Skip to main content

The Walter and Mary Tuohy Chair of Interreligious Studies was established in 1966 as a direct response to the Second Vatican Council’s call for Catholics to engage other believers in a spirit of appreciation and reconciliation. Over the years, the Tuohy Chair carried forward the spirit of the council by hosting visiting scholars, lectures, and courses aimed at fostering greater understanding of the diverse religious traditions that shape our world. In 2023, John Carroll University began the next chapter in this story with the launch of the Tuohy Center for Interreligious Understanding. Through new academic programs and initiatives, we hope to “acknowledge, preserve, and encourage the spiritual and moral truths” (Nostra Aetate 2) found in all religious traditions by bringing a diversity of religious voices into mutually illuminating conversations. Welcome to the conversation!

Edward Hahnenberg, Ph.D. Director, Tuohy Center for Interreligious Understanding

The Tuohy Center for Interreligious Understanding at John Carroll University was established in June 2023 with the funding provided by the Walter and Mary Tuohy Chair in Interreligious Studies at the Department of Theology & Religious Studies. 

The Walter and Mary Tuohy Chair of Interreligious Studies was founded by Mr. Walter Tuohy, former vice chairman and chief executive of the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad. He was a dedicated Catholic layman, and active member of the National Conference of Christians and Jews, and a zealous promoter of religious understanding. When established in 1966, it was the first endowed chair at John Carroll University and the first chair of ecumenism at the 28 Jesuit colleges and universities in the United States. For over fifty years, the chair has operated under the auspices of the Department of Theology & Religious Studies, whose philosophy in overseeing the chair has been to offer both students and the greater Cleveland community thoughtful discussions of religious life and practice that would be of ecumenical interest. This goal has been pursued through a variety of initiatives, including bringing to campus a distinguished scholar of religion to offer a series of public lectures and to teach a seminar on his or her area of expertise; sponsoring academic conferences on interreligious themes; supporting the interreligious research of John Carroll faculty; developing undergraduate and graduate courses on interreligious topics; and funding visiting positions that, over time, led to the establishment of two additional endowed chairs: the Bediüzzaman Said Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies (2003) and the Jack, Joseph, and Morton Mandel Chair in Jewish Studies (2022). 

The Tuohy Center continues this legacy by drawing the interreligious efforts of the Department of Theology & Religious Studies together under a single umbrella, and providing a point of collaboration with partners across campus who seek to build a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive sense of belonging at John Carroll University.

Mission and Vision - Tuohy Center

Our Executive Committee is formed by the Director of the Tuohy Center, the Program Manager, and the Breen Chair in Catholic Studies,  the Nursi Chair in Islamic Studies, and the Mandel Chair in Jewish Studies, as well as the Chair of the Theology and Religious Studies Department.

four people standing and smiling at the camera

Edward Hahnenberg,Ph.D., Semiha Topal, Ph.D., Zeki Saritoprak, Ph.D., Noah Bickart, Ph.D.



  • Rabbi Noah Bickart, Ph.D. (Fall 2018-Spring 2022)
  • Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, M.Afr. (Spring 2015)
  • Maria R. Heim, Ph.D. (Spring 2014)
  • Scott C. Alexander, Ph.D. (Fall 2013)
  • David L. Barr, Ph.D. (Spring 2013)
  • Rev. Thomas Michel, S.J. (Fall 2011)
  • William Campbell, Ph.D. (Spring 2011)
  • Rev. George M. Smiga, STD (Fall 2009)
  • Kelley E. Spoerl, Ph.D. (Spring 2009)
  • John Dominic Crossan, Ph.D. (Fall 2008)
  • Sr. Anne M. Clifford, CSJ (Spring 2008)
  • Robert Jewett, Ph.D. (Fall 2007)
  • Paul L. Heck, Ph.D. (Spring 2007)
  • Rev. Valentino Lassiter, DMin (Fall 2006)
  • Rev. Joseph A. Bracken (Spring 2006)
  • Rev. Sidney H. Griffith, Ph.D. (Fall 2005)
  • Rev. William Harmless, S.J. (Fall 2003)
  • John F. Haught, Ph.D. (Fall 2002)
  • John Kelsay, Ph.D. (Fall 2001)
  • Robin Jensen, Ph.D. (Fall 2000)
  • Diana L. Hayes, Ph.D. (Fall 1999)
  • Rev. James F. Keenan, S.J. (Spring 1999)
  • Rev. John C. Haughey, S.J. (Spring 1998)
  • Rev. Francis X. Clooney, S.J. (Spring 1998)
  • Rev. Nelson Callahan (Spring 1996)
  • James Cone, Ph.D. (Spring 1996)
  • Marian Morton, Ph.D. (Spring 1996)
  • Maria Harris, Ph.D. (Fall 1994)
  • Rev. Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J. (1992-93)
  • Charles S. McCoy, Ph.D. (1991-92)
  • Rev. Brian E. Daley, S.J. (1990-91)
  • Rabbi Arthur J. Lelyveld (1989-90)
  • Frederick W. Norris (1988-89)
  • Rev. Robert Eno, S.S. (1987-88)
  • Paul Jacobs, Ph.D. (1986-87)
  • Denise L. Carmody (1985-86)
  • Catherine L. Albanese (1985-86)
  • Robert N. Bella (1985-86)
  • Rev. Richard P. McBrien (1985-86)
  • Jay P. Dolan (1985-86)
  • Rev. Bryan Hehir (1985-86)
  • Sophie Laws (1984-85)
  • Norman Pittenger (1983-84)
  • Rev. Roderick A.F. MacKenzie, S.J. (1982-83)
  • W.H.C. Friend, Ph.D. (1981-82)
  • Rev. Martin McNamara, C.S.C. (1980-81)
  • Rev. Michael Fahey, S.J. (1979-80)
  • Bishop Richard P.C. Hanson (1978-79)
  • Rev. M. Edmund Hussey, Mt. (1977-78)
  • Rev. Theodore Stylianopoulos (1977-78)
  • Rev. Demetrios Constantelos (1977-78)
  • Rev. Thomas Hopko (1977-78)
  • Rev. David Tracy (1976-77)
  • John B. Cobb, Jr. (1976-77)
  • Rev. Moses B. Anderson (1975-76)
  • Preston N. Williams, Ph.D. (1975-76)
  • James H. Cone, Ph.D. (1975-76)
  • Rev. Robert E. McNally, S.J. (1974-75)
  • Rev. George H. Tavard (1974-75)
  • Robert M. Grant (1974-75)
  • Joseph M. Kitagawa (1973-74)
  • Rev. William Johnston, S.J. (1973-74)
  • Rev. Charles E. Curran (1972-73)
  • James M. Gustafson (1972-73)
  • Rabbi Lou H. Silberman (1972-73)
  • Frank Reynolds (1972-73)
  • Nathan A. Scott, Ph.D. (1971-72)
  • Charles W. Forman (1970-71)
  • Joachim Jeremias, Ph.D. (1970-71)
  • George W. Webber, Ph.D. (1969-70)
  • Carl E. Braaten, Ph.D. (1968-69)
  • Rev. Avery Dulles, S.J. (1968-69)
  • Wolfhart Pannenberg, Ph.D. (1968-69)
  • Jaroslav Pelikan, PH.D. (1967-68)


Signs and Wonders: A Pre-Passover/Pre-Easter Text Study and Discussion. Noah Bickart, Ph.D. March 21, 2021.

The Situation of Christians in the Arab World: How Interreligious Dialogue Can Help. Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, M.Afr., SThD. October 18, 2018. 

Women of the Wall: Freedom to Worship at the Kotel. Rabbi Rachel Sabath Beit-Halachmi, Ph.D. September 13, 2018.

Art and Stories of Mughal Women. Sonya Rhie Mace, Ph.D., George P. Bickford, April 19, 2018.

Luther and the German Princes. Nelson H. Minnich, Ph.D. November 1, 2017. 

Christian Fundamentalists and the New Atheists: Enemies? Frenemies? David R. Mason, Ph.D. September 22, 2016.

Violence and the Sacred Scriptures of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam: How Do We Handle That Legacy? John R. Spencer, Ph.D. October 18, 2016. 

Contemplating Contemplation: A Psychological Perspective on Mindfulness, Gratitude, and Ignatian Spiritual Practices. Antony Arenas, Ph.D. April 6, 2016. 

Art, Ritual, and Sacred Space on the Silk Road. Qiang Ning, Ph.D. April 13, 2016. 

Remembering the Divine: Devotional Music of South Asia. Utpola Borah, Ph.D., Hans Utter, Ph.D., Shibi Likhite, Ph.D., and “Billa” Jagjit Singh-Ji. April 20, 2016. 

Pope Francis' Plea for the Earth. Rabbi Roger C. Klein & Father George M. Smiga, STD. November 4, 2015. 

Religious Cross-Fertilization. Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, M.Afr. March 9, 2015.

Praise Belongs to God, Lord of the Universe. Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, M.Afr. March 16, 2015.

In the Name of the Merciful God of Mercy. Archbishop Michael Louis Fitzgerald, M.Afr. March 30, 2015.

Varieties of Love in Early Buddhist Texts. Maria R. Heim, Ph.D. March 17, 2014.

Islam 2.0: The Messengers of God and the Muslim in Us All. Scott C. Alexander, Ph.D. October 13, 2013. 

Islam and Muslims in the Domestic and International Context: Moving Beyond Media Sound Bites. Scott C. Alexander, Ph.D. October 14, 2013.

Which Religion Will Win? The Problem of Triumphalism in Christian-Muslim Relations. Scott C. Alexander, Ph.D. October 15, 2013.

Who Says It's the End-Times?. David L. Barr, Ph.D. March 19.2013.

The Original End-Times: Enoch, Daniel, Ezra. John. David L. Barr, Ph.D. March 26, 2013.

Did God Fail? A Role for Satan. David L. Barr, Ph.D. April 2, 2013.

Jihad for All: Holy War and Righteous Violence. David L. Barr, Ph. D. April 9, 2013. 

The (Second) Coming: Messiahs, Jesus, and the Mahdi. David L. Barr, Ph.D. April 16, 2013. 

The Politics of the End Time Today David L.Barr, Ph.D. April 23, 2013.

Christian Triumphalism and the Creator God of the Bible. William Campbell, Ph.D. February 8, 2011. 

The Significance of Paul and Judaism as a Paradigm for Contemporary Interreligious Relations in Society. William Campbell, Ph.D. February 15, 2011. 

There Can Be Neither Jew nor Gentile (Gal. 3.28) Are Christians a New Race?. William Campbell, Ph.D. February 22, 2011. 

Christian Self-Understanding in the Face of the Other and its Relevance for Social Harmony. William Campbell, Ph.D. March 1, 2011. 

Tracing the Invisible God: A Shared Faith for Jews and Christians. Rev. George M. Smiga, STD. November 10, 2009.

Catholic Women Encountering Religious Pluralism. Kelley E. Spoerl, Ph.D. April 14, 2009. 

panel info with rainbow spectrum background

Theology Beyond the Binary

May 1, 6:30pm. Academic Panel on Contemporary Approaches to Gender and Religious Authority

calligraphy and pink plower

Arabic-Hebrew Calligraphy Workshop and Exhibit by Ruben Shimonov

Explore the rich visual worlds of Arabic and Hebrew calligraphy with educator, community builder, and artist Ruben Shimonov. Learn about his multilingual calligraphy journey from Uzbekistan to the United States.

four speaker portraits and names

Alumni Continuing Education Series: Honoring Sacred Times During Difficult Times

On April 11, the A.C.E.S. program featured the Executive Committee of the Tuohy Center for Interreligious Understanding engaging in a scholarly conversation on the concept of sacred time across the Jewish, Christian and Muslim faiths.

book covers of the two poets

G-d Talk: A Poetry Reading and Conversation with Jessica Jacobs and Philip Metres

A poetry reading and conversation between two poets wrestling with their Jewish and Christian faiths. Held on April 3, 2024 at Rodman Hall A.

lantern with three colors

Sacred Time in a Time of War and Destruction: Reflection from the Executive Committee

cover image

Healing "Racism": The Baha'i Perspective on Race and Racism

an old picture of the Temple Mount

My First Trip to Israel/Palestine: Sharing Personal Stories and Reflections

November 28, 5-7pm in Donahue Auditorium. Private event for JCU community only.

panel info with a book image

Violence in Sacred Texts -Judaism, Christianity, Islam

Panel discussion by Noah Bickart, Ed Hahnenberg, and Zeki Saritoprak

the western wall with the dome and minaret in the background

Tuohy Center Executive Committee weighs on the recent violence in the Holy Land

collage of world religions

Breaking Bread Luncheon Series for Interfaith Engagement

Eat, Play, Learn: Breaking bread together while learning about different religions and developing the skills of interreligious understanding.

zen stones and cross with speaker photo and event title

Zen and the Spiritual Exercises

For our inaugural lecture on October 12, 2023, World Religions Professor and Zen Master Dr. Ruben Habito explores the relationship between Zen meditation and the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola.

Tuohy Center

Sip and Read Book Club

Sip & Read monthly book club for students, faculty, and staff to explore sacred texts of six religious traditions.

Tuohy Center Banner with glowing door opening

Tuohy Center for Interreligious Understanding Launches with a Fully-Packed Program Schedule

Tuohy Center Logo
Email:    Phone: 216-397-4704
Physical Address: St Ignatius Hall B-wing B250, John Carroll University, 1 John Carroll Blvd, University Heights, OH 44118 USA