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Chester Alter Professor Lectureship: Welcome

About the Chester Alter Visiting Professor

Chester Alter Visiting Professor

Regis University



The Chester Alter Visiting Professorship was established by the Loretto Heights College Board of Trustees in 1981 and transferred to Regis University in 1988.  Since that time, Regis has brought eleven distinguished Chester Alter Professors to engage our students and faculty in a variety of ways.  The reach of these teachers and scholars has been extended from undergraduates to graduate students and faculty, and several have drawn an audience from the general public through public presentations. 


The purpose of the fund is "to bring outstanding scholars from the arts, humanities, sciences or business to teach a course or seminar in their area of specialization or to give a series of lectures and/or to make one or two public addresses."  The endowment was created with the idea that “one of the most important attributes of a college is its climate for intellectual excitement. Nothing contributes more to the realization of such an environment than the presence of outstanding scholars who just by being on campus serve as models for students and faculty alike.” 


The scholars we have invited to Regis University as Chester Alter professors have more than fulfilled that expectation.  Outstanding scholars we have hosted include:

  • Robert Bellah, eminent sociologist of religion, professor and author of Habits of the Heart, among many other books.  Professor Bellah helped inaugurate the University’s Institute on the Common Good with a public lecture followed by a seminar for students and faculty. 
  • Phillip Gleason, historian and author of numerous books on American Catholicism and professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, spent time with students and faculty in a series of four visits.  Dr. Gleason initiated a seminar course with a public address that continued in the seminar and culminated in student capstone projects. 
  • Raymond L. Fitz, Ferree Professor of Social Justice and Executive Director of the Association of Marianist Universities, led the University community in a series of conversations on issues of diversity and Catholic mission.  His three visits to the campus included an initial public address; dialogs with faculty, staff and students; a series of workshops on the issues that emerged from those discussions; and a set of recommendations to the University community and later to the Board of Trustees.


These visiting professors have stimulated interest, shared new thinking, and addressed questions in a variety of disciplines.  They have enabled us to reach out to the wider community through their public presence and have had a lasting impact on the intellectual life of the University and the curriculum through their work with us.  Individuals who demonstrate excellence do make a difference.