Fairfield University Professor Paul Lakeland, an internationally recognized Catholic theologian, to be inducted into Phi Beta Kappa


Image: Paul LakelandFairfield University's Zeta Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation's oldest academic honor society, is pleased to announce that the 2013 honorary inductee will be Paul Lakeland, Ph.D., the Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies and founding director of the Center for Catholic Studies at Fairfield. A Trumbull, Conn., resident, he is an internationally recognized Catholic theologian, whose scholarly work on the nature of the Roman Catholic Church continues to generate study and debate among the major scholars in his field. Dr. Lakeland, who called the honor "one of the high points of my academic career," will be formally inducted at the chapter's April 20, 2013 ceremony.

Aaron Perkus, Ph.D., associate dean for Fairfield's College of Arts and Sciences and interim president of the Zeta Chapter, said, "An invitation to membership in Phi Beta Kappa is a reflection of outstanding achievement. Dr. Lakeland was the obvious and unanimous choice to receive our honorary membership. Since PBK is only offered through American colleges and universities, the London and Oxford educated Dr. Lakeland never had the opportunity early in his prestigious career. However, in our opinion, through his vast and exceptional scholarly achievements, he is the perfect exemplar of the PBK motto: 'Love of learning is the guide of life.' "

In 2004, Dr. Lakeland was named the inaugural Aloysius P. Kelley S.J. Professor of Catholic Studies and founding director of the Center for Catholic Studies at the Jesuit institution. He has taught at Fairfield since 1981, serving as chair of the Department of Religious Studies for ten years and six years as director of the Honors Program. He teaches courses in liberation theology, Catholic ecclesiology and religion and literature.

Currently completing a book to appear in October on Vatican II's Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, to be called "A Council That Will Never End: Lumen Gentium and the Church Today," Dr. Lakeland is a member of the American Academy of Religion, the American Theological Society, the Catholic Theological Society of America, and the Workgroup for Constructive Theology, a Nashville-based ecumenical association of systematic and constructive theologians.

Among his more recent books are "The Liberation of the Laity: In Search of An Accountable Church" (2003), which won the Catholic Press Association Award for the best book in theology in 2004; "Catholicism at the Crossroads: How the Laity Can Save the Church" (2008); "Church: Living Communion" (2009), and "Yves Congar: Essential Writings" (2010). He writes on literature and modern culture for the Commonweal magazine blog, "Verdicts."

He holds a Licentiate in Philosophy from Heythrop Pontifical Athenaeum, an M.A. in English Language and Literature from Oxford University, a Bachelor of Divinity Degree from the University of London, and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University, where he wrote a dissertation on the later religious and political writings of G.W.F. Hegel, later published as "The Politics of Salvation: Hegel's Idea of the State." He is the author of eight books and dozens of articles, and editor or co-editor of two others.

Among his honors are the 1990 Fairfield University AHANA Students Professor of the Year Award, Fairfield University's 2004-5 Teacher of the Year Award, and the 2010 Alan Richardson Fellowship at Durham University in the United Kingdom. He and his pianist wife, Beth Palmer, are parents of a son, also a professional pianist.

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Media Contact: Meg McCaffrey, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2726, mmccaffrey@fairfield.edu

Posted on March 8, 2013

Vol. 45, No. 216