Faith and Reason Symposium examines ethics of care for the elderly population

March 11, 2016

Lisle, Illinois ~ Benedictine University’s Ninth Annual Faith and Reason Symposium will present “Faith and Reason: Perspectives on Aging” from 9:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. on Friday, April 15, in Goodwin Hall, Room 321.

The symposium will feature presentations from 9:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-3:00 p.m. and a luncheon from 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m. featuring keynote speaker Debra Dobbs, Ph.D., who will present “U.S. Exceptionalism and End of Life Care.”

Dobbs is an associate professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa. As a researcher in comparative health and long-term care in the United Kingdom, Dobbs also has research interests in palliative and hospice care quality and utilization in long-term care, advance care planning education among providers of care for frail and chronically ill older adults, and health care policy related to Medicaid and Medicare programs.

The symposium brings together Benedictine faculty and other featured academics to discuss the ethical and practical issues of aging among America’s rapidly growing elderly population. As a Catholic university, Benedictine's faith tradition stresses care for those in need. This symposium brings together scholars from the sciences, theology, political science and anthropology to discuss concerns of aging and examine practical solutions from an interdisciplinary perspective.

Topics and panelists include:

• “The Surprising Research on Happiness and Aging” by Dianne Moran, Ph.D., associate professor of Psychology and Human Development.

• “Aging Well: Vocation after Work” by Christine Fletcher, Ph.D., associate professor of Theology.

• “The Spirituality of Aging” by Sr. Karen Nykiel, O.S.B., Religious Studies and Humanities instructor and Pax Christi member.

• “Challenges of Honoring and Caring for Older Adult Parents by Abused/Neglected Adult Children” by Jane Boumgarden, M.S.W., associate professor of Social Work.

• “Safety Nets and Hammocks: Understanding Federal Social Programs and the ‘Benefits’ of Being a Senior” by Phil Hardy, Ph.D., assistant professor of Political Science.

• “Changing Relationships from the Pre-modern to the Post-modern Era” by Jack Thornburg, Ph.D., professor of Anthropology.

• “Common Challenges in Promoting Successful Aging” by Joan Libner, Ed.D., department chair and associate professor of Nursing.

• “Understanding the Nutritional Portrait of Older Adults” by Ginnie Moore, M.S., community planner with the Northeastern Illinois Agency on Aging.

The symposium is sponsored by the Abbey Endowment, Benedictine’s Center for Mission and Identity and the Department of History, Philosophy and Religious Studies. It is free and open to the public, however, luncheon space is limited. Please RSVP by contacting Lynn Dransoff at or (630) 829-6250.


 Benedictine University is located in Lisle, Illinois just 25 miles west of Chicago, and has branch campuses in Springfield, Illinois and Mesa, Arizona. Founded as a Catholic university in 1887, Benedictine enrolls nearly 10,000 students in 56 undergraduate and 19 graduate programs. Forbes magazine named Benedictine among “America’s Top Colleges” for the fifth consecutive year in 2015. Benedictine University’s Master of Business Administration (M.B.A.) program is listed by Crain’s Chicago Business as the fifth largest in the Chicago area in 2015.        

Marketing and Communications

Gary Kohn
Assoc. Vice President of Marketing and Communications
(630) 829-6095