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Christensen Symposium

“Who are ‘We?’ A Sikh perspective on vocation, justice, and death”
Dr. Rahuldeep Gill
October 3, 2018

Dr. Rahuldeep Gill is an author and educator who believes in the power of “heartful” means to develop effective and innovative leaders with global perspectives. Through his lectures and workshops he works to build pluralism and cross-cultural relations to inspire connected communities on campus, in the workplace, and in the marketplace.

He has spoken before diverse audiences of all sizes at events sponsored by the State Department’s Study of United States Institutes, the Church Center for the United Nations, University of California, California State Universities, National Conference on Race and Ethnicity in Higher Education, and the Interfaith Youth Core.

The Los Angeles Times,, Huffington Post, and San Francisco Chronicle have published his writings. He published his first book, Drinking from Love’s Cup, with Oxford University Press, and he is currently translating the poetry of the earliest Sikh scriptures while also writing his memoir.

Dr. Gill speaks about how connected communities are on the vanguard of social justice. In his talks, he takes his audience through a series of conversations and exercises to help them understand what it means to have organizational change and heartful leadership development. He has been described as “a public intellectual who is extremely comfortable with engaging in inter-faith contexts” and “a beautiful writer and eloquent speaker”.

 A native of the Boston area, Dr. Gill earned his bachelors, with Honors, from the University of Rochester in New York and doctorate from the University of California in Santa Barbara. Dr. Gill helped raise over one million dollars as the past Director for the Center for Equality and Justice (CEJ) at California Lutheran University. He is still a tenured faculty member and Campus Interfaith Strategist at Cal Lutheran, and is the visiting professor of Sikh Studies at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, California. He has twice been voted Cal Lutheran’s Diversity Professor of the Year and lives in Los Angeles with his family.

Center for Wellness and Counseling Convocation

“Greatness Lives in All of Us!”
Gloria Burgess
November 8, 2018

A former IT and human services executive, Dr. Gloria J. Burgess is now an acclaimed speaker, thought leader, and trusted advisor to Fortune 100 companies. She also serves as visiting faculty for executive leaders at Seattle University, University of Washington, University of Southern California, and IEDC Bled School of Management in Slovenia. Dr. Burgess has spoken to tens of thousands of people and consulted to dozens of top-tier organizations on six continents. Her clients include AT&T, Boeing, Microsoft, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Women’s International Network, Google, Amazon, Providence Health Services, President’s Office in Paraguay, Kenyan Parliament, and the South African Embassy.

Her popular books include Dare to Wear Your Soul on the Outside, Flawless Leadership, and Sanctuary: Restoring the Rhythm of Rest & Renewal. Dr. Burgess jokes that she wrote her latest book (Sanctuary) to help her slow down. This little book is filled with specially selected photos that will inspire us slow down and hit the pause button in our crazy-busy world. Which book did Dr. Burgess most enjoy writing? Her most recent book: Pass it On! This inspiring picture-book biography is about her father, Earnest McEwen, Jr., and his life-changing relationship with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Nobel Laureate William Faulkner. Learn more about Gloria’s work:


“Our Conversation with Dr. King: Class in Session”
Dr. Terrance Kwame-Ross
January 21, 2019

Terrance Kwame-Ross, Ph.D., is a local and national recognized Educator and Pedagogue. Dr. Kwame-Ross’ research and study of culture, language, knowledge, and learning, in and out of school, expand over 25 years across 38 United States, and 15 countries worldwide. Dr. Kwame-Ross believes, models, and teaches that humans can create self-knowledge to liberate themselves from societal and cultural tyranny. Dr. Kwame-Ross partners with Saint Paul Public Schools and Saint Paul Parks and Recreation where he co-develops programs with Black and Brown Male Youth. His current project, B2EOPB (Being, Believing, and Experiencing Our Personal Best) is a weekly Philosophy Advisory Program with Black and Brown Males in several Public and Charter High Schools, Saint Paul, MN, that supports the whole person in Black and Brown Males. An intergenerational co-created Music and Learning Studio located on the Eastside of Saint Paul at Dayton’s Bluff Recreation Center demonstrates best practices in working with and educating Black and Brown children and youth, specifically males.

Dr. Terrance Kwame-Ross is an Associate Professor in the Education Department, Augsburg University. Terrance also holds a Visiting Faculty-Lecturer appointment, in the School of Social Work, Youth Development Leadership (YDL) Graduate Program, University of Minnesota. Dr. Kwame-Ross’ scholarly research and practice focus on how humans learn, grow, and stay the same, over their life span.

Terrance has taught at the elementary and middle-level grades in public schools, Co-founded and served as Principal and Director of New City School, an arts-infused academic, and social-emotional integrated Public Charter School located in Minneapolis, Minnesota; Created community-base after-school programs for young people for creative self-expression; Served as a curriculum developer, trainer, and consultant to many formal and non-formal organizations locally and nationally; Worked in residential treatment programs, and camping settings, directing and facilitating multi-cultural programs for the Wilder Foundation, St. Paul, Mn. Consultant to local, state and national School Districts around policy, practice, and educational research. former Executive Director of The Origins Program, a nationally recognized non-for-profit equity training center for teachers.

In addition, Dr. Kwame-Ross also served as Clinical Supervisor for My Home Inc., a community-based African-American Transition Institute in St. Paul, MN, where he supervised and led men’s parenting, anger, and domestic abuse programs and groups for 18 years for Black and Brown males and their families.


“Ethical Imagination: Buddhist-Postmodern Approaches”
Dr. Jin Y. Park
March 7, 2019

Jin Y. Park is Professor of Philosophy and Religion and Founding Director of Asian Studies Program at American University. Park’s research areas include East Asian Buddhism (especially Zen and Huayan Buddhism), postmodernism, deconstruction, Buddhist ethics, Buddhist philosophy of religion, Buddhist-postmodern comparative philosophy, and modern East Asian philosophy. Park’s research in Buddhism
focuses on the Zen and Huayan schools of East Asian Buddhism on language, violence, and ethics. In her comparative study, Park reads Zen and Huayan Buddhism together with postmodern thought in Continental philosophy, with a special focus on Jacques Derrida’s deconstruction. Park’s research on modern East Asian philosophy examines the dawn of philosophy in East Asia and the East-West encounter in this context.

In her monograph Buddhism and Postmodernity: Zen, Huayan, and the Possibility of Buddhist-Postmodern Ethics (2008), Park discusses Buddhism and continental philosophy on the topics of self, language, and violence. In this book, Park offers the “ethics of tension” as a potential ethical paradigm drawn from Buddhism and postmodern philosophy. Reflections of a Zen Buddhist Nun (2014), is a translation of a book published in Korean in 1960 by Kim Iryŏp (1896-1971), a writer, first-generation Korean feminist, Buddhist nun, and philosopher. In this book, Kim Iryŏp offers a creative interpretation of Buddhist philosophy and practice. In Women and Buddhist Philosophy: Engaging Zen Master Kim Iryop (2017), Park proposes a new mode of philosophizing based on the discussion of Kim Iryŏp’s life and philosophy. Park is also the editor of volumes: Buddhisms and Deconstructions (2006), Merleau-Ponty and Buddhism (co-edited, 2009), Comparative Political Theory and Cross-Cultural Philosophy (2009), and Makers of Modern Korean Buddhism (2010).

Park currently serves as President of the Society for Asian and Comparative Philosophy and also President of the North American Korean Philosophy Association. Park also served on the Board of Directors at the American Academy of Religion.

The General Leif j. Sverdrup Visiting Scientist LECTURE

“Serving up Science: Plant Genetics and the Future of Food”
Dr. Pamela Ronald
April 15, 2019

Pamela Ronald is a Distinguished Professor in the Department of Plant Pathology and the Genome Center, University of California, Davis. Ronald studies rice genes that control resistance to disease and tolerance to environmental stress. Ronald and colleagues received the 2008 USDA National Research Initiative Discovery Award and the 2012 Tech Award for innovative use of technology to benefit humanity. In 2014 she was named one of the world’s most influential scientific minds by Thomson Reuters, in 2015 was selected by Scientific American as one of the world’s 100 most influential people in biotechnology, and in 2016 was named one of the 50 innovators and visionaries who will lead us toward a more sustainable future by Grist magazine. She is co-author of Tomorrow’s Table: Organic Farming, Genetics, and the Future of Food. Her 2015 TED talk has been viewed by more than 1.5 million people and translated into 24 languages.