Eboo Patel, a national leader on interfaith collaboration and one of President Obama's advisors on faith issues, gave a talk titled "The Holiness of Common Ground."
Patel is a leading voice for cultivating greater understanding and acceptance of diverse faith backgrounds, including on college campuses. Sister Mary Josephine Torborg, associate professor of theology and religious studies at St. Scholastica and chair of the College's Centennial subcommittee on faith communities, said Patel's appearance has required more than two years of planning.
"He has a way of discussing faith in a very non-threatening manner," said Torborg. "As a college and a community, we thought he would be a great catalyst and inspiration to move forward in interfaith collaborations.
"Our hope is that students graduate from the College with a knowledge of how to approach and lead interfaith dialogue, something that can be difficult to do."
Patel also spoke with St. Scholastica students earlier in the day on campus. He spoke with primarily first-year students about his book "Acts of Faith," which was part of the dignitas curriculum this year.
Patel is a member of President Obama's Advisory Council of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships and was named by U.S. News & World Report as one of America's Best Leaders of 2009. He also is the founder and president of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based organization building the global interfaith youth movement. Patel is a former Rhodes Scholar and has a Ph.D. in the sociology of religion from Oxford University.