Annual Bitar Memorial Lecture Series - Geneva College, a Christian College in Pennsylvania (PA)

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Annual Bitar Memorial Lecture Series


Theme poster featuring an image of the feet of several individuals wearing different shoes. The design reads, The Philosophical Life: Celebrating a Legacy

2020 Dr. Byron I. Bitar Memorial Lectures

The Philosophical Life: Celebrating a Legacy

March 25 and 26 at Geneva College

The Bitar Memorial Lectures will not be held at this time due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus.

Celebrated Christian author G.K.Chesterton wrote: “This at least seems to me the main problem: How can we contrive to be at once astonished at the world and yet at home in it?” The philosophical life consists in a posture of wonder toward the world, expressed in fundamental questions about being, doing, knowing, and humanness. To be human is to philosophize. To presume that one can opt out is to deny one’s own humanness. Christian believers particularly seek the love of wisdom (philosophy) as the love of God.

Geneva College offers students the opportunity to cultivate the philosophical life essential to humanness and to professional excellence in all walks of life. Our program also equips its majors for graduate study and a lifetime of professional philosophical service to the world and the church.

The 2020 Dr. Byron I. Bitar Memorial Lectures will feature four Geneva College Philosophy Majors who have completed a PhD in Philosophy.

Dr. Kyle D. Bennett

Dr. Kyle D. Bennett

(PhD Fuller Seminary), Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair, Caldwell University, Caldwell, NJ.

Dr. John Buchmann

Dr. John Buchmann

(PhD University of Chicago), Executive Director, The Beatrice Institute, Pittsburgh, PA

Dr. Jennifer Kiefer Fenton

Dr. Jennifer Kiefer Fenton

(PhD Marquette University), Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Theory, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI.

Dr. Keith R. Martel

Dr. Keith R. Martel

(PhD Duquesne University), Associate Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Graduate Program, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA.

These talks will be given on Geneva’s campus, Wednesday and Thursday evenings, March 25-26, at 7 and 8 pm. The public is welcome to join faculty and students.

The Lecture Series also will feature a panel of Philosophy Graduates from an array of walks of life, discussing the philosophical life. The panel will be held at 4 pm Thursday, March 26.

2020 Bitar Lecture - Schedule of Events

Wednesday, March 25, 2020
  7 p.m.  Dr. Kyle D. Bennett
"Idolizing on Instagram: Phenomenological Considerations"

Skye Lounge
  8 p.m. Dr. Keith R. Martel
"The Place of Education: On Environment, Purity, and Alienation"

Skye Lounge
Thursday, March 26, 2020
4 p.m. Panel of Philosophy Majors
"The Philosophical Life"
John White Chapel
7 p.m. Dr. John Buchmann
"Money as Metaphysical Monstrosity: Or, How to Do Christian Ethics in the Void”
John White Chapel
8 p.m. Dr. Jennifer Kiefer Fenton
"Why I Agree with My Students that ‘Socrates was kind of a Jerk!’: Lessons from My Students, Jane Addams, and Dr. Frazier on a Storied Socratic Method for Democratic Theory"
John White Chapel

2020 Bitar Memorial Lecturers

Dr. Kyle D. Bennett

Dr. Kyle D. Bennett

Dr. Kyle D. Bennett (MA, PhD, Fuller Seminary) is Associate Professor of Philosophy, and Chair of the Theology and Philosophy Department at Caldwell University, in Caldwell, NJ. He also directs the Spirituality and Leadership Institute, a think tank and training center that focuses on spiritual formation and citizenship in North American democratic society. He is author of Practices of Love: Spiritual Disciplines for the Life of the World (Brazos, 2017).

Dr. John Buchmann

Dr. John Buchmann

Dr. John Buchmann is Executive Director of Beatrice Institute, in Pittsburgh, PA. He is a moral theologian working at the intersection of ethical theory, Catholic social thought, and economics. He completed his PhD in religious ethics at the University of Chicago after earning an MTS at Duke Divinity School.

Dr. Jennifer Kiefer Fenton

Dr. Jennifer Kiefer Fenton

Dr. Jennifer Kiefer Fenton is Adjunct Associate Professor of Political Theory in the Political Science Department and the Public Service Graduate Program at Marquette University. She teaches courses in Political Ethics and Professional Ethics, and she serves the department as Coordinator for Internships. Her research specializations are normative democratic theory, Pragmatist social epistemology, and professional ethics for the public and nonprofit sectors. She earned her MA in Philosophy from the University at Buffalo, SUNY and her PhD in Philosophy from Marquette University.

Dr. Keith R. Martel

Dr. Keith R. Martel

Dr. Keith R. Martel is Director of the Master of Arts in Higher Education program at Geneva College; he also serves as faculty in Political Science. He holds a PhD in Philosophy from Duquesne University and an MA in Higher Education from Geneva College. Dr. Martel’s current interests in educational philosophy include questions concerning technology and environment from a phenomenological perspective.

Dr. Byron I. Bitar Memorial Lecture

Dr. Byron I. Bitar
Dr. Byron I. Bitar

The Dr. Byron I. Bitar Memorial Lecture in Philosophy was endowed by the William C. Kriner Family in memory of Geneva College′s beloved professor of a quarter-century, in order to continue his legacy and vision for philosophy. The Lecture was inaugurated in 2004, a year after Dr. Bitar′s untimely death. Past Bitar Lecturers include renowned philosophers Stephen Evans, Paul Helm, Alvin Plantinga, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Linda Zagzebski.

In addition to the lectures, the Bitar event includes a special by-invitation banquet for student and alumni Philosophy Majors, as well as to honor the Lectures′ endowing families, the William Kriners and the family of Byron Bitar. It features the announcement of the annual Bitar Cash Prize for best student philosophy paper, a gift from Mrs. Gail Bitar. Also there is a catered meal for the Lecturers and the Panelists.


Past Bitar Lecturers include:

  • 2004-05: Dr. Stephen Evans, Baylor University – “Can Love be Commanded?: Kierkegaard on the Foundations of Moral Obligation”        
  • 2005-06: Dr. Paul Helm – “John Calvin′s Big Idea”
  • 2006-07: Dr. Nicholas Wolterstorff – "Love and Justice"
  • 2007-08: Dr. Linda Zagzebski – "Self-Trust and Religious Belief"
  • 2008-09: Dr. James K.A. Smith – "A Liturgical Phenomenology for a Post-Secular Age"
  • 2009-10: Dr. R.J. Snell – "Culture of Boredom, Culture of Death"
  • 2010-11: Dr. Paul K. Moser – “Expecting a Severe God”
  • 2011-12: Dr. Alvin Plantinga – “Science, Religion and Naturalism”
  • 2012-13: Dr. Nancey Murphy – “Human Nature at the Intersection of Science, Religion and Philosophy”
  • 2013-14: Dr. Merold Westphal – "Getting from There to Here: From Modernity to Postmodernity"
  • 2014-15: Dr. D.C. Schindler – "A Pre-Modern Response to the Post-Modern 'Lonely Mind’"
  • 2015-16: Dr. Gregory R. Beabout - "Philosophical Wisdom for Business Savvy: The Character of the Manager"
  • 2016-17: Dr. Frances Howard-Snyder  - "The Moral Risk of Trust: Learning from Fiction"
  • 2017-18: Dr. D.C. Schindler - “Hans Urs von Balthasar on Beauty” and Dr. John F. Crosby
    “Dietrich von Hildebrand’s Defense of Beauty Against Its Detractors"
  • 2018-19: Dr. R. J. Snell/Dr. Matthew Kaemingk  - "Political Theology: Classical & Reformed Approaches"

Contact us to receive free Bitar Lecturer Quotation Bookmarks from our annual series.

Email  rmfrazie@geneva.eduemeek@geneva.edu or call 724-847-6700.

Philosophy at Geneva College

“Engaging the philosophical conversation, honing critical skills and passions, cultivating wisdom, for service, for living; in submission to Jesus Christ the Truth.”