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Mercer University to Host National Conference of Church-Related Colleges

October 1, 2007

Media Contact: 
Mark Vanderhoek
(478) 301-4037 or (800) 837-2911, ext. 4037

Conference Contact:
Richard F. Wilson
(478) 301-2755

MACON, Ga., — The 17th annual national conference of the Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts will be held at Mercer University, Oct. 19-21. The conference’s theme is “Three Mirrors: Reflections of Faithful Living.”

The Lilly Fellows Program provides regular opportunities for church-related institutions of higher education to sustain discussion on issues in Christian understandings within the area of academic vocation.  Approximately 140 representatives from the 86 church-related colleges and universities in the Lilly Fellows National Network will meet at the conference to continue exploring relationships between higher education and Christianity.  They will be hosted by Mercer University faculty and administrators involved in the Lilly Fellows Program. 

“This program will offer an insightful experience to the visiting scholars from our sister schools and we’re excited to have the opportunity to host such an important conference,” said Dr. Richard F. Wilson, chair of the Columbus Roberts Department of Christianity of Mercer University and the organizer of the conference. “We welcome our colleagues to Macon and we hope that we can all learn from our presenters, their subjects and one another.”

The conference includes a vespers service at 5:45 p.m. in Newton Chapel on campus Friday, Oct. 19, which is open to the public.

Three keynote presentations will highlight the three-day conference:
Christina Bieber Lake, Ph.D., associate professor of English at Wheaton College, will speak on “Vocation through Limitation: Flannery O’Connor’s Life and Faith.” Beiber Lake teaches classes in America literature, African American literature, Southern literature, and literary theory. Her book, “The Incarnational Art of Flannery O’Connor,” published in 2005 by Mercer University Press describes how O’Connor viewed fiction as an ideal way to fight Gnostic dualisms prevalent in intellectual and religious life.

Ann Howard Jones, Ph.D., of Boston University will present “Teaching America to Sing: The Legacy of Robert Shaw.”  As professor of Music and director of Choral Activities, Jones conducts the Boston University Symphonic Chorus and Chamber Chorus, administers the master of music and doctor of musical arts degrees in choral conducting, and teaches advanced choral conducting. Along with being an acclaimed conductor and teacher, Jones was also closely associated with the late Robert Shaw, the Grammy-winning conductor, who founded the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra Chorus.

Andrew Manis, Ph.D., is one of Central Georgia’s leading authorities on the history of race relations. He is an assistant professor at Macon State College who will speak on the topic of “With and Without Honor: The Prophetic Legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. and American Response.”  The author of five books and numerous articles, Manis won the 2005 Georgia Author of the Year award for “Macon Black and White: he Unutterable Separation of the American Century.”

About the Lilly Fellows Program:
In addition to its education programs, the Lilly Fellows Program offers postdoctoral teaching fellowships to young scholars in order to renew, deepen, and enrich the intellectual and spiritual aspects of a life found within a Christian community of learning and vocation. Also, 15 young men and women exploring vocations in church-related higher vocations are recognized each year for their exceptional academic talent and are supported by the Lilly Fellows Program for their first three years of graduate school.  All initiatives relate to the mission of the Lilly Fellows Program, which is to provide a constantly evolving agenda for church-related higher learning for the twenty-first century.

The Lilly Fellows Program in Humanities and the Arts is funded by the Lilly Endowment Inc., the LFP National Network of Church-Related Colleges and Universities, and Valparaiso University.  Mark R. Schwehn, professor of Humanities at Christ College, is project director of the Lilly Fellows Program, John Steven Paul, professor in the Department of Theatre at Valparaiso University, serves as program director, and Joe Creech, adjunct assistant professor of History and Humanities at Christ College, as assistant program director.  Kathy Sutherland is the administrative assistant for the Lilly Fellows Program.

About Mercer University:
Founded in 1833, Mercer University is a dynamic and comprehensive center of undergraduate, graduate and professional education. The University has 7,300 students; 11 schools and colleges – liberal arts, law, pharmacy, medicine, business, engineering, education, theology, music, nursing and continuing and professional studies; major campuses in Macon and Atlanta; four regional academic centers across the state; a university press; two teaching hospitals — Memorial Health University Medical Center and the Medical Center of Central Georgia; educational partnerships with Warner Robins Air Logistics Center in Warner Robins and Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta; an engineering research center in Warner Robins; a performing arts center in Macon; and a NCAA Division I athletic program. For more information, visit
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