Villanova University School of Law (VLS) is the recipient of a major grant from the John Templeton Foundation for the creation of the Libertas Project, a new initiative exploring religious and economic freedom in the context of law and religion in American public life. Conceived and directed by VLS Vice Dean Michael Moreland, the Libertas Project seeks to bring together concerns about religious freedom and economic freedom in a common framework that situates both topics amid a larger conversation about freedom, law, and virtue.
“The Libertas Project, which explores issues of intellect and spirituality, furthers our mission as an Augustinian Catholic institution,” said John Y. Gotanda, Dean of Villanova University School of Law. “We are grateful to the John Templeton Foundation for its support of this important initiative.”
Launching in 2014, the Libertas Project will bring leading scholars, judges, and policy makers to Villanova University School of Law through conferences, workshops, and sponsored research. Work related to the project will include book manuscripts, journal articles, and course development.
“Through the generosity of the John Templeton Foundation, the Libertas Project will foster a greater understanding of the ways in which religious and economic freedom can foster the development of character that advances the prosperity and health of a good society,” said Vice Dean Moreland. “By cultivating an appreciation of the interrelationship between religious and economic freedom and a good society, this initiative will help shape the theory and practice of law in the United States.”
The John Templeton Foundation serves as a philanthropic catalyst for discoveries relating to the Big Questions of human purpose and ultimate reality. The Foundation supports research on subjects ranging from complexity, evolution, and infinity to creativity, forgiveness, love, and free will. It encourages civil, informed dialogue among scientists, philosophers, and theologians and between such experts and the public at large, for the purposes of definitional clarity and new insights. The Foundation's vision is derived from the late Sir John Templeton's optimism about the possibility of acquiring “new spiritual information” and from his commitment to rigorous scientific research and related scholarship. The Foundation's motto, “How little we know, how eager to learn,” exemplifies its support for open-minded inquiry and its hope for advancing human progress through breakthrough discoveries.
Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. Founded in 1953, Villanova University School of Law is rooted in academic excellence, academic freedom, inclusion and respect for human dignity. The Law School, which is accredited by the American Bar Association, provides broad-based legal education, and its award-winning clinics and Lawyering Together Program provide free legal aid to those in need.
Notable alumni include Hon. Kelly Ayotte (U.S. Senator, New Hampshire); David C. Chavern (Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, U.S. Chamber of Commerce); Michael R. Haswell (Head of Business Development, Commerce, Google Inc.); Jeffrey S. Moorad (Chairman/CEO, Moorad Sports Partners); Hon. Edward Rendell (Former Governor of Pennsylvania); Hon. Marjorie Rendell (Judge, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit); Joseph T. Sebastianelli (President and CEO, Jefferson Health Systems); and Richard Trumka (President, AFL-CIO).