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The Ian G. Barbour Chair in Theology and Science

Since CTNS was founded in 1981, the Board of Directors has underwritten an In-Residence Professor of Theology and Science at the Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley (GTU) on an annual basis.  The Board’s vision is 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 will be 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 J. K. Russell 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., President, The Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, California


Ian G. Barbour

Both a physicist and a theologian, Dr. Ian G. Barbour is 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 is a founding member of the CTNS Board of Directors and continues to serve as a visionary for CTNS’s mission and programs.

Dr. Barbour has also been 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 in-residence 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

Affiliation with the Graduate Theological Union

CTNS is an Affiliate of The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, California. The GTU is both an ecumenical consortium of nine 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 Affiliates such as the Center for the Arts, Religion and Education. 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


Some recent students:

Nancy S. Wiens BryanLaurie

Nancy Wiens, Bryan Mason, Laurie Gordon

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 510-848-8152 or write to CTNS, 2400 Ridge Rd., Berkeley, CA 94709 USA. CTNS is a 501(c) 3 non-profit corporation.

The Campaign for the Ian G. Barbour Chair wishes to express appreciation to the following donors: (updated November 16, 2010)

Visible Universe ($10,000+)

Francisco J. and Hana Ayala*
Ian G. and Deane K. Barbour*
Michael J. and Judy Foreman*
Robert L. Kuhn,* Lee & Louis Kuhn Foundation
Nancey Murphy*
Charlotte Ann Russell*
Robert John Russell*
John M. and Josephine Templeton
Charles H. and Frances Townes*
William Witherspoon
Adrian M. Wyard*

Spiral Galaxy ($5,000+)

Gregory S. and Laura R. Cootsona
Jesuit Community of the Vatican Observatory (in honor of George Coyne, S.J. and William Stoeger, S.J.*)
James C. Hathaway and Mary J. Osborne
John F. and Evelyn L. Haught
William J. and Carolyn B. Houghton
Karl Peters
Carl* and Mary Nell York

Supernova ($2,500+)

Linda L. Clader and Robert N. Ristad
Charles C. Dickinson III
John F. Lindner
Jack and Eleanor Maze
David & Carol Myers Foundation

Red Giant Star ($1,000+)

Doug and Margo Adams
Alana Aldag
Randolph R. Calvo
R. David Cole
Lindon J. Eaves
Victor N. Goulet
Niels H. Gregersen
Noreen L. Herzfeld
Arthur G.* and Sarah H. Holder
Canon Christoph (III) and Julie Keller
Donald and Jill Knuth
Cardinal William Levada*
Ted Peters*
Andrew P. Porter
Benjamin A. and Harriet Reist
Holmes (II) and Jane Rolston
Jim Schaal and Sarah Conning
Thomas F. and Kathryn P. Tracy
Scott C. Turner and Diana Marchesi
Byron and Judi Waite
Kirk and Jennifer Wegter-McNelly
John Weiser, Weiser Family Foundation

Planet ($500+)

John H. Brooke
Douglas B. Clarke and Sally Jo Rosenbusch-Clarke
John (Jr.) and Jean Cobb
Graham and Evelyn Cotter
Marjorie Davis
George F. Ellis
William and Carol Frank
Mary Gerhart
Donald C. and Karen Helm
Karen Lebacqz
Joseph Molhoek
John P. Nordin
Kyeng-whan Oh
Richard and Carolyn Procunier
John J. Reilly Center of the University of Notre Dame
Allan M. Russell
Edwin E. and Fay S. Schoenberger
Frederick M. Silvers
Barbara P. Smith-Moran
John E. and Bonita M. Turpin
Claude Welch
Nancy Wiens

Moon ($250+)

Joan Carter
City Church of San Francisco
Ramanath Cowsik
Celia E. Deane-Drummond
C.V. Finnegan
First Evangelical Lutheran Church (Centerville, IA)
First Presbyterian Church (Roswell, NM)
Brian and Lisa Galicia
Dennis and Holly Hair
Reginald and Barbara J. Hamer
Woosik Hyun
Robert Kossler
Paul H. and Lucy Lange
Andreas Losch
Ernan McMullin
Carol Miles
Andrew S. Park and S. Jane Myong
Jennifer Nixon
Ann M. and Gary L. Pederson
Moses and Elizabeth Penumaka
Robert Reed and Sue Siegel
Nadia M. Saad
Patricia J. Schulz
Nancy Teskey
Margaret G. and Vernon W. Towne
Margaret Wertheim

Asteroid ($150+)

Joseph A. Bracken, S.J.
Mary Anne Cooney
Bishop John S. Cummins
W. B. Drees and Z. Drees-Roeters
James Emerson
James Kraft
James Kutz
Ted Lau
Michael Levandowsky
George L. Murphy
William D. Phillips
Martin J. Rice
Barbara A. Roche
M. Scot Sherman
Bob Stumpf
Bob and Marion Wiens

Comet ($100+)

Anonymous (2)
Stephen Ames
Kevin P. Bertrand
Frank Budenholzer SVD
Samuel Cheon
Philip D. Clayton and Judith W. Kingsley
Carl R. Cooper
Gary R. Coulter
Chick D'Arpino
Edward B. and Kathryn A. Davis
William S. (Jr.) and Bonnie J. Falla
John D. Geary
C.G. (Jr.) and Allene T. Haugabook
John B. Hooper
Nancy R. Howell
Lois Isenman
Mildred D. Johnson
Tom and Becky Johnson
Bonnie F. and Keith E. Johnston
Alfred Lane
Thomas J. and Marilyn A. Lindell
Patrick M. and Sally F. Magee
Richard and Margaret Moore
The Honorable John T. Noonan
Kyeng-whan Oh
Palmyre M.F. Oomen
Mark and Brenda Richardson
Jack Sawyer
Richard T. and Kay K. Schellhase
Ernest Simmons
Jeffrey D. and Lisa M. Stauffer
Christopher Southgate
Owen C. Thomas and Margaret Miles
Howard J. Van Till
Nancy S. Wiens
Wesley J. and Suzanne G. Wildman
Jozef M. Zycinski

Meteorite (<$100)

John T. Baldwin
Steven Baraniuk
Alan Batten
Frank Birtel
Kate G. Boisvert
Paul Brown
Jean Burns
David P. Carico
Arthur Cassidy
Meera Chakravorty
Yun-Shiung Chang
Mary W. Cheng
Charles G. Conway
Christopher Corbally S.J.
Mary K. Cunningham
Manuel G. Doncel S.J.
Dennis Dubro
Denis Edwards
Daren and Laura Z. Erisman
Karl Evans
Richard Gelwick
Robert M. and Jovita L. Geraci
Karl Giberson
P. Roger Gillette
Grace Gilliam
Rabbi Michael Gold
Mark Graves
Brian P. Green
Jeff Gros
W.B. (Jr.) and Jacquelyn H. Groves
James P. Gunshinan
Chelvadurai H. Harichandran
Carl S. and Betty W. Helrich
Peter M.J. Hess
Philip J. Hughes
Rev. Roger Hull
Paul Ingram
John Izzo SJ
Antje Jackelen
Alicia Juarerro
Frank Jakubowsky
Junghyung Kim
Stanley Klein
Thomas M. Knadig and Donna K. Hammaker
Christoph H. and Susanne Lameter
Sungho Lee
Sister Elizabeth Liebert SNJM
Yiyu Liu
John Lowell
Nancy S. Lovejoy
Michael McGinley
Stuart McHugh
Jonathan Miller
Ki W. Min
Wing Kee Mok
Arni Morimoto
Derek R. Nelson
Mansurali G. Nurmuhammad
Del Olsen
Rita Osman
Yoshihiko Otani
Beresford Parlett
Joann Pavlinec
John C. Polkinghorne
Oliver Putz
Adam Pryor
Garrett Riegg
Rev. Thomas Ross
Janette Saaveeka
Anne A. Sackman
James F. Salmon, S.J.
Jeffrey P. Schaffer
Elaine Schmidt
Sandra M. Schneiders IHM
Ursula Shone
Fred Silva
David Stagaman, S.J.
Terence C. Terman
Lou Ann Trost
Rev. Carlton B. Turner
Robert J. Wagner
Seung Hyun Yoo

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 CTNS, marked "Chair Campaign".

Thank you!

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