Anything C.S. Lewis is an instant favorite in the PHC community, so it’s no surprise that the arrival of renowned Lewis scholar Dr. Michael Ward for this spring’s Faith & Reason lecture on Friday has become a topic of interest around campus. And we have much to look forward to—not only because of the subject matter and the additional Thursday lecture, but because of Dr. Ward’s personality and character.
“Dr. Ward is really one of the only people I’ve ever studied under where I thought, 'Wow, this person is the same caliber as the PHC professors,’” said alumnus John Southards (‘20), who took Dr. Ward’s graduate level Literature & Apologetics course at Houston Baptist University last fall. “Not just in raw academic ability or in brilliance, but also in kindness. His person fits with who the [PHC] faculty are.”
Dr. Ward is both “a brilliant man” and a kind one, who genuinely desires the success of his students inside and outside the classroom. “He’s a soft-spoken person and has a quick wit, although it is often disguised in the dryness of the English way,” noted Southards.
Dr. Ward also has the ability to explain complex concepts plainly and convincingly, which will be evident during his Thursday lecture on his book Planet Narnia: The Seven Heavens in the Imagination of C.S. Lewis. “It’s a book that, when someone who has read it tries to explain it, it sounds a little far-fetched. It does not at all sound far-fetched when Dr. Ward explains his theory,” said Southards.
Since The Chronicles of Narnia is a well-known series in the PHC community, hearing a detailed argument on a highly debated theory about Lewis’ classic work can encourage deep, informed discussions in both literature classes and casual conversation.
Lewis’ The Abolition of Man is required reading for all students, so Dr. Ward’s Faith & Reason lecture has the potential to strike the heart of the ideas and conversations that frequently circulate around campus. Not only that, the Q&A discussion between Dr. Ward and the faculty panel after Friday’s lecture will be an opportunity for students to see what high academic quality looks like outside of the context of the college.
“I think seeing [Dr. Ward], who is not a PHC faculty member, interact with the faculty can help provide a good vision for the students about what a man who is excellent in his practice should be [like],” Southards said. "You don’t have to be from PHC—it’s just PHC is trying to help people grow to what the faculty happen to be and people like Dr. Ward happen to be.”
The goal of Patrick Henry College's methodology and classical liberal arts curriculum is to teach students how to think, not what to think, in order to develop well-rounded and dedicated individuals who meaningfully contribute to whatever field they choose. The esteemed faculty are wonderful examples of academic and vocational excellence, and Dr. Ward is also one such model of the kind of person that PHC looks to cultivate in every student and graduate.
Dr. Ward’s Thursday lecture will be from 7:00-8:30 p.m. in the Barbara Hodel Center (BHC) gymnasium.
Friday's lecture will begin promptly at 9:30 a.m. in the BHC gymnasium, and the following Q&A discussion will be held from 1:00-2:30 p.m. in the same location.
Patrick Henry College exists to glorify God by challenging the unacceptable status quo in higher education, lifting high both faith and reason within a rigorous academic environment; thereby preserving for posterity the ideals behind the "noble experiment in ordered liberty" that is the foundation of America.
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