Major Grant to Focus on Solutions to Today’s Most Pressing Social Issues

Duquesne University is the recipient of a three-year, $400,000 grant from the Henry Luce Foundation, in support of the University’s new project Catholicism and the Common Good.

The project aims to develop a relational and civic impact on social and economic problems afflicting various populations while shaping a network of Duquesne resources and outside scholars to reflect deep traditions from various faiths in serving communities.

This grant is the first bestowed to Duquesne by the Luce Foundation and is the largest such grant received by the University’s Center for Catholic Faith and Culture (CCFC), which will administer the grant.

“We see this grant as a great opportunity to expand upon the CCFC’s existing work in producing scholarship that helps to solve significant problems in society that will lift our communities up,” said the Rev. Ray French, C.S.Sp., vice president of for mission and identity, which houses the CCFC.

The Luce grant will bring together scholars working in theology and other disciplines, religious leaders and academic administrators to collaborate on best practices that can alleviate current problems involving economic disparities, public health and safety, environmental concerns, social justice, racial inequality, and treatment of immigrants and refugees in our society.

“We’ll accomplish this by engaging in more public-facing work, contributing to discourse in the broader non-denominational community at large, and leveraging the profound research and work already conducted by Duquesne faculty at our schools and centers,” explains Dr. Darlene Weaver, director of the CCFC.

The grant’s funding will also go toward new staff for the CCFC; working meetings for Duquesne scholars and visiting experts; a series of lectures and seminars examining current social and cultural issues; for-credit undergraduate and graduate courses connected to these seminars; and graduate student fellowships.

“Through cross-collaboration and interdisciplinary work, we’re hopeful that Catholicism and the Common Good will position Duquesne as a national leader in how best to address contemporary issues across the boundaries of religious and moral traditions,” said French.

The Luce Foundation was established in 1936 by Henry R. Luce, co-founder and editor in chief of Time magazine, to honor his parents who were missionary educators in China. The foundation seeks to bring important ideas to the center of American life, strengthen international understanding, and foster innovation and leadership in academic, policy, religious and art communities through grant-making programs.

Established in 2012, the CCFC fosters interdisciplinary research and collaborative problem solving that is oriented and informed by Catholic ideas and ideals. The center’s confidence in the contemporary value of Catholic intellectual tradition is coupled with its commitment to critical reflection and non-defensive engagement with other faith communities.