2020 Dr. Byron I. Bitar Memorial Lectures - The Philosophical Life: Celebrating a Legacy - Geneva College
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2020 Dr. Byron I. Bitar Memorial Lectures - The Philosophical Life: Celebrating a Legacy

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This event will not be held at this time due to concerns about the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

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.

(BEAVER FALLS, Pa.) — 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. These talks will be given on Wednesday and Thursday evenings, March 25-26, in John White Chapel at Geneva College.

Lecturers include:

  • Keith Martel (PhD, Duquesne University), Associate Professor of Higher Education and Director of the Graduate Program, Geneva College, Beaver Falls, PA.
  • Kyle David Bennett (PhD, Fuller Seminary), Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Department Chair, Caldwell University, Caldwell, NJ.
  • John Buchmann (PhD, University of Chicago), Executive Director, The Beatrice Institute, Pittsburgh, PA.
  • Jennifer Kiefer Fenton (PhD, Marquette University), Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Theory, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI.

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 p.m., Thursday, March 26, in Northwood 013 at Geneva College.

Schedule of Events

Wednesday, March 25 Skye Lounge (open to the public)

7 p.m.: Dr. Kyle D. Bennett, “Idolizing on Instagram: Phenomenological Considerations”

8 p.m.: Dr. Keith R. Martel, “The Place of Education”

Thursday, March 26 John White Chapel (open to the public)

4 p.m.: “The Philosophical Life”: Panel of Philosophy Majors

7 p.m.: Dr. John Buchmann, “Money as Metaphysical Monstrosity: Or, How to Do Christian Ethics in the Void”

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”


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).

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 M.T.S. at Duke Divinity School.

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.

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.

Geneva College is a Christ-centered academic community that provides a comprehensive education to equip students for faithful and fruitful service to God and neighbor. Offering over 145 traditional undergraduate majors and programs, fully online Adult Degree Programs and high-demand graduate degrees, Geneva’s programs are recognized for their high quality. Geneva is included on Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s “2019 Best College Values” list and has one of the top undergraduate engineering programs in the nation, according to U.S. News and World Report. Adhering to the truth of Scripture, a Geneva education is grounded in God’s Word as well as in a core curriculum designed to prepare students vocationally to think, write and communicate well in today’s world.

Feb 19, 2020