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Chesterton House

A Center for Christian Studies at Cornell


Karl Johnson '89, PhD '11, Executive Director, received his bachelor's, master's, and doctoral degrees from Cornell University. Karl previously served as the Dan Tillemans Director of the Cornell Team and Leadership Center, a division of Cornell Outdoor Education. Karl was recognized as a 1999 Academy of Leisure Sciences Future Scholar and has received several writing awards, including the 2014 Literary Award of the Christian Society of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies. His interests include human relations with the natural landscape, from wilderness to urban environs. Read more/Publications.

Julie Johnson'90 is the Office Manager at Chesterton House. She is a graduate of Cornell University's College of Human Ecology where she studied Human Development and Family Studies. Her interests include reading, knitting, and all outdoor activities--especially cycling around the stunning Fingerlakes region.

John Nystrom '18, who serves as an RA at Chesterton House, is a junior animal science major in the college of agriculture and life science on the pre-vet track and is interested in the partnership of livestock and people. He comes from northwest Arkansas where his parents instilled his four siblings and him with a living and abiding love for learning, reading, and discussing. His favorite hobbies include bouldering, drinking tea, discussing major metaphysicalities, and reading any and every book by C. S. Lewis and G. K. Chesterton.

Billy Riley, Student Engagement Coordinator, is originally from south central PA. He received bachelor's degrees in philosophy and psychology from Washington & Jefferson College before joining the Coalition for Christian Outreach (CCO). He spends his free time watching good movies, running, playing basketball, and reading.

Nicole Riley, Student Engagement Coordinator, received a bachelor's degree in English Writing and English Literature from the University of Pittsburgh. She completed a year long fellowship at her alma matter with the Coalition of Christian Outreach (CCO) before joining staff full time. She is passionate about the intersection of global engagement and faith. She enjoys short stories, cryptograms, and watching people cook.

Chuck Tompkins serves as Chesterton House Spiritual Director. Formerly Pastor of Bethel Grove Bible Church in Ithaca for nearly 20 years, he has been doing ministry work at Cornell and Ithaca College since 2005. He also serves with several nonprofit organizations including Community Faith Partnership, the Franziska Racker Centers and the Ithaca College Protestant Community. He spends most of his time encouraging and coaching people in their spiritual development.  He leads a weekly Fusion Group which brings together leaders of various Christian campus organizations to pray and work together.  

Barb Westin is Director of Undergraduate Student Ministry and oversees the Sophia House, our residential living-learning center for women at Cornell. Originally from Michigan, she has a Bachelor's degree from the University of Michigan and a Master's of Guidance and Counseling from Eastern Michigan University. From 2006 to 2011 she served on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship at Cornell. Barb and her husband Steve have three children. She loves kayaking, baseball, and walking in the woods.