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About the Center

Villanova University's Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy builds upon the Law School’s Augustinian Catholic mission to create opportunities for conferences and lectures, research, and student programs in the areas of law, religion, and public policy. The McCullen Center was launched in 2017 and builds upon Villanova University’s goal of creating centers of excellence that support the entire Villanova community in its academic and research initiatives. The McCullen Center is directed by Michael Moreland, who was named University Professor of Law and Religion at Villanova University in the summer of 2017. The subjects on which the Center focuses are constitutional liberty (particularly the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and freedom of religion) and the place of religion in civil society. The Center will oversee the design of innovative new courses and academic opportunities, offer concentration programs, bring leading policymakers and scholars to Villanova, conduct conferences and seminars on emerging issues, sponsor interdisciplinary research and collaboration, and serve as a resource for the media and external audiences on topics at the intersection of law, religion, and public policy.

 

Curricular Innovation

New academic programming will be introduced under the auspices of the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy, including innovative coursework, a visiting scholars program, and conferences and seminars on emerging issues in these fields. The Center, which will serve as a resource for the entire University community, will sponsor interdisciplinary research and collaboration. Additional initiatives being explored for inclusion as part of the Center include clinical opportunities and a concentration program in law and religion.

 

 

Events

Religious Freedom: A Global Conversation

February 10, 2020

The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy and the Villanova Political Theology Project welcome Michael D. McNally, John M. and Elizabeth W. Musser Professor of Religious Studies at Carleton College, Emilia Justyna Powell, Associate Professor of Political Science and Concurrent Associate Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame, and Jolyon Thomas, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at The University of Pennsylvania. These scholars will discuss their new books exploring religious freedom and the intersection of law and religion in the global context. More...

Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech

November 12, 2019

The McCullen Center welcomed Keith Whittington, William Nelson Cromwell Professor of Politics at Princeton University. This lecture focused on his book Speak Freely: Why Universities Must Defend Free Speech, which won the PROSE Award for best book in education and the Heterodox Academy Award for Exceptional Scholarship. The book examines the debate around free speech on campuses and argues that free speech is the lifeblood of universities, and posits that universities must make room for free speech from all sides of the political spectrum.
 

The Irony of Modern Catholic History

November 4, 2019

The McCullen Center welcomed George Weigel, Distinguished Senior Fellow and William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies of the Ethics & Public Policy Center to discuss his new book, The Irony of Modern Catholic History: How the Church Rediscovered Itself and Challenged the Modern World to Reform. An account of two centuries of profound change in the Catholic Church and the world, the book reveals how Catholicism offers 21st Century essential truths for society’s survival and flourishing.

Weigel is a Catholic theologian and one of America’s leading public intellectuals. He is the author of more than 20 books, and is perhaps best known for his widely translated and internationally acclaimed two-volume biography of Pope St. John Paul II, The New York Times bestseller, Witness to Hope (1999), and its sequel, The End and the Beginning (2010). In 2017, Weigel published a memoir of the experiences that led to his papal biography, Lessons in Hope — My Unexpected Life with St. John Paul II. His essays, op-ed columns and reviews appear regularly in major opinion journals and newspapers across the United States. A frequent guest on television and radio, he is also Senior Vatican Analyst for NBC News. His weekly column, “The Catholic Difference,” is syndicated to 85 newspapers and magazines in seven countries.
 

The Art and Science of Judging in a Constitutional Republic

October 28, 2019

The McCullen Center welcomed The Honorable Thomas Hardiman, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. Judge Hardiman was nominated by President George W. Bush to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit on January 9, 2007 and was confirmed by the Senate (95-0) on March 15, 2007. Prior to becoming an appellate judge, he served as a trial judge on the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania as of November 1, 2003. Before entering judicial service, Judge Hardiman handled a wide variety of litigation matters in state and federal trial and appellate courts as a partner at Reed Smith LLP (1999-2003), a partner at Titus & McConomy LLP (1996-1999), and as an associate with its predecessor firm, Cindrich & Titus (1992-1996). A graduate of the University of Notre Dame (1987) and Georgetown University Law Center (1990), Judge Hardiman began his legal career as an associate in the Washington D.C. office of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom (1990-1992). His chambers are in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
 

A Christian Idea of Our Society

September 27, 2019

The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy and the Fondazione de Gasperi sponsored a seminar in Rome at the Palazzo Giustiniani on September 27, 2019. The seminar brought together scholars from across the world to discuss “A Christian Idea of Our Society.” Panelists included McCullen Center Director and University Professor of Law and Religion, Michael P. Moreland, JD, PhD.

 

Law and the Augustinian Tradition Lecture Series

September 5, 2019

Robert Louis Wilken, William R. Kenan, Jr. Emeritus Professor at University of Virginia, presented the 2019 Law and the Augustinian Tradition Lecture on "Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian Origins of Religious Freedom."

One of the leading historians of Christianity, Professor Wilken is an elected fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and past president of the American Academy of Religion, the North American Patristics Society, and the Academy of Catholic Theology. He is chairman of the board of the Institute on Religion and Public Life, the publisher of First Things. Professor Wilken’s most recent book is Liberty in the Things of God: The Christian Origins of Religious Freedom (Yale University Press, 2019)Among his other books are The First Thousand Years: A Global History of Christianity (2013), The Spirit of Early Christian Thought: Seeking the Face of God (2005), The Land Called Holy: Palestine in Christian History and Thought (2004), The Christians as the Romans Saw Them (2003), John Chrysostom and the Jews (1983), and Remembering the Christian Past (1995).  He has taught at the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, Fordham University, the University of Notre Dame, the Institutum Patristicum (Augustinianum) in Rome, the Gregorian University (also in Rome), and Providence College. Professor Wilken received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.
 


Promoting a Responsible and Free Conscience in Today's Society

June 14-15, 2019

The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy co-sponsored a workshop on "Promoting a Reponsible and Free Conscience in Today's Society" at Blackfriars, Oxford in June 2019. Barroness Nuala O'Loan, Member of the House of Lords, delivered the keynote address. Other event sponsors included Las Casas Institute; the Aquinas Institute; the Anscombe Centre, Oxford; and the Centre for Catholic Studies, Durham.

 

The Honorable Amy Coney Barrett on Constitutional Originalism and Continuity

February 25, 2019

The Honorable Amy Coney Barrett was confirmed to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in November 2017. Before joining the bench, she served on the faculty of the University of Notre Dame Law School, where she continues to teach. A video of the lecture can be viewed here.
 

U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito Keynotes Conference on “The Value of Tradition in the Global Context” Co-Sponsored by Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy

December 2018

The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law co-sponsored a gathering of international jurists and scholars at the Rome campus of Università LUMSA in December 2018 for “The Value of Tradition in the Global Context.” The event featured a keynote address by U.S. Supreme Court Associate Justice Samuel Alito Jr. Read more


Law and the Augustinian Tradition Inaugural Lecture Series

August 28, 2018

Beginning in August 2018, The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy will be hosting a lecture series on "Law and the Augustinian Tradition.”

John Witte, Robert W. Woodruff Professor of Law, McDonald Distinguished Professor and Director of the Center for the Study of Law and Religion, Emory University School of Law, will deliver the inaugural lecture “From Gospel to Law: Martin Luther’s Reformation of Law, Politics, and Society.”


The Annual Donald A. Giannella Memorial Lecture

April 24, 2018

Anthony T. Kronman, Sterling Professor of Law at Yale Law School, presented at the 2018 Donald A. Giannella Memorial Lecture.

Called “The Sage of Yale Law” by The New Yorker, Anthony T. Kronman is the former Dean of Yale Law School and current Sterling Professor of Law. He has served on the Yale faculty for nearly four decades and teaches in the areas of contracts, bankruptcy, jurisprudence, social theory and professional responsibility. He holds a PhD in Philosophy and a JD from Yale University.

Professor Kronman has written several books on law, legal ethics, higher education and philosophy including Education’s End: Why Our Colleges and Universities Have Given Up on the Meaning of Life (2008) and The Lost Lawyer: Failing Ideals of the Legal Profession (1995). His most recent book, Confessions of a Born-Again Pagan (2016), was the subject of a column by David Brooks in The New York Times.


The 2018 Joseph T. McCullen Jr. Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law

April 10, 2018

The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy welcomed Ross Douthat, Columnist, The New York Times, to speak on "Pope Francis and the Future of Catholicism." Ross Douthat is an opinion columnist for The New York Times, covering politics, religion, moral values and higher education. He joined The New York Times in 2009 as an Op-Ed columnist. Previously, he was a senior editor at The Atlantic and a blogger for theatlantic.com.

Douthat is also the author of To Change the Church (2018), Bad Religion: How We Became a Nation of Heretics (2012), and Privilege: Harvard and Education of the Ruling Class (2005), and a co-author of Grand New Party: How Republicans Can Win the Working Class and Save the American Dream (2008). He is also the film critic for National Review.


The 2017 Joseph T. McCullen Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law

This annual symposium takes place on Friday, March 17, 2017 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. in the Laurence E. Hirsch '71 Classroom (Room 101) at Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law (299 North Spring Mill Road, Villanova, PA). 

Click here for more information.  

 

News

New Constitutional Studies Initiative to Examine the First Amendment Guarantees of Freedom of Speech and Religion

New initiative is part of the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy at the Charles Widger School of Law

October 10, 2019

VILLANOVA, Pa.— Students and scholars will explore the significance of the First Amendment guarantees of freedom of speech and religion, as well as the relationship between economic freedom and civil society, through a new Constitutional Studies Initiative. The initiative—which will operate under the auspices of the Charles Widger School of Law’s Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy—is funded by a $1.69 million grant from the Charles Koch Foundation. More...

Villanova University Appoints Michael P. Moreland, JD, PhD, as University Professor of Law and Religion

June 22, 2017

Villanova University Provost Patrick G. Maggitti, PhD, today announced the appointment of Michael P. Moreland, JD, PhD, as University Professor of Law and Religion. Among Villanova’s highest academic honors, the University Professor recognizes distinguished faculty whose extraordinary scholarly achievement and accomplishment spans disciplines and crosses traditional college boundaries. Dr. Moreland will also serve as the Director of the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy in the Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law. More...

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law Names the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy in Recognition of Gifts Totaling $5 Million

March 15, 2017

Villanova University Charles Widger School of Law announced today that its Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy will be named in honor of Eleanor H. McCullen, recognizing recent gifts totaling $5 million from her husband, Joseph T. McCullen Jr. ’57 CLAS. Mr. McCullen has supported the University and the Law School for many years, including the establishment in 2007 of The Joseph T. McCullen Jr. Symposium on Catholic Social Thought and Law. More...

About Joseph and Eleanor McCullen

Joseph McCullen is the Chairman of McCullen Capital, LLC (MCAP), a Boston-based family office formed in 2000 to manage and invest the assets of the McCullen family.  MCAP also provides administrative support to the McCullen family’s 501(c)(3) charitable foundation known as the Flame of Love Foundation, which was established to provide assistance to distressed and poor individuals.

Mr. McCullen’s business career includes 25 highly successful years as an early-stage venture capitalist, focusing on high technology companies. Mr. McCullen was a board member and the founding investor in numerous private companies, several of which attained valuations in excess of a billion dollars upon sale or IPO. He served as a Managing Director of J.H. Whitney & Co. and OneLiberty Ventures (now called Flagship Ventures).

Mr. McCullen devoted 12 years to government service, four of them in the military as a young man, and later as a Special Assistant to the President of the United States (1971-1973). He went on to serve as Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Acting Secretary of the Navy (1973-1977).  Mr. McCullen also was an Associate Director of Ronald Reagan’s Presidential Transition Team. During his service to the country, he was the recipient of two Distinguished Public Service Medals. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from Villanova University in 1957 and received an honorary doctorate degree from his alma mater in 1976.  .

The McCullens, particularly Eleanor, have a long history of supporting legal issues related to religious freedom. Mrs. McCullen, a lifelong Catholic and pro-life activist, was lead plaintiff in the U.S. Supreme Court case McCullen v. Coakley. In that case, which was adjudicated in June 2014, the Supreme Court made a unanimous decision that struck down a Massachusetts abortion clinic buffer zone statute on First Amendment grounds. 

Mrs. McCullen is a lay Franciscan who previously was the Vice Minister of the Franciscan Monastery in Kennebunkport, Maine. She has devoted much of her life to counseling pregnant women considering abortions; she has provided spiritual guidance, financial assistance, food, material items and has helped secure employment for mothers and fathers. In addition, Mrs. McCullen counsels prisoners at the Massachusetts Correctional Institution in Norfolk, Massachusetts. With her encouragement, several inmates have received college degrees, authored books and produced poetry and works of art. She has assisted former prisoners when they returned to society.

Frequently featured on the national public speaker circuit, Mrs. McCullen has been profiled in publications such as The Washington PostThe New York TimesThe Wall Street Journal and National Review. She has studied at St. Joseph’s University in Pennsylvania and received an honorary PhD of Humane Letters from Holy Apostles College in Connecticut.

About the Director

Michael Moreland was appointed University Professor of Law and Religion and Director of the Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy in 2017. Dr. Moreland joined the Villanova faculty in 2006 and served as Vice Dean from 2012 to 2015. At Villanova, he has taught Torts, Evidence, Bioethics and the Law, Advanced Torts, Constitutional Law II (First Amendment and Equal Protection), Justice and Rights (1L elective), and seminars in law and religion.

As University Professor, Dr. Moreland will promote cross-campus research, programming and collaboration; foster high-visibility academic initiatives at the national and international levels; have the ability to teach across the University; and position Villanova as a leader at the crossroads of law, religion and public policy. In his role with the McCullen Center, Dr. Moreland will oversee the creation of innovative academic programming, a visiting scholars program and conferences on emerging issues in these fields.

A renowned scholar of constitutional law, torts, bioethics and religious freedom, Dr. Moreland is frequently sought for commentary at national and international conferences, in the media, and before Congress. He has published articles in leading legal, public policy and medical journals, including Notre Dame Law Review, Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, Georgetown Journal of Law & Public Policy and Law and Contemporary Problems. His chapters on law, ethics and religion have been featured in numerous books, including titles published by Cambridge University Press and Oxford University Press.

Most recently Dr. Moreland was a Visiting Professor of Law at the University of Notre Dame and the Mary Ann Remick Senior Visiting Fellow at the Notre Dame Center for Ethics and Culture from 2015 to 2017. He was the Forbes Visiting Fellow at Princeton University in the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions during academic year 2010-11. Dr. Moreland served as the project leader for The Libertas Project, a program from 2013 to 2015 at Villanova sponsored by a grant from the John Templeton Foundation exploring religious and economic freedom in the context of law and religion in American public life.

Dr. Moreland received his BA in philosophy from the University of Notre Dame, his MA and PhD in theological ethics from Boston College, and his JD from the University of Michigan Law School. Following law school, Professor Moreland clerked for the Honorable Paul J. Kelly Jr., of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and was an associate at Williams & Connolly LLP in Washington, DC, where he represented clients in First Amendment, professional liability, and products liability matters. Before coming to Villanova, he served as Associate Director for Domestic Policy at the White House under President George W. Bush, where he worked on a range of legal policy issues, including criminal justice, immigration, civil rights, and liability reform.

McCullen Center Summer Fellowship Program

The Eleanor H. McCullen Center for Law, Religion and Public Policy is pleased to announce its inaugural Summer Fellowship Program. Villanova University law students, graduate students, and undergraduate students are invited to apply. The McCullen Center will sponsor up to 15 student summer fellowships at up to $5000 each.

The Summer Fellowship Program seeks to support student internship placements or research assistantships that reflect and advance the mission of the McCullen Center in the areas of constitutional studies (particularly freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and economic liberty), the role of religion in civil society, and the promotion of human dignity and the common good.

The summer internship program is available to students who are planning to pursue an internship placement in a field related to the mission of the McCullen Center. Likewise, research assistantships are available to students who wish to conduct research projects under faculty supervision on issues related to the intersection of law, religion, and public policy.

The following application materials are required:

-a resume or CV

-a proposal that describes the nature of the internship or research project and its connections to the mission of the McCullen Center (approximately 500-1000 words)

-an itemized budget detailing how funding will be spent with anticipated start and end dates

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and should be submitted through the form available here. For priority consideration, the deadline for applications is February 28, 2020.

If you have any questions, please contact Michael Moreland, Director of the McCullen Center (moreland@law.villanova.edu) or Melanie Dudley, Assistant Director and Program Manager of the McCullen Center (melanie.dudley@law.villanova.edu).