Award-winning author to deliver Seventh Annual Khatib Lecture

February 24, 2015 BK LI

BROOKLYN AND LONG ISLAND - February 24, 2015 – St. Joseph’s College (SJC) is pleased to announce the Dr. Reza and Georgianna Clifford Khatib Chair in Comparative Religion Seventh Annual Lecture featuring author Robert Ellsberg. His talk, “Thomas Merton – Spiritual Explorer” will take place Monday, March 9 in the Tuohy Hall Auditorium on the Brooklyn Campus and on Monday, April 13 in the McGann Conference Center on the Long Island Campus. Both lectures will take place at 12:30 p.m. and are free and open to the public.

“This year marks the centenary of the birth of Thomas Merton—convert to Catholicism, Trappist monk, mystic, poet, activist and interlocutor with leaders of other faiths,” said Dr. Thomas Petriano, professor and chair of the Department of Religious Studies at SJC. “This year's Khatib Chair, Robert Ellsberg, editor of Orbis Press and noted Merton scholar, promises to explore the insightful relevance of Thomas Merton and his work for the 21st century.”

Robert Ellsberg is the publisher, executive director and editor-in-chief of Orbis Books. He is the former managing editor of The Catholic Worker, where he was introduced to Dorothy Day, founder of the newspaper. Ellsberg credits Ms. Day for influencing his life’s work and vocation as a writer and an editor, along with his decision to convert to Catholicism and study theology. Ellsberg is the author and editor of several award-winning books, including All Saints: Daily Reflections on Saints, Prophets, and Witnesses for Our Time (Crossroad, 1997) and All the Way to Heaven: The Selected Letters of Dorothy Day (Marquette University Press, 2010, editor). He received an Applied Baccalaureate with special concentrations in religion and literature from Harvard College and a Master of Theology from the Harvard Divinity School.

Funded by Dr. Reza and Mrs. Georgianna Clifford Khatib ’52, the Chair’s purpose is to promote interfaith dialogue, with the study of Islam being an integral part of the initiative. Each spring, through the generosity of Dr. and Mrs. Khatib, the College hosts a noted scholar who lectures, leads faculty discussions and teaches a course to students from both campuses.

For more information about The Dr. Reza and Georgianna Clifford Khatib Chair in Comparative Religion, please call 718.940.5584 for Brooklyn or 631.687.2663 for Long Island, or visit

St. Joseph’s College has been dedicated to providing a diverse population of students in the New York metropolitan area with an affordable education rooted in the liberal arts tradition since 1916. Independent and coeducational, the College provides a strong academic and value-oriented education at the undergraduate and graduate levels, aiming to prepare each student for a life characterized by integrity, intellectual and spiritual values, social responsibility, and service. With campuses located in the Clinton Hill area of Brooklyn and in Patchogue, Long Island, the College offers degrees in more than 35 majors, special course offerings and certificates, affiliated and pre-professional programs.