The Randall Professorship is held by a recognized scholar whose work concentrates on an understanding of culture that embodies a Christian view of human achievement. The
selected individual contributes to undergraduate instruction in the theology, philosophy, history, literature, or the social sciences departments by participating in the Liberal Arts Honors and Development of Western Civilization Programs, directing student research, and delivering public lectures.
Michael Root is a native of Norfolk, Virginia. He studied at Dartmouth College (BA, summa cum laude) and Yale University (Ph.D. in theology). He has taught at Davidson College, Trinity Lutheran Seminary, and Lutheran Theological Southern Seminary. For 10 years, he was research professor at the Institute for Ecumenical Research in Strasbourg, France. He was received into the Catholic Church in 2010. Since 2011, he has served as ordinary professor of systematic theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, DC.
Ecumenical dialogues have been at the center of Root’s service. He was on the drafting team for the Catholic-Lutheran Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification, and served on the Catholic-Lutheran dialogue both nationally and internationally, the international Lutheran-Anglican dialogue, and the US Lutheran-Methodist dialogue. He was on the drafting team that produced Called to Common Mission, which established full communion between the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America and the Episcopal Church USA. He was a staff consultant to the 1993 World Conference on Faith and Order (Spain) and the 1998 Lambeth Conference (England). From 2005 through 2015, he was Executive Director of the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology. In 2010, he was the Joseph Visiting Professor at the Gregorian University in Rome.
Root is the author (with Gabriel Fackre) of Affirmations and Admonitions (1998) and editor of Justification by Faith (with Karl Lehmann and William Rusch, 1997), Baptism and the Unity of the Church (with Risto Saarinen, 1998), and, with James Buckley, of the Pro Ecclesia series of books. In addition, he is the author of many scholarly articles and an associate editor of the journal Pro Ecclesia.
The College's first endowed chair, the Rev. Robert Randall Distinguished Professorship in Christian Culture was established in 2002. The chair is named for the priest, scholar, and artist who served as a member of the Providence College faculty for more than 25 years. Father Randall taught English, theology, and courses in the Development of Western Civilization Program. The professorship exemplifies the commitment to educational excellence and Christian values that defined Father Randall's life as an educator and priest.
Committee MembershipSuzanne Fournier, English (Chair) Gary Culpepper, TheologyHugh F. Lena, Academic Affairs (ex officio)Patrick MacFarlane, PhilosophyR. Gabriel Pivarnik, O.P., TheologyConstance Rousseau, HistoryRev. James Sabak, Theology
Committee ChargeTo make recommendations to the President on incumbents of the Randall Distinguished Chair in Christian Culture.