An Advent Awakening: God’s Children Made of Stardust

CoyneThe universe is 13.7 billion years old. It contains approximately 100 billion galaxies, each of which contains, on the average, 200 billion stars of an immense variety. As these stars live and die they provide the chemicals necessary for the evolution of life.  On Saturday, December 5th at 4:30 p.m. and Sunday, December 6th at 8 a.m., 10:15 a.m. and noon at St. Ann’s Parish in Manlius, New York, Rev. George Coyne, McDevitt Chair in Physics, will celebrate mass and discuss how important it is to respect the richness of both religious faith and of scientific research as we consider the origins of the universe.

COP21 UN Climate Change Conference to Begin in Paris

We are two degrees from a vastly different world; a world of catastrophic droughts, mass extinctions, extreme rise in sea level, and more.  Overwhelming scientific consensus agrees that this will be our reality within a few decades if we do not curb our carbon emissions.  But how can this be done on a global scale?

At the COP21 UN climate change conference in Paris, France held November 30 to December 11, 2015, 196 countries will meet to sign a new climate change agreement.  Their aim is to build a “Paris Climate Alliance”, capable of keeping the average global temperature rise below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels and adapt our societies to existing disruption.

To follow the conference and keep up with the latest news coming out of COP21 visit: United Nations Conference on Climate Change.

To learn more about what the COP21 conference can achieve we suggest reading this article entitled Yes, the Paris Climate Change Conference Can Save the Planet.

To continue the dialogue locally, the McDevitt Center’s initiative on Sustaining Earth will continue this spring with a lecture by Sean Esbjorn-Hargens, Ph.D. (MetaIntegral, Inc.) on March 17th and John Hart, Ph.D. (Boston University School of Theology) on April 7th.  Both lectures will begin at 6:00 p.m. in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus.

Grabowski Appointed to National Academies/National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board/Marine Board

Martha Grabowski, McDevitt Distinguished Chair in Information Systems, was appointed to the National Academies/National Research Council’s Transportation Research Board/Marine Board. Grabowski is returning to the Board that she previously chaired. The National Research Council is the operating division of the National Academies, and is a private, non-profit institution. Under a Congressional charter granted to the National Academy of Sciences, the NRC provides scientific and technical advice to the government, the public and the scientific and engineering communities.

The Fall meeting of the Marine Board will convene November 10-13, 2015 in Washington, DC. Two McDevitt Undergraduate Research in IS Fellows, Jonathan Martial ’17 and Steven Middleton ’16, will attend the Board meeting and assist in the Arctic search and rescue focus session, which ADM Bob Papp, USCG (retired), the US representative to the Arctic Council, and VADM Michel, USCG, Deputy Commandant of the Coast Guard, will lead.

Dr. Grabowski just returned from participating in Arctic Zephyr, a multinational Arctic search and rescue exercise in Anchorage, Alaska, hosted by the US Coast Guard, that exercised an 8-nation SAR response to a 2000-passenger vessel casualty in Arctic waters with air, marine, ground and unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) resources. 60 representatives from all Arctic nations except Russia participated in the exercise.  The Anchorage exercise is a precursor to the live exercise of this vessel rescue scenario that is planned off the west coast of Greenland in May/June 2016.

Dr. Cathy Gutierrez to Speak on The Deviant and The Dead Tonight

Nineteenth-century Spiritualists assured the grieving that their loved ones were thriving in the afterlife. Spiritualists threw open the pearly gates to all humanity, admitting even criminals into heaven. At the same moment, the science of criminology was born, fathered by committed Spiritualist Cesare Lombroso. Investigations into deviance both here and in the hereafter required new techniques for detecting the deviant hiding in plain sight, inaugurating new thinking about human futures.

2015-07-14 14.37.55 (2)-2Join us tonight, Monday, November 9th at 5:30 p.m. in Le Moyne’s Panasci Family Chapel as Dr. Cathy Gutierrez discusses the implications of these new techniques in a lecture entitled The Deviant and the Dead: Incarnations of Crime.’’

This lecture is part of the McDevitt Center lecture series on the Future of Being Human and is being offered in conjunction with a class of the same name that examines the question of what it means to be human in the twenty-first century from a multi-disciplinary lens.

Dr. Cathy Gutierrez received her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and her master’s and doctorate in religion from Syracuse University. She was a professor of Religion at Sweet Briar College for 18 years. The author of Plato’s Ghost: Spiritualism in the American Renaissance (Oxford University Press, 2009), she is the editor of several collections, most recently the Brill Handbook of Spiritualism and Channeling (2015).

This lecture is free and open to the public. For additional information please contact the McDevitt Center at or (315) 445-6200.

Michael Mann, Ph.D. to Speak at Le Moyne College

IPCC_2001_3rd Assessment_Report_SPMThe ongoing assault on climate science in the United States has never been more aggressive, more blatant, or more widely publicized than in the furor surrounding the so-called Hockey Stick–a clear and compelling graph of scientific data constructed by Dr. Michael E. Mann and his colleagues to demonstrate that global temperatures have risen in conjunction with the increase in industrialization and the use of fossil fuels dating back to 1000 AD. The graph was featured in the high-profile “Summary for Policy Makers” of the 2001 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and quickly became an icon in the debate over human-caused (“anthropogenic”) climate change.

MannTree-highresJoin us on Monday, November 2nd at 5:30 p.m. in Le Moyne College’s Panasci Family Chapel as we host a lecture by Michael E. Mann, Ph.D., Distinguished Professor of Meteorology and Director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University. Professor Mann will tell the story behind the Hockey Stick, using it as a vehicle for exploring broader issues regarding the role of skepticism in science, the uneasy relationship between science and politics, and the dangers that arise when special economic interests and those who do their bidding attempt to skew the discourse over policy-relevant areas of science. In short, Professor Mann will use the Hockey Stick to cut through the fog of disinformation that has been generated by the campaign to deny the reality of climate change and, in so doing, will reveal the very real threat to our future that lies behind it.

Dr. Michael E. Mann received his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Applied Math from the University of California at Berkeley, an M.S. degree in Physics from Yale University, and a Ph.D. in Geology & Geophysics from Yale University. He is the recipient of 27 honors and awards, the author of more than 180 peer-reviewed and edited publications, and has published two books including Dire Predictions: Understanding Global Warming (Pearson/DK Publishing, 2008) and The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines (Columbia University Press, 2012).

For additional information on Professor Mann and his work, we suggest listening to this interview with Andrea Milan as they discuss the impact of anthropogenic climate change on a geological perspective; reading this June 2015 interview by Stefanie Penn Spear, Founder and CEO of EcoWatch, entitled “Michael Mann’s Dire Predictions Provides Ultimate Guide on Understanding Climate Change;” or watching this brief September 28th, 2015 interview that aired on The Weather Channel in which Professor Mann discussed the “cold blob” in the Atlantic Ocean, its correlation to global warming, and the implication for humanity.

Additional information is also available on Professor Mann’s website.

This talk is part of an ongoing series of lectures devoted to Sustaining Earth: Insights from Science and Religion. It is free and open to the public. For more information please call 315-445-6200 or e-mail

A Reading By George Saunders: Monday, October 19th at Le Moyne College

gsaundersWorld-renowned author, George Saunders, will be reading from his work on Monday, October 19th at 5:30pm in the Panasci Family Chapel on the Le Moyne College campus. Saunders’ reading is part of the Future of Being Human initiative sponsored by the McDevitt Core Professor, Dr. Jennifer Glancy, and the McDevitt Center. This event is free and open to the public.

Saunders has written four collections of short stories, a novella, and a book of essays. His most recent collection, Tenth of December (Random House 2013), won the 2014 Story Prize and the 2014 Folio Prize. The recipient of a 2006 MacArthur Foundation Genius grant, his work appears regularly in The New Yorker, GQ, and Harpers Magazine, and has appeared in the O’HenryBest American Short StoryBest Non-Required Reading, and Best American Travel Writing anthologies. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and was named one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World by TIME Magazine in 2013.

To learn more about George Saunders we recommend watching this short video produced by The New Yorker on December 4, 2013 in which Saunders discusses reading, writing, and teaching at Syracuse University.

We also recommend watching his inspirational 2013 Syracuse University Convocation Address that was later reprinted by The New York Times and eventually became the basis for Congratulations by the way: Some Thoughts on Kindness (Random House, 2014).

For more information on George Saunders’ talk please e-mail the McDevitt Center at or call 315-445-6200.

Climate Change Documentary to Be Shown in Syracuse on October 16th

Over one billion people worldwide are dependent upon fish as the principle source of protein. Now, imagine a world without fish; the potential economic, social and environmental impact is enormous.  It is a terrifying premise, and it’s happening right now.

On Friday, October 16th at The Palace Theatre (2384 James Street, Syracuse), GreeningUSA and the Syracuse International Film Festival will sponsor a screening of the award winning, critically acclaimed climate change documentary, A Sea Change. Doors open at 5:15 p.m. and the film program will begin at 6:45 p.m. A panel discussion and Q&A session will be held immediately following the film. Panelists include Barbara Ettinger (documentary filmmaker), Sven Huseby (main protagonist in the film), and Bruce Monger, Ph.D. (climate scientist at Cornell University). Chris Bolt (WAER news and public affairs director) will moderate. Advance sale tickets for A Sea Change are $8 for adults and $5 for seniors (age 60+), students, and family members (at least one parent and child under age 18). Tickets prices at the door on the day of the event will be $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and students, and $6 for family members. Free parking will be available in the rear of The Palace Theatre.

A global warming horror story, neatly wrapped up in a tender love story by a grandfather to his grandson, A Sea Change follows the journey of Sven Huseby on his quest to discover what is happening to the worlds oceans and the implications it will have on all of humanity. As Huseby discovers along his journey, and as Pope Francis reminds us, we must begin “…a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all” (Laudato Si’, paragraph 14).

For additional information on the documentary we suggest reading the New York Times article written by Elizabeth Kolbert entitled The Darkening Sea. This article was the inspiration for A Sea Change.

Three Awarded McDevitt Fellowships in Information Systems

The McDevitt Center would like to congratulate Jonathan Martial ’17, Steven Middleton ’16, and Jean-Phillipe Rancy ’16 on their selection as McDevitt Undergraduate Fellows in Information Systems for the 2015-16 academic year.  Each McDevitt Fellow will work closely with Dr. Martha Grabowski, Distinguished McDevitt Professor in Information Systems. Martial and Middleton will develop research projects around arctic search and rescue models and Rancy will continue his research developing Google Glass applications for ship navigation.  In addition, the Fellows and will participate in regular research meetings led by Dr. Grabowski. This fellowship includes a $4,000 stipend.

(Picture by Dr. Martha Grabowski.  From left to right: Jonathan Martial, Jean-Phillipe Rancy, and Steven Middleton)

Coyne to Speak on Science and Religion

20100111cnsbr00088On Wednesday, October 21st from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Moon Library on the SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY ESF) campus, Fr. George Coyne (McDevitt Chair in Physics) will join Dr. Warren Allmon (director of the Paleontological Research Institution in Ithaca and professor in the Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Cornell University) to address Heaven and Earth: The Relationship Between Science and Religion.

The talk is part of SUNY ESF’s “Moonlighting” series. “Moonlighting” is a series of informal discussions, debates and interviews hosted by Dr. Quentin Wheeler, president of SUNY ESF. For centuries, the university has been the place where freedom of speech and thought are cherished, but also where ideas and assertions are freely challenged through open, respectful discourse that knows no disciplinary boundaries. Moonlighting is intended to foster such discourse and create an enjoyable, intellectually stimulating evening.

The event is free and open to the public but registration is required should you plan to attend. For more information and to register please visit the event website.

Le Moyne College and Syracuse University Select 2015 Faculty Sustainability Fellows

Steven Affeldt, Director of the McDevitt Center at Le Moyne College, and Sherburne Abbott, Vice President for Sustainability Initiatives at Syracuse University, are pleased to announce the 2015 Faculty Sustainability Fellows. Three to four Fellows from each institution will gather for a series of learning opportunities and discussions this fall, concentrating on the connections between climate change and social justice. It will be an opportunity for faculty from a wide variety of disciplines to share their perspectives and brainstorm collectively about how to bring these issues into classroom lessons and student research.

From left to right: Adelmo Dunghe, S.J., Gwendolyn Morgan, Doug Frank, Jim Hannan, Kishi Ducre, and Evan Weissman. Ronald Wright is not pictured.  Picture courtesy of Chuck Wrainwright.

The 2015 Faculty Sustainability Fellows are:

  • Kishi Animashaun Ducre, African-American Studies (SU College of Arts & Sciences), who will use the fellowship to enhance her course on Hurricane Katrina and to develop opportunities for students to study climate change and climate justice campaigns on the Gulf Coast;
  • Adelmo Dunghe and Gwendolyn Morgan, Communication, Film  and Religious Studies (LMC Arts and Sciences – shared award), to expand a course on Eco Theology and World Cinema.
  • Doug Frank, Biology (SU College of Arts & Sciences), to incorporate into his course on the biophysical impacts of climate change an understanding of its social and ethical implications;
  • James Hannan, English (LMC Arts and Sciences), for developing an interdisciplinary upper-division Core course on “Climate Culture”;
  • Evan Weissman, Food Studies (SU, Falk College of Sport and Human Dynamics), to develop a course on Climate Change and the Food System;
  • Ronald Wright, Business Administration (LMC Madden School of Business), to develop a new case for an upper-level class, focusing on the decision making process of an electric utility in response to environmental legislation.

The Faculty Sustainability Fellowship program is supported by the McDevitt Center at LMC and the Vice President for Sustainability Initiatives at SU. Each fellow will receive a small stipend and the opportunity to apply for some additional funding to advance a teaching project. All Fellows will attend three events this fall: a September 16 roundtable at LMC devoted to Pope Francis’s Encyclical on Climate that was issued over the summer; a lecture on November 2 at LMC by renowned climate scientist Michael Mann, and the November 3 University Lecture at SU by Naomi Klein, author of This Changes Everything: Capitalism and the Climate (2014).

This is the first time either LMC or SU has offered such Fellowships, and the first collaboration on sustainability education between the two schools. “The current semester offered an exceptional opportunity for such collaboration, bracketed as it is by Pope Francis’s encyclical on climate change, “Laudato Si’,” issued over the summer, his September visit to the United States and Congressional address, as well as the global climate talks slated to begin in Paris at the end of November. “ says Dr. Donald McCrimmon, McDevitt Research Associate at LMC. “We were delighted with the response to the call for applications, which fielded six applications from six different disciplines, and the opportunity for LMC faculty to share ideas and actions with colleagues at SU.”

“It has been gratifying to see the breadth of faculty interest in global environmental change and social justice,” says Dr. Rachel May, Coordinator of Sustainability Education, in the Office of Sustainability Initiatives at SU. “We heard from professors from 13 departments and eight different schools and colleges. All these people have courses and projects that relate to our themes, they have great ideas for pedagogy and student engagement, and they want to meet and work with colleagues across the university and across town at Le Moyne. We couldn’t give them all fellowships, but we certainly plan to bring them together and promote collaborations on the essentially interdisciplinary issue of how climate change affects us all.”

The McDevitt Center at LMC supports initiatives in computer science, management/information systems, philosophy, physics, and religious studies, and is engaged in a major initiative entitled, “Sustaining Earth: Insights from Science and Religion.” The SU Office of Sustainability Initiatives works to strengthen connections across scholarship and practice and forge new institutional arrangements that create integrated approaches to sustainability and advance the university’s commitment to being a leader in sustainability in higher education.

Supporting initiatives in Computer Science, Management/Information Systems, Philosophy, Physics, and Religious Studies at Le Moyne College.


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