Chester Ronning Centre for the Study of Religion and Public Life


The activities of the Ronning Centre include:

Augustana Distinguished Lectures

The Augustana Distinguished Lectures were initiated through a bequest from the family of Magda and George Hendrickson. Annually, by means of the Hendrickson Memorial and Distinguished Visiting Fellows Endowments, we host a prominent thinker who will reflect on some vital aspect of religion and public life.

Conversations on Religion and Public Life

During each academic term, the Centre hosts a series of distinguished experts in Camrose, who engage the public on current issues of religion and public life.

Ronning Centre Symposia

The Centre joins with various institutional partners in bringing scholars, activists, public servants, and professionals together to deepen their knowledge and exchange insights on the most difficult current issues.

International Fellows Program

A new initiative, the International Fellows Program aims to connect public intellectuals with students, faculty, and community members on local, national, and global levels.

Every other year, the Centre will bring nationally and internationally recognized intellectuals to the Augustana Campus of the University of Alberta for a conference, to engage students, faculty, and the general public. These guests will participate in outreach activities such as conducting lectures, seminars, and workshops; and will prepare op-ed and briefing papers on current issues pertinent to the intersection of religion and public life. These activities will engage the following communities:

  • public and private universities (Canadian and international)
  • various religious communities
  • civic/governmental agencies and organizations
  • journalists and other members of the media

The Centre employs a Postdoctoral Fellow to help organize the conference and additional programming, and to work toward publishing and disseminating research that emerges from the conference.

Selected Topics in Religion and Public Life

AUREL 271, taught by various Augustana faculty, is offered for students at the Augustana campus. The course explores a current set of issues on religion and public life and is also open to the public. More information can be found in the course description. Questions can be directed to Dr. Mundel at or Raj Rathnavalu at

Spirit of the Land Conference

An annual conference sponsored by the Centre. Details available on the Spirit of the Land website.