Noted Author and Journalist Peter Steinfels Named 2014 D’Angelo Chair

Friday, January 24, 2014

Author, educator, and journalist Peter Steinfels, Ph.D., has been named to the 2014 Peter P. and Margaret A. D’Angelo Endowed Chair in the Humanities at St. John’s University.

Steinfels is the third person to be selected for the Chair, which was established in 2007 by Peter P. D’Angelo ’78MBA, ’06 HON, and Margaret La Rosa D’Angelo ’70Ed, to enhance intellectual life at the University. The Chair brings leading artists, authors, researchers, and scholars from across many disciplines to teach and speak at St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the University’s oldest division.

As Chair, Steinfels joins the faculty in the Theology and Religious Studies Department, where he will teach a graduate- level course, THE 490: Religion and Public Life. He also will deliver a lecture, “Secularization and Its Discontents: Is ‘Secular’ a Four-Letter Word?”  The event will take place at 1:50 p.m. on Thursday, February 27, in the D’Angelo Center, room 206, on the Queens campus.  At 1:50 p.m. on Monday, April 7, he will deliver the lecture in the Kelleher Center, Kiernan Suite, on the Staten Island campus. Known for his perceptive commentaries on the relationship between religion and contemporary culture, Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal and wrote the well-regarded “Beliefs” column in the New York Times. The author of such well-received books as A People Adrift: the Crisis of the Roman Catholic Church in America and The Neoconservatives, Steinfels is a professor at Fordham University and was the founding co-director of Fordham’s Center on Religion and Culture.  In 2003, he and his wife, Margaret O’Brien Steinfels, who served for fifteen years as editor of Commonweal and co-directed  the Fordham Center, were recipients of the Laetare Medal for service to the Church and society from the University of Notre Dame.

Awarded an honorary doctoral degree by St. John’s in 2003, Steinfels is interested in exploring how an institution like St. John’s, with its vast range of academic disciplines and professional schools, maintains its distinctive Catholic character.