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Wittenberg Provost Christopher Duncan To Speak At Annual Wittenberg Series-Sponsored Opening Convocation

August 24, 2011  
 Filed in Events

Springfield, Ohio – The 2011-12 Wittenberg Series schedule opens with the annual Opening Convocation at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, in historic Weaver Chapel, featuring a presentation titled “Virtue and Vocation: Habits for the Journey” by University Provost Christopher M. Duncan.

Duncan, who started at Wittenberg on July 1 after previously serving as dean of the McAnulty College and Graduate School of Liberal Arts at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pa., will speak about finding one’s calling and the moral habits and practices that will allow someone to lead a successful life. As Wittenberg’s second highest-ranking official and its new chief academic officer, Duncan provides intellectual vision and leadership for the academic program and budget, educational policies, academic appointments, and the stimulation of teaching and research.

“I am excited and honored to be kicking off what I gather is the 29th year of the Wittenberg Series,” Duncan said. “I am thrilled to be at Wittenberg and looking forward to the start of the year.”

Duncan was also a professor of political science at Duquesne, where he was responsible for 170 tenured and tenure-track faculty members, about 200 contingent faculty, 1586 undergraduates and 700 graduate students in more than 33 majors and minors. As dean, Duncan spearheaded and negotiated a successful affiliation agreement between the National Institute for Newman Studies and Duquesne University, which resulted in a $2.5 million gift and the creation of an endowed chair. Additionally, Duncan partnered with the Spiritans to help establish a Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation Program, actively recruited one of the leading Catholic bioethicists in the world for Duquesne’s healthcare ethics program, facilitated the establishment of several other programs in the curriculum, and served on numerous boards to advance Duquesne’s mission and vision.

Prior to his time at Duquesne, Duncan served as professor and chair of political science at the University of Dayton, where he helped lead the effort to create the first inter-disciplinary B.A. degree in human rights studies in the United States among other key partnerships and initiatives aligned with the university’s mission. Before joining the University of Dayton, Duncan taught political science at Mississippi State University.

Duncan has published two books, 19 refereed articles in professional journals, 12 book reviews and three book chapters, and he has presented numerous conference papers at professional meetings. He has also published articles in Commonweal and is currently nearing completion of his third book tentatively titled Creative Fidelity: The Catholic Social Tradition and The American Liberal State.

A 1987 graduate of the University of Michigan-Dearborn with a B.A. in philosophy and political science, Duncan earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science with a focus in political theory from Wayne State University. His selection received the unanimous endorsement of the Wittenberg Board of Directors.

The Wittenberg Series was created in 1982 during President William Kinnison’s tenure. Since its inception, Nobel Laureates, significant literary figures, most of America’s foremost modern dance companies, as well as hundreds of prominent psychologists, educators, economists, theologians, urban planners and historians, have visited campus to participate in The Wittenberg Series.

All events of The Wittenberg Series are free and open to the public. The Wittenberg Series annually brings distinguished lecturers and performing artists of national and international prominence to the Wittenberg campus and Springfield community. To make special arrangements, reserve a Series poster, or become a friend of the Wittenberg Series, contact Jeannine Fox at (937) 327-7470 or via email at

Written By: Sydney Watsek and Ryan Maurer


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