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Ducharme Lecture Series

The Ducharme Lecture series is an annual lecture series fostering integration of knowledge in the liberal arts curriculum. The series is named for Robert Ducharme, Professor Emeritus of English.

Classic Politics in an American Context: The Fall 2020 Ducharme Lecture

Wednesday, September 23 at 4 p.m. in Knott Auditorium and via livestream

What would the great thinkers Mount students study in our sequenced and integrated core curriculum think about the American political system? Those who attend or watch the Fall 2020 Ducharme Lecture will have a unique opportunity to find out. Entitled “Classic Texts and the American Political System: St. Augustine, Machiavelli, and Plato.”

Learn more

Past Lectures

Daniel McMahon, Ph.D.

Lecture topic: Mapping Utopia: From Plato to Atwood to Where We Live
March 10, 2020

dan-mcmahon-ducharme-feature.jpgIn a lecture entitled, “Mapping Utopia: From Plato to Atwood to Where We Live,” Daniel McMahon, Ph.D., describes utopias as imagined, perfect societies that can only exist within the world of literature. Because perfection is so difficult to sustain, utopian societies often fall apart so the literary genre maintains strong ties to the dystopian tradition. Situating utopias into the history of ideas, McMahon argues that thinkers use them to break down the boundaries between academic disciplines and directly confront some of the big questions in life about how we should live, what are the legitimate sources of power and what is the goal of society. These questions, McMahon maintains, also inform the Mount’s innovative liberal arts curriculum.

McMahon is the principal of DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyatsville, Maryland. An award-winning educator, he graduated from the Mount in 1980 and serves on the boards of many nonprofit organizations including the Advisory Board of the Mount’s College of Liberal Arts. In 2019, he founded the Mount St. Mary’s University Alumni Book Award. He also frequently works as a book reviewer, blogger, and newspaper commenter.

Rita George-Tvrtkovic, Ph.D.

r-g-tvrtkovic.jpgLecture Topic: The Virgin Mary--Bridge or Barrier between Catholics and Muslims?
April 10, 2019

Knott Auditorium

Rita George-Tvrtkovic, Ph.D., associate professor of theology at Benedictine University shares her study of both Christian and Islamic cultures and the connections we build in her talk titled, "The Virgin Mary—Bridge or Barrier between Catholics and Muslims?

Dr. Tvrtković is the author of A Christian Pilgrim in Medieval Iraq: Riccoldo da Montecroce’s Encounter with Islam and coedited Nicholas of Cusa and Islam: Polemic and Dialogue in the Middle Ages. She is also the former associate director of the Archdiocese of Chicago’s Office for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.

Check out her recent book Christians, Muslims, and Mary: A History (New York: Paulist Press, 2018).

Michael J. Towle, Ph.D.

Lecture Topic: Elections to the U.S. House of Representatives: Problems and Possibilities
October 3, 2018

Knott Auditorium

michael-towle_1.jpgDr. Michael Towle, Mount Professor of Political Science, will be presenting the lecture, "Elections to the U.S. House of Representatives: Problems and Possibilities." Elections to the U.S. House of Representatives have become problematic, with highly partisan candidates and gerrymandered districts. This lecture will address some of these problems and propose some possible solutions. This will be a timely and relevant lecture as we approach election day in November.

As a political commentator, Dr. Towle has been featured in U.S. News and World Report as well as The Baltimore Sun. He is also the author of Out of Touch: The Presidency and Public Opinion.

Kurt Blaugher, Ph.D. & David McCarthy, Ph.D.

Batman's Quest: Saving Gotham and Healing the Soul
April 18, 2018

david-and-kurt.jpgKurt E. Blaugher has been the director of theatre at Mount St. Mary’s University for thirty years, producing plays from across the dramatic spectrum. He has also taught nearly all of the courses in the humanities sequence of the Core Curriculum. His current work with David McCarthy, Saving the World and Healing the Soul, combines his interests in both classic storytelling and popular culture. Dr. Blaugher received his B.A. from Washington and Jefferson College, his M.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, and his Ph.D. from Northwestern University.

David M. McCarthy is the associate provost at the Mount. He has written a variety of books, articles, and essays in the areas of moral theology and social ethics, and he was the founding editor of the Journal of Moral Theology. Along the line of Saving the World and Healing the Soul, he has published essays on Vietnam War films, The Wire, and Mad Men. Dr. McCarthy received his B.A. from High Point University, and his M.Div. and Ph.D. from Duke University.

Christopher Bellitto, Ph.D.

Luther and Church Reform: Catholic Perspectives

November 1, 2017

christopher-bellitto.jpgDr. Christopher M. Bellitto is professor of history at Kean University in New Jersey, where he teaches courses in ancient and medieval history. A specialist in church history and reform, he is the author of ten books, including the companion volumes Renewing Christianity and The General Councils. His articles have appeared in academic journals in the United States and Europe; he has won grants from the Fulbright Program and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Dr. Bellitto also serves as Academic Editor at Large of Paulist Press and series Editor in Chief of Brill's Companions to the Christian Tradition. A public speaker and media commentator on church history and contemporary Catholicism, he appears frequently in print, on radio, and television.

Maureen Corrigan, Ph.D.

maureen-corrigan.jpgThe Greatness of Gatsby
March 15, 2017

Maureen Corrigan is the "critic in residence" and the Nicky and Jamie Grant Distinguished Professor of the Practice in Literary Criticism at Georgetown University, and the scholarly curator for the American Writers Museum in Chicago (2017 opening). Corrigan's book So We Read On: How The Great Gatsby Came To Be and Why It Endures, published in 2014 by Little, Brown, has gained her considerable national attention. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania. She received her B.A. in English from Fordham University.

Michelle Francl, Ph.D.

francl-michelle.pngIn the Thicket of this World: Doing Science as a Person of Faith
November 2, 2016

Michelle M. Francl is a professor of chemistry and chair of the chemistry department at Bryn Mawr College, where she has been on the faculty since 1986 and an adjunct scholar at the Vatican Observatory. She is a quantum chemist who has published in areas ranging from the development of methods for computational chemistry to the structures of topologically intriguing molecules.

Martin Malone, Ph.D.

malone_martin.jpgThe Liberated Imagination: Toward an adequate understanding of complexity
February 22, 2016

Dr. Malone is a university professor of sociology and former chair of the Department of Sociology and has taught at Mount St. Mary's University since 1985. He holds a bachelor's degree from New York University, a master's degree from Southern Illinois University in anthropology, and a doctoral degree in sociology from Indiana University.

Sarah Ruden, Ph.D.

sarah-ruden.jpgAugustine as a Guide through the Perils of Modernity: The Confessions on How to Think, Read, Write, and Live
September 23, 2015

Sarah Ruden holds a doctoral degree in classical philology from Harvard University and a master's degree from the Johns Hopkins Writing Seminars. She has taught Latin, English, and writing at Harvard, Yale, and the University of Cape Town, and has been a tutor for the South African Education and Environment Project, an education-enrichment nonprofit in Cape Town. She is a poet, translator, essayist, and popularizer of Biblical linguistics.

Associate Professor Jessy Jordan, Ph.D.

jordan_jessy.jpgThe Liberal Arts in an Age of Distraction: Cultivating Humanity in the Digital Ruins
April 29, 2015

Dr. Jordan earned his doctoral degree in philosophy from Baylor University in 2008. His areas of specialization are Iris Murdoch, value theory and metaethics. He was drawn to the Mount because of its distinctive Catholic liberal arts mission. A great deal of his teaching time is thus happily spent teaching courses in the core curriculum; however, he has also taught electives such as philosophy and literature, contemporary Catholic philosophy, contemporary value theory and metaethics.

Dr. Leon R. Kass


The Other War on Poverty: The Search for Meaning in America
October 2, 2014

Leon R. Kass, M.D., Ph.D. is the Addie Clark Harding Professor Emeritus of Social Thought and in the College at the University of Chicago, and the Madden-Jewett Chair at the American Enterprise Institute. He was the chairman of the President's Council on Bioethics from 2001 to 2005. He has been engaged for more than 40 years with ethical and philosophical issues raised by biomedical advances, and is known as an opponent of human cloning, life extension and euthanasia, and as a critic of certain areas of technological progress and embryo research. He is a proponent of liberal arts education, via the "Great Books."