Prominent theologian and author Michael Novak to speak on 'business as vocation' Oct. 29

Prominent theologian and author Michael Novak to speak on 'business as vocation' Oct. 29

Theologian, author and former diplomat Michael Novak is the featured speaker at the University of St. Thomas' 17th annual Stakeholder Dialogue later this month.

Novak's lecture, "Career or Calling? Business as a Vocation," begins at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 29, in Thornton Auditorium of Terrence Murphy Hall on St. Thomas' downtown Minneapolis campus.

Free and open to the public, it is co-sponsored by St. Thomas' Koch Chair in Business Ethics, Opus College of Business, and Koch Chair in Catholic Studies in cooperation with the Center for Ethical Business Cultures.

Novak argues that, despite the treatment it usually receives from Hollywood, news media and some intellectuals, business life is morally serious and constitutes "a calling." He explores the idea of business as vocation by examining ideals inherent to industry and commerce, considering their virtues and myriad ethical responsibilities. In doing so he underscores two powerful arguments for capitalism: that it better helps the poor to escape from poverty than any other economic system, and that it is a necessary (though not sufficient) condition for democracy.

The author of 26 influential books on the philosophy and theology of culture, Novak currently holds the George Frederick Jewett Chair in Religion, Philosophy and Public Policy at the American Enterprise Institute in Washington, D.C. He received the million-dollar Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion in 1994 and is best known as author of The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism (Simon & Schuster, 1982), which appeared in an underground edition in Poland in 1986 and has been translated into Korean, Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian, Czech, Slovak and German. His new book is No One Sees God: The Dark Night of Atheists and Believers (Doubleday, August 2008).  Novak also served as U.S. chief ambassador to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights in 1981 and led the U.S. delegation to the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1986.

Responding to Novak's remarks will be:

  • Thomas Holloran, senior distinguished fellow in the St. Thomas School of Law. Among his former positions: senior partner at Fredrickson and Byron, president of Medtronic, chairman and CEO of Dain-Rauscher, municipal judge, mayor of Shorewood, and chairman of the Metropolitan Airports Commission.
  • Recent St. Thomas alumnus Christopher DuFresne, senior business process manager at He earned his B.A. from St. Thomas in 2004, majoring in Catholic studies, marketing and finance, and his M.B.A. from St. Thomas' Opus College of Business in 2008.

Moderating the discussion will be Dr. Jeanne Buckeye, associate professor in the Opus College of Business and a fellow of the university's John A. Ryan Institute for Catholic Social Thought.

For additional information, call (651) 962-4211 or visit .