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The Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science

Since CTNS was founded in 1981, the Board of Directors had underwritten an In-Residence Professor of Theology and Science at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley (GTU) on an annual basis.  The Board’s vision was to endow this Professorship as a lasting academic legacy for bridging faith and science at the GTU.

The time now has come to make this vision a reality.

In September 2006 the CTNS Board announced the Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science and launched a campaign to fully fund it by the end of 2009, thereby endowing the In-Residence Professorship at the GTU. 

The Barbour Chair—The Cornerstone of the CTNS Mission

The Ian G. Barbour Chair is the cornerstone of the CTNS Mission, ensuring its central educational program into the future as each holder of the Chair will be a member of the GTU Core Doctoral Faculty. In an age when science is often seen to conflict with religion, the Chair will continue to bring the natural sciences into the classrooms of GTU doctoral and seminary students in constructive new ways. It will ensure that future generations of faculty and students may enter into the constructive dialogue between faith and science and be empowered for research, teaching and ministry.

The Chair will also provide leadership for ongoing CTNS research and public service programs such as the annual Russell Family Fellowship in Religion and Science, the annual Charles H. Townes Graduate Student Fellowship, and the refereed journal, Theology and Science.

James Donahue

The quality of the research, the teaching and the public conversations of CTNS has taken the issues that are integral to the discourse of science and religion on to the world stage in ways that have never been done before.
--James Donahue, Ph.D., Former President, The Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California


Ian G. Barbour

Both a physicist and a theologian, Dr. Ian G. Barbour was an unparalleled pioneer in science and religion. His1966 classic, Issues in Science and Religion, launched the recent era of scholarly study in this interdisciplinary field. His prolific writings over the past decades, including the two volume Gifford Lectures which dealt with ethics and technology as well as science and religion, have contributed enormously to the growing international, intercultural, and interreligious dialogue, and they continue to inspire both new and seasoned scholars.

Ian G. BarbourDr. Barbour was a founding member of the CTNS Board of Directors and served as a visionary for CTNS’s mission and programs.

Dr. Barbour was also a pivotal financial supporter of the Center. When honored by the 1999 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion, Dr. Barbour donated the bulk of his award to CTNS, rekindling CTNS’s vision to endow a permanent Chair in Theology and Science In-Residence at the GTU.


I am enduringly grateful to CTNS and to the vision and initiative of its founder and director, Robert John Russell. I know of no other center in the world that is making such a significant contribution to the creative dialogue between science and religion.
-- Ian G. Barbour, Professor of Physics, Professor of Religion, and Winifred and Atherton Bean Professor Emeritus of Science, Technology, and Society, Carleton College, Northfield, Minnesota

I am especially grateful to CTNS for its decision to honor the seminal work of Russell’s longtime Kirk Wegter-McNellyfriend and mentor, Ian Barbour, by establishing the Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science. It marks a crucial step toward securing the legacy built by Barbour and Russell through their scholarship and the far reaching work of CTNS—a legacy which Russell, as its first occupant, will continue to expand in the years ahead. 
--Kirk Wegter-McNelly, Ph.D. 2003, GTU; Assistant Professor of Theology at Boston University


The First Holder of the Barbour Chair—Robert John Russell

In September, 2006, the CTNS Board of Directors named Dr. Robert John Russell to be the first holder of the Ian G. Barbour Chair.

Robert John RussellSince 1981, Dr. Russell has served as both founding director of CTNS and professor of theology and science at the GTU. Holding a Ph.D. in physics and an M.Div./M.A. in theology, Dr. Russell embodies the motto of the Ian G. Barbour Chair: “Where religion meets science.” He has mentored dozens of Ph.D. and M.A. GTU students in theology and science, ethics and Christian spirituality. Many of his former students hold tenured faculty positions at universities or seminaries and are teaching courses in faith and science to a new generation while others work in non-profit programs focusing on these important issues. Hundreds of divinity students have found Dr. Russell’s M.Div. courses in theology and science, environmental ethics, and bioethics, vitally important as they prepare for ministry in an age of scientific discovery and technological challenge.


I came to the GTU/CTNS doctoral program as a scientist who had moved from a preoccupation with Noreen Herzfeld“how” to the question of “why,” which science couldn’t answer. Bob Russell always knew where I should turn in the theological tradition to find partners asking the same questions. Bob’s powerful argument for the possibility of “creative mutual interaction” between the realms of science and religion has shaped my efforts to understand a society that is increasingly dependent on technology while remaining deeply religious.
--Noreen Herzfeld, Ph.D, 2000, GTU
Professor of Theology and Computer Science, St. John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota

Greg CootsonaExperiencing Bob in the classroom I encountered someone brilliant in three fields: theology, science, and philosophy. He convinced me, as a student of theology, of the imperative to take science on board and he made bridging theology and science enjoyable and compelling. It’s been over a decade since I finished my Ph.D. but I still bring the issues that Bob taught me to my teaching ministry.
-- Greg Cootsona, Ph.D., 1996, GTU
Associate Pastor of Adult Discipleship, Bidwell Presbyterian Church, Chico, CA


During my years as a GTU/CTNS doctoral student, … [I received]  an invaluable introduction to theology and science. While I came to know Dr. Russell as an expert guide to the field’s complex and controverted terrain, I remain most deeply indebted to him for his inspiring vision of a world in which theologians and scientists work closely together even as they appreciate the integrity of each other’s distinctive approach. My own efforts to rethink various theological issues in light of the contemporary sciences have relied centrally on Russell’s powerful and fecund argument for the possibility of “creative mutual interaction” between the two realms
--Kirk Wegter-McNelly, Ph.D. 2003, GTU
Assistant Professor of Theology at Boston University

The Graduate Theological Union

CTNS is a program of The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California. The GTU is both an ecumenical consortium of Christian seminaries where students pursue M. Div. and D. Min. degrees, and a graduate school offering Ph.D., Th.D., and M.A. degrees in areas including theology, ethics, Biblical studies and spirituality. The consortium hosts programs in Judaism, Islam and Buddhism, as well as a variety of other affiliated centers. The proximity of the GTU to the University of California, Berkeley, and the working relationship between them, provides CTNS with additional grounds for fertile interdisciplinary research. As an internationally acclaimed crossroads of interfaith scholarship, the GTU provides the ideal context for the mission and vision of CTNS and the Barbour Chair. (

Nancey MurphyWhen students ask me about studying theology and science, I always advise them to go to the GTU. As a GTU alum it is no exaggeration to say that my whole academic career was changed by the founding of CTNS. With Bob Russell's advice and support, the role of science in both philosophical and theological scholarship has become central to my work. Thanks to CTNS, the GTU has the best resources anywhere for pursuing theology and science.
--Nancey Murphy, Th.D. 1987, GTU; Ph.D.,
Philosophy, UC Berkeley Professor of Christian Philosophy,
Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California


Your Partnership will Make the Difference

The Chair campaign goal is $2.5 million. In 2009, CTNS received a challenge grant of $400,000 from the John Templeton Foundation to help CTNS finish the Barbour Chair, extending the deadline for the fund to July 2012. As of September 2009, the fund has reached 85% of the goal! Your support will help complete the fund and provide additional funds for CTNS through the matching grant.

There are many ways to make a charitable gift: write a check, use your credit card or donate on-line at To discuss how your stock, wire transfer or planned giving might be incorporated, please contact CTNS at 510-649-2564 or write to CTNS, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley, CA 94709 USA. CTNS is a program of the Graduate Theological Union, a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation.

The Campaign for the Ian G. Barbour Chair wishes to express appreciation to the following donors: (updated July 9, 2015)

Expanding Universe ($1,000,000+)

Dr. Ian G. Barbour*

Visible Universe ($200,000+)

Drs. John M. and Josephine Templeton

Cluster of Galaxies ($100,000+)

Dr. Francisco J. Ayala*
Dr. Charles H. Townes*

Andromeda Galaxy ($50,000+)

Anonymous Family Foundation
Dr. Robert J. Russell* and Rev. Charlotte Russell* (with gifts given in honor of Betty Stott and Dr. Ted Peters, and in memory of Arden Russell and Deane Barbour)
Adrian M. Wyard*

Milky Way ($10,000+)

Rev. Dr. Gregory S. and Laura Cootsona
Michael J. Foreman
Lee & Louis Kuhn Foundation*
Hal and Judy Leach
William Witherspoon

Polaris ($5,000+)

William J. Houghton
Jesuit Community (in the name of Dr. George V. Coyne, SJ and Dr. William R. Stoeger, SJ*)
Dr. John F. Lindner
Jack Maze
Dr. Nancey C. Murphy*
Dr. Karl E. Peters
Dr. Carl M. York*

Supernova ($2,500+)

Dr. Charles C. Dickinson III
Dr. Ernest Edmundson
James C. Hathaway
Dr. John F. Haught
Cardinal William J. Levada*
David & Carol Myers Foundation

Red Giant Star ($1,000+)

Dr. Doug Adams
Alana Aldag
Dr. John H. Brooke
Bishop Randolph R. Calvo
Dr. Linda L. Clader
Douglas B. Clarke
R. David Cole
William and Carol Frank
Victor N. Goulet
Dr. Niels H. Gregersen (in honor of Dr. Ted Peters)
Dr. Noreen L. Herzfeld
Carolyn B. Houghton (in memory of William Houghton)
Rev. Canon Christoph Keller III
Dr. Donald and Jill Knuth
Dr. Christoph H. Lameter
Dr. Paul H. and Lucy Lange
Dr. Ted Peters*
Dr. Andrew P. Porter
Richard and Carolyn Procunier
Dr. Holmes Rolston III
Edwin E. Schoenberger
Stone Church of Willow Glen Presbyterian
Dr. Jane E. Strohl (in honor of Dr. Ted Peters)
Dr. Thomas F. Tracy
Scott C. Turner
Byron and Judi Waite
Dr. Kirk Wegter-McNelly
Weiser Family Foundation
Nancy Wiens

Planet ($500+)

Anonymous (in honor of Dr. Ted Peters)
Dr. Herbert Anderson (in honor of Dr. Ted Peters)
Dr. John B. Cobb, Jr.
The Reverend Canon Dr. Graham Cotter
Rev. Marjorie H. Davis
Rev. Dr. Lindon J. Eaves
Dr. George F. Ellis
Dr. Mary Gerhart
Dr. P. Roger Gillette
Dr. Reginald Hamer
Dr. Donald C. Helm
Dean Arthur G. Holder*
Dr. Karen Lebacqz
Joseph J. Molhoek (on behalf of Braden Molhoek)
Jennifer Nixon
Dr. John P. Nordin
John J. Reilly Center at the University of Notre Dame
Dr. Benjamin A. Reist
Dr. Allan M. Russell
Rev. Dr. Barbara P. Smith-Moran, S.O.Sc.
Dr. Nancy Teskey, SNJM
Dr. Margaret G. Towne
Rev. John E. Turpin
Bob and Marion Wiens
Dr. Claude Welch

Moon ($250+)

Rev. Joseph A. Bracken, SJ
Dr. Joan Carter
The City Church of San Francisco
Dr. Ramanath Cowsik
Dr. Celia E. Deane-Drummond
Dr. C.V. Finnegan
First Evangelical Lutheran Church, Centerville, IA
First Presbyterian Church, Roswell, NM
Brian and Lisa Galicia
Dr. Edward J. Gutman
Dr. Dennis Hair
Dr. Woosik Hyun
Junghyung Kim
Robert J. Kossler
James Kutz
Pfr.z.A. Andreas Losch
Dr. Ernan McMullin
Microsoft Corporation
Westminster House, Berkeley, California
Rev. Kyeng-whan Oh
Dr. Andrew S. Park
Dr. Ann M. Pederson
Drs. Moses and Elizabeth Penumaka
Dr. William D. Phillips
Dr. Robert Reed
Dr. W. Mark Richardson*
Nadia M. Saad
Jim Schaal and Sarah Conning
Dr. Patricia J. Schulz
Science and Theology Network of Minnesota (in memory of Ian Barbour)
Dr. Frederick M. Silvers
Margaret Wertheim
Colleen Zablit (in memory of William Houghton)

Asteroid ($150+)

George S. Abela (in memory of William Houghton)
Dr. Alan H. Batten
Dr. Kevin P. Bertrand
David Brown
Mary Anne Cooney
Bishop John S. Cummins
Dr. Willem B. Drees
Dr. James G. Emerson, Jr.
Rev. William S. Falla, Jr.
William B. Groves, Jr.
Rev. C. G. Haugabook, Jr.
Susan C. Hoganson
Bonnie F. Johnston
Dr. James Kraft
Rev. Ted M. Lau
Dr. Michael Levandowsky
Dr. Thomas J. Lindell
Nancy S. Lovejoy
Rev. Dr. George L. Murphy
Dr. Beresford N. Parlett
Dr. Martin J. Rice
Rev. Barbara A. Roche
Rev. M. Scot Sherman
Bob Stumpf
Dr. Wesley J. Wildman

Comet ($100+)

Eric Alexander and Helen Gould
Dr. Stephen Ames
Steven Argyris
Dr. William H. Austin
Rev. Frank E. Budenholzer, SVD
Mary Wong Cheng
Dr. Samuel Cheon
Dr. Philip D. Clayton
Dr. Charles G. Conway
Rev. Carl R. Cooper
Dr. Gary R. Coulter
Chick D'Arpino
Dr. Edward B. and Kathryn A. Davis
Dennis Dubro
First United Church of Christ, Northfield, MN (in memory of Ian Barbour)
Rev. John D. Geary
Dr. Owen Gingerich
Dr. John B. Hooper
Dr. Nancy R. Howell
Dr. Lois Isenman
Mildred D. Johnson
Tom and Becky Johnson
Dr. Alfred T. Lane
Eleanore Lee
Dr. Elizabeth Liebert, SNJM
Dr. Olga Louchakova
Dr. Patrick M Magee
Dr. Anthony N. Melling
Braden Molhoek
Dick and Margie Moore
Judge John T. Noonan, Jr.
Adrian T. O'Keefe
Dr. Palmyre M.F. Oomen
Dr. Varadaraja Vu Raman
Ralph and Anne Sackman
Marie Sawaya (in memory of William Houghton)
Dr. Jack Sawyer
Dr. Randall L. Saxon
Dr. Jame Schaefer (in memory of Bill Stoeger, SJ)
Rev. Richard T. Schellhase
Dr. Fred G. Silva
Dr. Ernest L. Simmons
Dr. Robert L. Smith
Dr. Christopher C. B. Southgate
Jeffrey D. Stauffer
Dr. Owen C. Thomas and Dr. Margaret Miles
Rev. Dr. Lou Ann Trost
Dr. Howard J. Van Till
Dr. William A. Wood III
Dr. Jozef M. Zycinski

Meteor (up to $100)

Daniel Altman
Rosa Alvarez-Ulloa
Dr. John T. Baldwin
Steven Baraniuk
Dr. Whitney Bauman
Carol Bier
Dr. Frank T. Birtel
Dr. Kate G. Boisvert
Christine Bolla
Dr. Paul Brown
Dr. Jean E. Burns
Dr. Thomas and Virginia Cahill
Dr. David P. Carico
Arthur Cassidy
Meera Chakravorty
Yun-Shiung Chang
Dr. Anne M. Clifford CSJ
Dr. Christopher Corbally, SJ
Matt Crabb
Dr. Mary K. Cunningham
Patrice Curtis
Rev. Michael J. Dodds O.P.
Dr. Manuel G. Doncel, SJ
Dr. Denis Edwards
Dr. Daren Erisman
Dr. Karl V. Evans
George Fosselius
Dr. Richard L. Gelwick
Dr. Robert M. Geraci
Dr. Karl Giberson
Grace Gilliam
Rabbi Michael Gold
Dr. Mehdi Golshani
Dr. Mark Graves
Brian P. Green
Jeff Gros
James P. Gunshinan
Dr. Chelvadurai H. Harichandran
Dr. Forrest A. Hartman
Taye Hashiguchi
Dr. Carl S. Helrich
Dr. Peter M.J. Hess
Frederick Hill
The Rev. John F Hird, S.O.Sc.
John Hubisz
Philip J. Hughes
Dr. Roger Hull
Rev. Gregory R. Huth
Dr. Paul and Regina Ingram
Fr. John Izzo, SJ
Dr. Antje Jackelen
Frank Jakubowsky
Dr. Chulsu Jo
Dr. Alicia Juarrero
Dr. Yuri Kaneda and David F. Fujikawa (in memory of William Houghton)
Rabbi Daniel L. Kaplan
Jim F. Kemp
The Rev. Canon Thomas A. Kerr, Jr.
Mahboob Khan
Dr. Stanley Klein
Dr. Thomas M. Knadig
Dr. Alfred Kracher
Sungho Lee
Robert Linville
Yiyu Liu
Robert Loper
John Lowell
Michael Mallory
Jean Mayer (in memory of William Houghton)
Michael McGinley
Dr. Stuart L. McHugh
Rev. Eric Metoyer (in honor of Dr. Bob Russell)
Dr. Jonathan Miller
Ki Wook Min
Dr. Wing Kee A. Mok
Dr. Anri Morimoto
Dr. Joshua and Melissa Moritz (in honor of Dr. Ted and Karen Peters)
Alice S. Murray
Rev. Derek R. Nelson
Mitzie Norred (in memory of William Houghton)
Mansurali G. Nurmuhammad
Rev. Dr. Del F. Olsen
Rita Osman
Dr. Yoshihiko Otani
Joann Pavlinec
Piedmont Gardens
Rev. Dr. John C. Polkinghorne
Dr. Adam Pryor
Dr. Oliver Putz and Emily Hebard
Garrett Riegg
Rev. Thomas and Sher Ross
Gerald Roth
Janette Saaveeka
Dr. James F. Salmon, SJ
Jeffrey P. Schaffer
Elaine Schmidt
Dr. Sandra M. Schneiders IHM
Michael Schwab
Dr. Lea F. Schweitz
James Sharp
James Shinn
Rev. Ursula Shone
Dr. David Siegenthaler
Rev. David Stagaman, SJ
Catherine Steinke                            
Dr. Peter Stork
Terence C. Terman
Rev. Carlton B. Turner
Justin Douglas Tygar
Tom Udo
Dr. Vladimir Vukanovic
Dr. Donald H. Wacome
Robert J. Wagner
Dr. Nik Warren
Susan White
Nikos Yiangou
Seung Hyun Yoo
Victor A. Zablit (in memory of William Houghton)

In-Kind Support

The Graduate Theological Union
Pacific School of Religion

* Member of the CTNS Board of Directors

If you see an error in this listing, please contact CTNS Development, 510-848-8152.

For more information or to help support this Campaign, visit,
email:, call 510-848-8152 or write to
CTNS Chair Campaign, 2400 Ridge Road, Berkeley, CA 94709-1212 USA.

For gifts of support via mail, you may print and use the form linked here. Please make your check payable to GTU with "CTNS Barbour Chair" in the memo line.

Thank you!

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