Portman Chair and Lecture Series

Thanks to a generous anonymous gift, the Department of Theology and Religious Studies hosts a distinguished visiting scholar who hosts a public lecture during his/her time at USD.

About the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology

Msgr. PortmanThe Portman Chair was established in the department in the year 2000 through an anonymous donor's generous bequest. It was named after Msgr. John R. Portman, who served as the founding chair of the Department of Theology and Religious Studies from 1967 to 1974. Msgr. Portman has been a pioneer in ecumenical dialogue, and served as pastor of the Church of the Immaculata and in other parishes in San Diego for over 30 years after leaving the University of San Diego. In the fall of 2006 he was honored with the title of Professor Emeritus.

In announcing the Portman Chair in the spring of 2000, then president Alice Hayes said, "The university is grateful to the generous donor who funded the chair honoring a distinguished former member of our faculty. It will be a strong and palpable symbol of the depth of the university's commitment to Catholic theology as an academic discipline and another sign of the Catholic character of the university."

The Portman Endowment allows the department to bring an eminent theologian to the University of San Diego for one or two semesters. As envisioned by the donor and Msgr. Portman, chairholders are to be distinguished theologians who think from within the Roman Catholic tradition while exploring and expressing the tradition in contemporary contexts. During his or her tenure at the university, the Portman Professor delivers the Annual Msgr. John R. Portman Lecture in Roman Catholic Theology.

The chair as it has played out to date has been, in the department's view, immensely successful. Students, faculty, administrators, and the entire university community have benefited from having senior theologians present to us in the classroom and at the lecture podium, down the corridor, in social engagements, and in mentoring and advising roles. The professorship has raised our national, indeed international, profile and created a circle of friends in the highest levels of theological scholarship, eminent colleagues who consider themselves close to the department and the university.

Portman Lectures

2012-13 Portman Lecture

The Greening of Catholicism: Eco-Justice for the Sake of the Common Good

Anne Clifford, C.S.J., Ph.D.
Monsignor James Supple Chair of Catholic Studies, Iowa State University

Thursday, September 20, 2012
Joan B. Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice Theatre

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2010-11 Portman Lecture

James Keenan, S.J., S.T.D.., Founders Professor of Theology, Boston College
Teaching "HIV/AIDS and Ethics" at American Universities Today, March 3, 2011

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2009-10 Portman Lecture

Lisa Sowle Cahill, Ph.D., J. Donald Monan Professor, Boston College
The Common Good and Health Care: Justice, Faith and Hope, February 11, 2010

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2008-09 Portman Professor

Thomas F. O'Meara, O.P., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame
The Ministry of the Pope: Challenges and Opportunities, November 18, 2008

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2007-08 Portman Lecture

Rev. Peter C. Phan, Ph.D., Ignacio Ellacuria Chair of Catholic Social Thought, Georgetown University
How Western/Eastern is Christianity?: Missiological and Theological Considerations on World Christianity, March 3, 2008

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2006-07 Portman Professor

Thomas F. O'Meara, O.P., Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Department of Theology, University of Notre Dame
From the Pacific to Mt. Palomar: The Role of Jesus in Wider Worlds, December 5, 2006

2005-06 Portman Professor

Mary E. Hines, Ph.D., Professor of Theology, Department of Religious Studies, Emmanuel College
Forty Years Later: Does Vatican II Still Matter?, May 1, 2006

2003-04, 2004-05 Portman Professor

Berard L. Marthaler, OFM, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus and former Warren-Blanding Professor of Religion, School of Theology and Religious Studies, The Catholic University of America
The New Face of Anti-Catholicism, March 22, 2004
Agnosticism and Christian Mysteries Revisited, March 1, 2005

2002-03 Portman Professor

Peter Hünermann, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, Faculty of Catholic Theology, University of Tübingen
Infallibility: An Analogous Reality, March 27, 2003

2000-01, 2001-02 Portman Professor

Most Rev. John R. Quinn, Archbishop Emeritus of San Francisco
Papal Primacy and the Costly Call to Christian Unity, February 21, 2000
How Much Longer is the Road Ahead? An Ecumenical Dialogue, February 26, 2001