “These men are leading thinkers and remarkable leaders – and great friends, even though they come from opposite ends of the ideological perspective. We are so grateful to them for modeling what we talk about and teach to our students regularly – constructive dialogue.”