The Rev. Dr. Michelle Voss Roberts, professor of theology at Emmanuel College, will deliver Mercer University’s 31st annual Harry Vaughan Smith Distinguished Visiting Professor of Religion Lectures Feb. 21-22 in Newton Chapel.
Dr. Voss Roberts will present three lectures on the theme “Multireligious: Dialogue, Solidarity, Transformation.” The series opens at 11 a.m. Feb. 21 with “Dialogue: Why Interfaith Dialogue Isn’t Enough,” followed by “Solidarity: Can Religion (Really) Work for the Common Good?” at 7:30 p.m. The closing lecture, “Transformation: One Theologian’s Journey with the Image of G*d,” will be held at 10:10 a.m. Feb. 22.
The lectures, co-sponsored by the Office of the President and the Columbus Roberts Department of Religion in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, are free and open to the public.
“We are delighted to have Michelle Voss Roberts as our Harry Vaughan Smith Distinguished Professor of Religion this year,” said Dr. Bryan Whitfield, professor and chair of the religion department. “As a student of both Hinduism and Christianity, she is well equipped to help us at Mercer think about relationships and connections that span multiple religious traditions. Her insights can equip us to be skillful citizens in our religiously pluralistic world. We look forward to welcoming her to Mercer and to the Macon community.”
Voss Roberts is past principal at Emmanuel College, a multireligious theological school at the University of Toronto. She has published numerous works of comparative theology that engage Christian and Hindu traditions, including Body Parts: A Theological Anthropology. Her research and teaching build communities of dialogue and solidarity across lines of religious and spiritual difference.
The Harry Vaughan Smith Distinguished Visiting Professorship was established in 1990 after Dr. and Mrs. Harry Vaughan Smith made a major gift to Mercer to underwrite a visiting professorship and lecture series in the Department of Religion.
The gift bears witness to the lifelong commitment of the late Dr. Smith to the University, which began when he enrolled as a freshman in 1920. A 1924 graduate, Dr. Smith served as pastor of several prominent churches in Georgia before becoming alumni secretary and assistant to the president at Mercer in 1946, a post he held until 1955. From 1955-1970, he distinguished himself as executive director of the Georgia Baptist Foundation. In his many years of service, Dr. Smith was a faithful worker on behalf of all Georgia Baptist causes, but he always maintained a special interest in the University and the cause of Christian higher education.
About the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences
Mercer University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences serves as the academic cornerstone of one of America’s oldest and most distinctive institutions of higher learning. The oldest and largest of Mercer’s 12 schools and colleges, it is a diverse and vibrant community, enrolling more than 1,900 students, dedicated to learning and service through the practice of intellectual curiosity, respectful dialogue and responsible citizenry. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences offers majors in more than 30 areas of study, including more than a dozen pre-professional academic tracks, with classes taught by an outstanding faculty of scholars. In 2015, Mercer was awarded a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society that recognizes exceptional achievement in the arts and sciences. For more information, visit liberalarts.mercer.edu.
About Mercer University
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. With approximately 9,000 students enrolled in 12 schools and colleges, on major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; medical school sites in Macon, Savannah and Columbus; and at regional academic centers in Henry and Douglas counties, Mercer is ranked among the top tier of national research universities by U.S. News & World Report. The Mercer Health Sciences Center includes the University’s School of Medicine and Colleges of Nursing, Health Professions and Pharmacy. Mercer is affiliated with five teaching hospitals – Atrium Health Navicent The Medical Center and Piedmont Macon Medical Center in Macon; Memorial Health University Medical Center in Savannah; and Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital and St. Francis-Emory Healthcare in Columbus. The University also has an educational partnership with Robins Air Force Base in Warner Robins. It operates an academic press and a performing arts center in Macon, an engineering research center in Warner Robins, and Mercer Medicine clinics in Sumter, Peach, Clay and Putnam counties. Mercer is one of only 293 institutions nationwide to shelter a chapter of The Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation’s most prestigious academic honor society; one of eight institutions to hold membership in the Georgia Research Alliance; and the only private university in Georgia to field an NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit mercer.edu.