The Vernon Robertson Lectureship

The Rev. Vernon W. Robertson (1923 – 1998)

Fr. Vernon Robertson had a knack for creatively pushing the church, all of us, to stand and be present, especially when it came to social and racial justice and to serving the vulnerable. He also had a knack for getting people excited about his vision and then creating the networks that would make things happen. He helped revitalize and restore St. Martin of Tours parish, create the Afro-German Tea Room, the Glade House for men with AIDS, and the Urban Montessori Schools, among other things. He was not afraid to put himself on the line to stand for what he believed in. He was especially passionate especially about keeping a Catholic presence and the works of mercy in the city. For example, When Fr. Robertson couldn’t keep the archdiocese from closing some of the parishes serving the inner city, he and some committed friends created a trust and purchased the St. Philip Neri Campus and set in motion the beginnings of what is now the Chapel of St. Philip, The Casa Latina CW, La Casita Center, and their newest neighbor, Just Faith Ministries. Fr. Robertson was clear that the church should not abandon the city but instead support community there in new and creative ways, maintaining “a sacred space in an urban place.” ~Maria Scharfenberger

The Vernon Robertson Lecture

Fr. Robertson’s generous gift to Bellarmine endowed a lectureship that has enabled the Theology Department to invite many exceptional and internationally recognized scholars to our campus. Vernon Robertson Lecturers bring theological scholarship to bear on issues of social justice, furthering the mission of Bellarmine University, and continuing the legacy of Fr. Robertson.

Past Vernon Robertson Lecturers include:

  • Elizabeth Johnson 2018
  • James Keenan 2018
  • Bishop Daniel E. Flores 2017
  • Henry Mugabe 2017
  • Cristina Traina 2015
  • Pamela Eisenbaum 2013
  • Shawn Copeland 2012
  • Christopher Ruddy 2011
  • Robert Wilken 2010
  • Daniel Groody 2009
  • Gary Dorrien 2008
  • Lisa Sowle Cahill 2007
  • Ursula King 2006
  • Peter Steinfels 2005
  • Stephanie Paulsell 2004