MVP Fridays

Join us for Friday afternoons on home football weekends for lectures by national leaders, journalists, and writers on questions of meaning, values, and purpose. Each lecture will take place at 4:00 p.m. in the Geddes Hall Andrews Auditorium (except where noted) followed by reception and book signing.

The 2023 Lineup

Ross Gay: “How can we incite joy?”

September 1 (Tennessee State), 4:00 p.m.
Geddes Hall, Andrews Auditorium

Introduction by Johannes Göransson, Professor, Department of English

Ross Gay

Ross Gay is interested in joy.

Ross Gay wants to understand joy.

Ross Gay is curious about joy.

Ross Gay studies joy.

Something like that.

Ross Gay is the author of four books of poetry: Against WhichBringing the Shovel Down; Be Holding, winner of the PEN American Literary Jean Stein Award; and Catalog of Unabashed Gratitude, winner of the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award and the 2016 Kingsley Tufts Poetry Award. His first collection of essays, The Book of Delights, was released in 2019 and was a New York Times bestseller. His new collection of essays, Inciting Joy, was released by Algonquin in October of 2022.

Co-sponsors: Black Faculty and Staff Association, Creative Writing Program, Initiative on Race and Resilience

Ed Yong: “Can stories of science create a more empathetic world?”

September 15 (CMU), 4:00 p.m.
Geddes Hall, Andrews Auditorium

Introduction by Tim Weber, Associate Director, Eck Institute for Global Health

Ed Yong

Named “the most important and impactful journalist” of 2020 by Poynter, Pulitzer Prize winner Ed Yong is a science staff writer with The Atlantic. He was awarded journalism’s top honor, the 2021 Pulitzer Prize for Explanatory Reporting, for his crucial coverage of the coronavirus pandemic.

He is the best-selling author of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us, a groundbreaking, informative, and entertaining examination of the relationship between animals and microbes. His second book, An Immense World, takes a comprehensive look at the fascinating sensory worlds of animals. A New York Times bestseller, An Immense World is longlisted for the PEN America 2023 Literary Award and has made many Best Books of the Year lists. In addition to The Atlantic, his work has appeared in National Geographic, the New Yorker, Wired, Nature, New Scientist, and Scientific American, among others.

Co-sponsors: College of Science, Eck Institute for Global Health, Gallivan Program in Journalism, Ethics, and Democracy

Daniel Nayeri: “Is everything sad untrue?”

September 22 (Ohio State), 4:00 p.m.
Geddes Hall, Andrews Auditorium

Introduction by Dionne Bremyer, Associate Professor, Department of English

Daniel Nayeri

Daniel Nayeri was born in Iran and spent some years as a refugee before immigrating to Oklahoma at age eight with his family. He is the author of several books for young readers, including Everything Sad is Untrue (A True Story), winner of the Michael L. Printz Award, the Christopher Medal, and the Middle Eastern Book Award. He lives in the US with his wife and son.

Co-sponsors: Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion, Creative Writing Program, Initiative on Race and Resilience

Anthony Annett: “Can Catholic tradition create a more just economy?”

October 13 (USC), 4:00 p.m.
Geddes Hall, Andrews Auditorium

Introduction by Joseph Kaboski, David F. and Erin M. Seng Foundation Professor, Department of Economics

Anthony Annette

Anthony Annett is a Visiting Scholar at the Center for Sustainable Development, Columbia University. Trained as an economist, he spent two decades at the International Monetary Fund, including as speechwriter to the Managing Director. He has a B.A. and an M.Litt. from Trinity College Dublin and a Ph.D. from Columbia University. He is a member of the College of Fellows of the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology. He is the author of “Cathonomics: How Catholic Tradition Can Create a More Just Economy.”

Co-sponsors: Ansari Institute for Global Engagement with Religion, Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, Department of Economics, Department of Theology, Mendoza College of Business

Luke Bretherton: “Is there a distinctively Christian politics?”

October 27 (Pittsburgh), 4:00 p.m.
NOTE: This event will be held in the Morris Inn, Smith Ballroom

Introduction by David M. Lantigua
Co-Director, Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism

Luke Bretherton

Luke Bretherton is Robert E. Cushman Distinguished Research Professor of Moral and Political Theology and senior fellow of the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University. Before joining the Duke faculty in 2012, he was reader in Theology & Politics and convener of the Faith & Public Policy Forum at King’s College London. His latest book is Christ and the Common Life: Political Theology and the Case for Democracy (Eerdmans, 2019).

Specific issues addressed in his work include euthanasia and hospice care, debt and usury, fair trade, environmental justice, racism, humanitarianism, the treatment of refugees, interfaith relations, secularism, nationalism, church-state relations, and the church’s involvement in social welfare provision and social movements. Alongside his scholarly work, he writes in the media (including The GuardianThe Times and The Washington Post) on topics related to religion and politics, has worked with a variety of faith-based NGOs, mission agencies, and churches around the world, and has been actively involved over many years in forms of grassroots democratic politics, both in the UK and the US.

Co-sponsors: Cushwa Center for the Study of American Catholicism, Department of Political Science, Department of Theology

Here’s the lineup from the fall of 2022