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Lund-Gill: The endowed chair is not a piece of furniture

By: Cait Guerra, Contributing Reporter

One problem with the Lund-Gill, bringing an established scholar to campus with a specialization in a field related to the arts and sciences, is that non-honor students often don’t know what the Lund-Gill chair is or have never even heard of it.

“I feel like non-honor students have no idea what the Lund-Gill chair is, but honors students have a general idea of it because we get emails about it during the year,” junior honors student Katy Somerfield said.

Several non-Honor students backed this idea up.

Stephanie Jones, a non-honors junior, said, “What is the Lund-Gill? Is that a piece of furniture?”

Non-honor students aren’t allowed to take classes offered with the Lund-Gill chair unless approved by RCAS. This might mean that students are losing out.

“Non-honor students are sometimes the ones that really want to take these classes, but they don’t really know when they’re offered,” Somerfield said.

However, this assumption might all change.  Since 2007, Dominican has offered the Lund-Gill Chair. This year, the new Lund-Gill chair is Eboo Patel, the president and founder of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC).

Patel has been involved with Dominican since the summer and already has some knowledge of the inner workings of the school. Since he has been profiled by University Ministry and through the IFYC movement more students might learn about Lund-Gill- the endowed chair, not a piece of furniture.

“It’s an endowed chair, which means that people put money to the chair to sponsor it,” Clodagh Weldon, Ph.D., one of the Honors Committee’s coordinators and theology professor, said,

The chair is sponsored by donors and named in honor of former Dominican president, Sr. Candida Lund and former English professor, Sr. Cyrille Gill. These two women were supporters and alumnae of Dominican.

According to the DU Web site, the goal of the scholars in this chair is to “address the themes and issues at the heart of the liberal arts and sciences.”

Dean Jeffrey Carlson of the Rosary College of Arts and Sciences (RCAS) said, “The people chosen come here for a semester or a year and teach an Honors class. Along with that they give public lectures about their topic.”

Sometimes the Lund-Gill chair will do other projects outside of teaching Honors classes.

“One chair had people from his field come to DU for a discussion of his book, and then a dinner, and then one of those well-known people in the field gave a public lecture in the evening,” Professor Ann Charney Colmo, who used to head the Honors Committee, said,

Since they teach an Honors class, the Honors Committee plays a big role in choosing the chair. They usually send an email out to the entire faculty asking if they could pick one of the greatest minds in any field to teach a class, who they would choose. Based off these answers they narrow it down and then Carlson makes the final decision.

This year, they decided that the individual that fits this is Eboo Patel.

Dominican has been working with Patel and IFYC throughout the year to create religious dialogue amongst the Dominican community.

“We wanted to continue this partnership with IFYC and his being here is a continuation of that,” Carlson said.

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