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A student guide to the Chester Ronning Centre

A student guide to the Chester Ronning Centre

Students encouraged to get involved

The Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life is a gathering point at Augustana, focusing on a broad range of themes where religion and public life intersect. The Centre seeks to bring to the university and to the general public original contributions that embody the highest standards of academic scholarship.

Ronning Centre Director and Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Augustana, Ian Wilson, invites all to join the conversation.

“Chester Ronning led an incredible life. He was a cowboy, politician and diplomat, but he was primarily an educator and lifelong learner. He is known to have said, ‘live until you’re old; learn until you’re old, and there is still so much to learn’,” said Wilson.

The work of the Chester Ronning Centre, today, is modelled on this aspect of Ronning’s life – his devotion to active democratic education.“When we bring scholars to Camrose to speak on particular issues, our aim is not to advocate for any single view, religious or otherwise,” said Wilson.

“The point is to facilitate learning, a chance for for us to learn from the scholars, and the scholars to learn from us, to aid in our collective understanding of how people live and act in the world today, especially with regard to religious beliefs and practices,” said Wilson.

Wilson said that the centre is hosting two feminist theologians, one Muslim and one Christian, to share their perspectives, and to discuss the similarities and differences across traditional theological divides.

“The point is to learn, to bring different perspectives into conversation with one another and to figure out how we can live better with and among those whose positions are different than our own,” said Wilson.

Diane McGall, Administrative Assistant at the Ronning Centre said that this fall the centre is hosting dialogues on many different topics where faith intersects with public life.

“All of our events are open to students, faculty, staff and the community, and most are free of charge. We’d love to see more students joining in on the discussion. Our goal is to create a safe, inclusive space for all to share their thoughts on the issue under discussion,” said McGall.

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