Past Lectures & Discussions

Every year, the Dean's Fellows organize high-profile lectures and debates to promote intellectual curiosity and cultural inclusion. These events entertain subject matters that are truly contended at the school and are of particular interest to students, faculty, and all other members of the Notre Dame community.

In December 2019, the Fellows hosted a debate on the ethics of immigration and citizenship titled, "Do We Have a Right to Build the Border Wall?" with Dr. Jason Brennan (Georgetown University) and Dr. Christopher Heath Wellman (Washington University in St. Louis), moderated by Dr. Graham Clay (Notre Dame). This event focused on United States immigration policy, namely whether nation-states have the right to exclude migrants and what it is to be a citizen of a nation-state. This event was co-sponosred by the Constitutional Studies Program; the Program of Liberal Studies; BridgeND; the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) Program; and the Department of Philosophy. 

In October 2019, the Fellows hosted a panel titled, "Where Did the Church Go Wrong? Correcting the Course." The four panelists included Prof. Richard Jones (Notre Dame Gallivan Journalism Program), Dr. Tim O'Malley (Notre Dame Theology Department), Prof. Jennifer Mason McAward (Notre Dame Law School), Fr. Pete McCormick (Notre Dame Campus Ministry), who discussed the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, covering its history and the pathway forward.

In March 2019, the Fellows hosted a debate titled, "Is It Time to Try Socialism?" The participants were Bhaskar Sunkara of Jacobin Magazine and Dr. Jay Richards of Catholic University of America. The use of socialism has steadily risen in our political vocabulary in the past few years. With new congressional representatives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez leading a new progressive movement, the debate on socialism is happening at the perfect time. Notre Dame has a special role in leading this debate due to our Catholic identity demanding an inclusive economy and society. We hope this event sparked a substantive dialogue on this issue at Notre Dame.

In February 2016, the Fellows invited Dr. Reza Aslan to campus to discuss the suggested relationship between Islam and radical terrorism. The event, "Islam and ISIS," addressed religious radicalism and its connection to terrorism in front of an audience of approximately 800 students, faculty and South Bend community members.

In Spring 2015, the Fellows put on an event entitled "Stepping Away from the Ivory Tower" focused on opening discussion about issues that directly impact members of the Notre Dame community. This three-part lecture series included "Failures of the Elite Education System" by Dr. William Deresiewicz, "Making International Service More Meaningful" by Daniela Papi Thornton (ND Class of 2000), and "Cross-Cultural and Inner City Engagement" by Michael Wilder, Yafinceio Harris, and Sam Bailey.

In April 2014, the Fellows hosted an event titled, "For the Love of the Game: Big Time Sports at Big Time Universities," which examined the challenges and merits of big-time sports on university campuses. 

In Spring 2012, the Fellows hosted a discussion on marriage equality with columnist Maggie Gallagher and Dr. John Corvino, along with a debate titled, "Holy Votes," on how a Catholic should vote, featuring Dr. Eric Sims, Dr. Sebastian Rosato, Dr. Vincent Phillip Muñoz, and Dr. Michael Desch. 

In 2010, the Fellows hosted the "God Debate," featuring Dinesh D'Souza and Christopher Hitchens, where tickets to the event sold out in 90 minutes. Due to the interest, the Fellows hosted a similar debate in 2011, with William Lane Craig and Sam Harris. 

The following videos are clips from previous events: