Living “the good life” has become the goal of millions of Americans. But, what do we mean when we use that term, and how do we determine what’s “good”?
The Center for Vocational Reflection at Gustavus wants to help the Gustavus community answer those questions and more. The speakers and events scheduled for the center’s fourth annual Lilly Conference on Vocation, scheduled for the week of February 28—March 5, explore some provocative, timeless, and profoundly human questions: What is “the good life,” and why? “Good” for whom, and at whose expense? What is the nature and place of creativity, truth, beauty, justice, faith, sustainability, community, and care in the good life? Of pain and suffering? What threatens the good life—or our conversation and deliberation about it?
The Lilly Conference is one of many aspects of the college’s mission-driven vocation initiative, which seeks to equip the entire campus community to be more intentional in thinking of their lives in terms of a calling to make a difference in the world. The conference features a number of events and activities for the entire campus community, many of which are also open to the public. Highlights include:
Monday, February 28
- 10 a.m. — Singer-songwriter Judy Gorman in Chapel
- 10:30 a.m.—3 p.m. — Center for Vocational Reflection open house, Johnson Student Union
- 11:30 a.m. — Lunch and conversation with Judy Gorman and environmental author Mike Schut
- 3:30 p.m. — Support Staff Workshop: “Simpler Living, Compassionate Life,” with Mike Schut, Linner Lounge
- 5:30 p.m. — Dinner and symposium: “Truth, Beauty, and Goodness: Liberal Arts, Vocation, and The Good Life,” with faculty members Pamela Kittelson, Joyce Sutphen, and Lee Brammer, Heritage Banquet Room
- 7:30 p.m. — Judy Gorman in concert, Courtyard Café
Tuesday, March 1
- 10 a.m. — Mike Schut in Chapel
- 11:30 a.m. — Lunch and conversation with Judy Gorman and Mike Schut (early seating), St. Peter Room
- 12:30 p.m. — Lunch and conversation with Judy Gorman and Mike Schut (later seating), St. Peter Room
- 3:30 p.m. — Workshop: “Simpler Living, Compassionate Life,” with Mike Schut, Linner Lounge
- 5:30 p.m. — Dinner and conversation with Judy Gorman and Mike Schut, Heritage Banquet Room
- 6:30 p.m. — Symposium: “Interfaith and Multicultural Perspectives on The Good Life,” with Judy Gorman and Mike Schut, Heritage Banquet Room
Wednesday, March 2
- 12:30 p.m. — Student lunch with Mike Schut, St. Peter Room
Thursday, March 3
- 10 a.m. — Theologian/historian Richard Hughes in Chapel
- 5:30 p.m. — Dinner and conversation with Richard Hughes, St. Peter Room
- 7 p.m. — Keynote address: Richard Hughes, “Death, the Good Life, and Vocation,” Heritage Banquet Room
Friday, March 4
- 11:30 a.m. — Lunch and conversation with Richard Hughes, St. Peter Room
- 4:30 p.m. — Church-and-College Faculty/Staff Retreat, Gainey Center, Owatonna, Minn. (continuing through early afternoon on Saturday)
Guest presenter Judy Gorman is a singer-songwriter and activist who has performed in clubs, universities, festivals, and peace and justice events all across the country and abroad. Born and educated in New York City, Gorman earned a B.A. in literature and a master’s degree in art history. Before touring full-time as a musician, she taught English in Chinatown, assisted in oral surgery, worked at the Guggenheim Museum and the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and did construction work, community organizing, and radio program production in New York City.
Michael Schut is an environmental activist and editor of the award-winning book Simpler Living, Compassionate Life. Acting director of Earth Ministry, an ecumenical environmental awareness and action organization in Seattle that works with individuals and congregations to connect Christian faith with care and justice for the Earth, Schut teaches, speaks, and writes on topics of voluntary simplicity, social and economic justice, food choices and sustainability, and ecology and faith. His second book, Food and Faith: Justice, Joy, and Daily Bread, also an edited anthology and community-building study guide, was recently released.
Richard T. Hughes is Distinguished Professor of Religion and director of the Center for Faith and Learning at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. A scholar and teacher for more than 30 years, Hughes directs the “Pepperdine Voyage” project, part of the Lilly Endowment’s Programs in the Theological Exploration of Vocation, and has taught and written extensively on American religious history, religion and American culture, and the relationship between Christianity and American higher education. His books include Myths America Lives By, How Christian Faith Can Sustain the Life of the Mind, and Models for Christian Higher Education.
The annual conference on vocation is an important part of the CVR’s ongoing mission to engage the campus and surrounding communities in conversation and reflection on the “big questions”: Who am I and why am I here? What is my place in the world, and how can my life make a difference? Supported by the College’s Lilly Endowment, the center’s initiative is part of a broader national conversation around vocation, civic engagement, issues of faith and meaning, civil society and democracy, and the nature and purposes of higher education.
For more information on the conference, contact the CVR’s director, Chris Johnson, by telephone (507/934-4863), or visit the CVR’s website.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication Matt Thomas