SPRINGFIELD, Ohio Warren Copeland, professor of religion at Wittenberg University, will present “Can You Catch the Spirit at City Hall?” at 4 p.m. Friday, May 2 in Ness Family Auditorium, Hollenbeck Hall.
Copeland’s presentation will be the highlight of his installation as the Kenneth E. Wray Chair in the Humanities. Provost Kenneth Bladh announced the appointment in August upon the recommendation of Copeland’s faculty colleagues in the humanities.
Professor Copeland will take his presentation from a chapter of a book he is currently working on in which he argues that politics is a legitimate expression of religion. "Being involved in public life is as valuable, religiously, as religion is to our private lives," according to Copeland. He will discuss how religious principles influence politics and how political action helps us rethink our religious commitments.
Copeland joined the Wittenberg faculty in 1977. Since then he has served as director of Common Learning, director of Urban Studies and has won the university’s highest honor for teaching, the Alumni Association’s Distinguished Teaching Award. He has also been active in Springfield politics, being elected to the City Commission four times. He is currently serving as Springfield mayor and is seeking a fifth term.
The chair was endowed by the late university board member Ruth Wray in honor of her husband, and to recognize Wittenberg's humanities faculty, whose work she greatly admired.
An endowed chair represents one of the most prestigious achievements for college faculty members at American universities. Created by gifts to the university of well over $1 million, endowed chairs are designed to support faculty activities such as program research. Wittenberg currently has five endowed chairs.
Copeland has authored numerous papers on ethics and served as the primary author and editor of "Updating the Dream: Springfield Looks at 2000 and Beyond." He has published three scholarly books, "And the Poor Get Welfare: The Ethics of Poverty in the United States" (1994), "Economic Justice: The Ethics of U.S. Economic Policy" (1988), and "Issues of Justice: Social Structures and Religious Meanings" (1988). He is currently developing a manuscript based on personal ethical reflections on his experience in city politics.
He earned his B.A. degree from MacMurray College in Jacksonville, Ill., where he was named Distinguished Alumnus of the Year in 1983. Her obtained his M.Div. from Christian Theological Seminary and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Copeland and his wife Clara reside in Springfield, and they have two grown children, Scott and Karen, and a granddaughter, Angel Mitchem, who lives with them.
Located just 15 minutes from the I-70/I-75 interchange, in Springfield, Ohio, Wittenberg University is consistently recognized as among the nation's leading liberal arts colleges for academic reputation and faculty quality.
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