Dr. Robert George, a Princeton University professor of jurisprudence and leading Christian scholar, recently visited Gustavus Adolphus College as the 2017 Lindau Resident in Conservative Thought.
A former Judicial Fellow to the Supreme Court of the United States, George served as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights from 1993 until 1998. In 2002, he was appointed to and served on the President’s Council on Bioethics. More recently, George has become a prominent voice in conservative thought with leading work on pressing social issues.
For George, the visit to Gustavus brought back memories of his own college career. With degrees from Harvard College and Oxford College, George began his post-secondary education at a liberal arts school similar to Gustavus, Swarthmore College.
“As the product of liberal arts education, this was a great opportunity to be able to meet students face to face in a smaller setting. I am not able to do this type of discussion in the larger classes that I currently teach at Princeton,” George said.
While on campus for his day and a half visit, George led formal discussions and lectures in four classes. He also held office hours for further conversation with students and faculty. Focusing on his area of research and thought, George engaged students from all majors and classes with questions of philosophy, morality, and ethics. This provided a unique opportunity for students to move beyond typical class discussions by directly engaging with the author of their assigned readings. George also met student groups and faculty during lunch and dinner sessions where a range of topics were explored and discussed.
“I am a complete outsider, yet I was welcomed with great warmth,” George said. “I was impressed by the students. They were uniformly thoughtful, open-minded, and well prepared to critically discuss the problems presented to them.”
In one of the final sessions of the visit, George sat down with faculty representing various departments on campus in an informal question-and-answer format. Engaging issues of contemporary concern and importance to the U.S. and the rest of the world, the central theme of the discussion fell under the necessity of civil dialogue and a movement away from partisan policy.
A strong advocate for civil discussion and debate, George appreciated the willingness of the College and its students to engage all viewpoints regardless of ideology. In his own work, George frequently collaborates with prominent scholar and colleague Dr. Cornel West, a leading voice in liberal thought.
“I have a strong appreciation for the faculty at Gustavus. During my visit, it was clear that they love to what they do and that the College prioritizes teaching as their true vocation,” George said. “At many universities, the focus for professors centers on research and scholarly work. It was promising to see that the importance of teaching remains.”
The Lindau Residency was created with generous funding from Phil and Nancy Lindau and the Lindau family and has enabled Gustavus students to engage with notable conservative scholars since its inception in 2009. Over the last few years, the Departments of Political Science, Religion, and Economics and Management have hosted Dr. Jay Sekulow, Dr. Arthur Brooks, and Dr. Charles Krauthammer on campus and created a learning environment that promotes broad-based dialogue and cultivates a respect for civil discourse of all viewpoints. Visit the Lindau Residency in Conservative Thought webpage to learn more about the annual program.
Media Contact: Director of Media Relations and Internal Communication JJ Akin