734

Lecture Attendances in 2018

3,255

Meals Served in 2018

115

Course Enrollments Since 2014

What We Do

Events

Every semester, we bring highly sought after speakers who are at the top of their fields to Cornell to speak about their work and the role that their faith plays in it. Click to find out what lectures and other events are coming up.

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Residences

Chesterton House's living-learning community is made up of three beautiful residences and offers male and female students the opportunity to live in intentional Christian community at Cornell. Click to learn more or apply.

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Courses

Our 8 accredited courses in biblical, theological, cultural, and ethical studies allow Cornell students the chance to earn credit through Gordon College. Click to find out what courses we are offering this semester.

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The rationale behind our mission.

Our Past

Upon graduating from Cornell in 1989, Karl, along with graduate student Ray Zimmerman and a few others, began a small ‘intentional Christian community’ at 201 Stewart Ave. The community was characterized by daily prayer, community meals, and ‘living simply.’ This was not the first such community at Cornell…

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Our Future

We recently purchased the house next door to the men’s facility to be the new women’s residence and built a beautiful patio between the houses to create a unified living-learning campus. We look forward to completing necessary renovations for both houses over the next year and celebrating with a dedication weekend on October 4-5, 2019! Interested in what else we have in store? Check out our Building for the Future Campaign.

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Staff

Karl Johnson

Executive Director
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Karl Johnson

Executive Director

Karl Johnson 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.

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Vivek Mathew

Assistant Director
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Vivek Mathew

Assistant Director

Vivek Mathew is a sixth-year doctoral candidate in Cornell’s philosophy department working at the intersection of metaphysics, philosophy of religion, philosophy of language, cognitive science, and history of philosophy. He was one of five nationwide fellowship recipients for cross-training grants given by the Society of Christian Philosophers and the Templeton Foundation. Prior to Cornell, Vivek studied computer science at Princeton University, worked eight years in quantitative finance at Morgan Stanley in New York City, did his M.Div at Princeton Theological Seminary, and read the B.Phil in philosophy at Oxford University. Vivek and his wife Jeanie live in Ithaca with their three children.

Nicole Riley

Special Project Manager
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Nicole Riley

Special Project Manager

Nicole Riley studied English Writing and English Literature at the University of Pittsburgh before joining the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach). She is now serving full-time at Cornell University in partnership with Chesterton House. She is passionate about the intersection of global engagement and faith. She enjoys short stories, cryptograms, and watching people cook.

Billy Riley

Program Manager
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Billy Riley

Program Manager

Billy Riley 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), now partnered with Chesterton House. He spends his free time watching good movies, running, playing basketball, and reading.

Bailey Trimmell

Student Engagement Coordinator
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Bailey Trimmell

Student Engagement Coordinator

Bailey Trimmell is originally from Texas where she graduated from West Texas A&M University with a degree in social work. She joined the CCO (Coalition for Christian Outreach) while living in Memphis, TN and is now serving full-time at Cornell University in partnership with Chesterton House. She appreciates experiencing new foods, long walks, reading, thrifting, DIY projects, and playing sports.

Stevie Lazenby

Office Manager
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Stevie Lazenby

Office Manager

Stevie Lazenby graduated from The Ohio State University with a degree in Social Work and worked with special needs populations until departing the workforce to start a family. In addition to raising a family, she has filled her time participating in various volunteer activities. She also enjoys baking, paper crafting, hiking, running, biking, and gardening.

Karlee Lillywhite

Design & Communications Manager
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Karlee Lillywhite

Design & Communications Manager

Karlee Lillywhite graduated from the University of California Berkeley with an English degree and now does graphic design, drawing and painting for a living in addition to teaching art lessons and working for Chesterton House. Her favorite things include dessert, fall on the east coast and historical fiction.

Mary Milbrath

Bookkeeper
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Mary Milbrath

Bookkeeper

Mary Milbrath graduated from Minnesota State University-Moorhead with a bachelor’s degree in Accounting. She passed the CPA exam upon graduation and worked in banking and public accounting before serving as the Director of Finance and Operations of the Fargodome. Mary has spent the last 18 years raising and homeschooling her four children, continuing her work in accounting, and volunteering.

James Pothen

Facilities Coordinator
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James Pothen

Facilities Coordinator

James Pothen received his bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Cornell University in 2010. James previously worked as a Software Engineer for The New York Times, working on NYT Cooking, the NYT Android app, and the Times’ homepage. He has been involved with Chesterton House since 2006; as an undergraduate, alumnus, and even as a staff member during the 2011-2012 academic year. James won a New York Times Publisher’s Award in 2014 as part of the NYT Cooking team for innovation and initiative. He published an obituary for Julia Sand in 2018 as part of The Times’ “Overlooked” series. His interests include diversity & inclusion, comics, photography, and cycling.

Adjunct Faculty

Ryan O'Dowd

Chesterton House Senior Fellow
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Ryan O'Dowd

Chesterton House Senior Fellow

Ryan O’Dowd serves as Chesterton House Senior Fellow and is the founding rector of Bread of Life Anglican Church in Ithaca, NY. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy, Reformed Theological Seminary, and the University of Liverpool (PhD 2005). His teaching and research interests include Old Testament law, wisdom literature, and poetry, as well as Christian ethics. He has a particular interest in the way cultures throughout history have understood the nature and purpose of work and vocation (calling). He also holds the rank of Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Air Force Reserve with almost 30 years of combined service, both Active Duty and Reserve. Ryan and his wife Amy live in Ithaca and have four children.

Select publications:

Articles and chapters:

  • “Pain and Danger: Unpleasant Sayings and the Structure of Proverbs,”Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 80 (2018) 619–35
  • “Aesthetic Shaping of Agur’s Oracle in Proverbs 30:1–9,”Inner Biblical Allusion in the Poetry of Psalms and Wisdom, eds. Mark Boda, Kevin Chau, Beth Tanner, Society of Biblical Literature (Atlanta: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2018) 103–119
  • “A Prophet in the Sage’s House? Origins of the Feminine Metaphors in Proverbs,”Riddles and Revelations: Explorations into the Relationship between Wisdom and Prophecy in the Hebrew Bible, eds. Mark Boda, Russell Meek, William R. Osborne (LHBOTS; London: Bloomsbury/T&T Clark: 2018) 165–79
  • “Wisdom and Poetry,”The Old Testament: A Christian Companion, ed. Hywel Clifford (Norwich: SCM Press, 2016) 101–129
  • “Epistemology in Ecclesiastes: Remembering What It Means to Be Human,”The Words of the Wise are Like Goads: Engaging Qohelet in the 21st Century, eds. Mark Boda, Tremper Longman III, and Cristian Rata (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2013) 197–219

Books:

  • Proverbs, Story of God Biblical Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017)
  • Old Testament Wisdom Literature: A Theological Introduction, with Craig Bartholomew (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Academic Press, 2011)
  • The Wisdom of Torah: Epistemology in Deuteronomy and the Wisdom Literature, FRLANT (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2009)

Elaine Phillips

Professor and Harold John Ockenga Chair of Biblical Studies
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Elaine Phillips

Professor and Harold John Ockenga Chair of Biblical Studies

After receiving her undergraduate degree in social psychology from Cornell University and the Master of Divinity degree from Biblical Theological Seminary, Elaine Phillips, along with her husband, Perry, studied and taught for three years in Israel. Upon their return, they taught at a small Christian junior college outside of Philadelphia from 1979-1992 and Elaine earned her Ph.D. in rabbinic literature from The Dropsie College for Hebrew and Cognate Learning in Philadelphia. She has taught biblical studies at Gordon College since 1993 where she serves as the Harold John Ockenga Chair of Biblical Studies. She and Perry have continued to take Gordon students back to Jerusalem University College, where they serve as adjunct faculty for the three-week summer study program in historical geography. In addition to field study in Israel, her areas of interest and scholarly writing include the books of Exodus and Esther, biblical wisdom literature, and rabbinic texts. Her book-length commentary on Esther is included in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, edited by Tremper Longman III and David Garland. In 2014, her devotional, With God, Nothing is Impossible, was published by Deep River Books. Her latest book, An Introduction to Reading Biblical Wisdom Texts was published by Hendrickson Publishing in August 2017. She has received both the Junior and Senior Distinguished Faculty Awards and at the commencement ceremonies in May 2014 was granted the inaugural Distinguished Professor award. She also enjoys music, hiking and all things related to summers in northwestern Ontario.

Jim Thomforde

Gordon College Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies
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Jim Thomforde

Gordon College Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies

Jim Thomforde serves Chesterton House as a Gordon College Adjunct Professor of Biblical Studies.  After six years in the role of ministry director for Christian Union at Cornell, Jim returned to a finance career with a leading financial firm in Ithaca, NY.  He continues to be involved in campus ministry at Cornell as a speaker and mentor, and as team chaplain for the Cornell football team.  His education includes a B.A. in economics from Trinity College, Master’s degrees in theology and church history from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and a PhD in historical theology from the University of Edinburgh.  In addition to his teaching and ministry experience, he has played professional baseball for the New York Yankees and spent ten years on Wall Street in institutional equities.  Jim and his wife Liz live in Ithaca and have two children, JT and Ella.

Board & Advisors

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Students

In addition to residence facilities, courses and lectures, Chesterton House offers pre-orientation programs for incoming students. Find links to resources for students below.

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About Cornell University

About Cornell

Cornell University is one of the most prestigious institutions of higher education in the world. Founded in 1865, Cornell is a member of the Ivy League, and the land grant institution for New York State. It consists of thirteen colleges, including both privately endowed and state-assisted colleges. Professional schools include management, law, medicine, and veterinary medicine.

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About GK Chesterton

About GK Chesterton

Gilbert Keith Chesterton (1874-1936) was one of the most brilliant and prolific writers of all time. This British journalist’s 100 books, 200 short stories, and over 4000 newspaper essays include history, philosophy, theology, economics, social commentary, and literary criticism. His best known works include Orthodoxy, The Man Who Was Thursday, and the beloved Father Brown detective stories.

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Partnerships

Annual Report 2018