Professor set to speak on importance of politics

By Jade Mardirosian
Staff writer

Baylor’s Phi Beta Kappa will host its annual Roy B. Albaugh lecture, presented by Harvard Law School’s Learned Hand Professor of Law, Dr. Mary Ann Glendon, at 7:30 p.m. today in Cashion Academic Center.

Dr. Michael Foley, associate professor of patristics and chair of the committee that selects the speaker for each year’s lecture, said Glendon is a distinguished scholar, a Harvard Law professor, a former United States Ambassador to the Vatican, one of the 50 most influential women lawyers in America and a person of great integrity and kindness.

Foley said Glendon will speak on the notion of politics as a vocation according to Cicero and Edmund Burke.

“Both Cicero and Burke were eminent philosophers who took statesmanship seriously,” Foley said. “They are perfectly positioned to remind us of the importance of politics to human flourishing and the need for good men and women to serve their country as wise public leaders.”

Foley explained how Glendon was chosen.

“We really want [speakers] to be the best of the best, usually nationally or internationally known for some contribution they have made to the world of scholarship, or art or politics,” Foley said. “We are very excited about having Ambassador Glendon come, because she really embodies the very best of what Phi Beta Kappa values as well as Baylor University. She is a first-rate scholar and also a committed Christian.”

Dr. Jennifer Good, associate professor of German and president of Phi Beta Kappa at Baylor, further explained Glendon’s current work as a professor of law.

“Mary Ann Glendon is highly regarded for her scholarly work. She is currently at Harvard Law School where she teaches on ethics, constitutional law and human rights, particularly in the international law arena,” Good said.

Glendon has also authored a number of books, including her forthcoming book from Oxford University Press, “The Forum and the Tower: Politicians and Philosophers in Conflict, Compromise, and Collaboration,” which will be the topic of her lecture.

Foley said students who attend the lecture will gain two things.

“They will definitely learn about the subject matter; Mary Ann Glendon is an excellent speaker. But they will also be able to see a first-rate thinker in action and that is always a privilege.”

Good also said this lecture is instrumental and will serve students as well as the Baylor community.

“I think this lecture presents a unique opportunity for the Baylor community to engage with artists, scholars and intellectuals critical to our time. The speakers are chosen for their ability to cross disciplines and find common and uncommon places in need of discussion,” Good said. “In this lecture particularly, Mary Ann Glendon will be speaking from a perspective of law and international service on how politics does and will matter — how we need to expect a great deal from our leaders — which means that we need to expect a great deal more from ourselves as we elect them.”

The Roy B. Albaugh Phi Beta Kappa Lectureship was endowed in the late 1970s by Mrs. Oma Buchanan Albaugh in memory of her late husband, a Waco business and civic leader from his move to Waco in 1920 until his death in 1964. The lectures have been held annually ever since.