Office

PO Box 4405
Ithaca, NY 14852-4405

ATTENDEES ACROSS ALL EVENTS

791

Lecture Attendees in 2022-2023

7524

Meals Served in 2023-2024

355

Course Enrollments Since 2014

2237

Total Person-Hours of Public Reading Scripture

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.

learn more

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.

learn more

Courses

Too many students in college fail to integrate their intellectual growth with their religious faith. Explore your questions about the Christian tradition in Chesterton House’s Logos Seminar, designed to help students develop their minds for God in a sustainable way.

learn more

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…

learn more about our story

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 renovations over the next year. Interested in what we’ve done and what we hope to do? Check out our Building for the Future Campaign.

learn more about our plans for the future

Staff

Vivek Mathew

Executive Director
Read bio

Vivek Mathew

Executive Director

Dr. Vivek Mathew (B.S.E. Princeton, M.Div Princeton Seminary, B.Phil Oxford, MA/PhD Cornell ’19) was born and raised in Defiance, Ohio. From Ohio, he moved to New Jersey to study computer science at Princeton and then to New York City where he worked for eight years in quantitative finance at Morgan Stanley. While in New York he attended Redeemer Presbyterian Church (where he met his wife Jeanie), and eventually returned to Princeton for seminary training. Interests in historical theology and philosophy led him overseas to the UK to read the B.Phil in philosophy at Oxford University. Since 2013 he has been at Cornell,  completing his doctorate in 2019 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. As director of Chesterton House, he has been one of several leading second-generation directors within the study center movement. He teaches regularly on various topics on student religious life, philosophy, theology, and pastoral care. Beyond Cornell, he has spoken nationally on contemporary challenges for campus ministry to audiences at Princeton, Oxford, Cornell, Duke, University of Pennsylvania, University of Minnesota, and other venues, as well as many other church and parachurch organizations. He and Jeanie and their three children attend Bread of Life Anglican Church in Ithaca.

Marissa Koeller - Chesterton House - Communications Manager

Marissa Koeller

Senior Operations Manager
Read bio
Marissa Koeller - Chesterton House - Communications Manager

Marissa Koeller

Senior Operations Manager

Originally from Los Angeles, Marissa earned a BFA in Musical Theatre from the American Musical and Dramatic Academy before moving to New York City to work as a professional actor. In the height of the COVID-19 shutdowns, she expanded her knowledge in digital marketing through Columbia University’s Business School of Executive Education. She combined this with her experience in web/graphic design to start her own business in digital marketing. 

Marissa is passionate about creating spaces and communities where young Christians can embody their faith knowing they are not alone in this world. At Chesterton House, she manages the operations of our residential, events, and regular programming to facilitate these spaces of encounter, while also having a hand in the marketing and communications to share these opportunities with the campus. She is simultaneously pursuing a Master’s of Divinity at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary.

Ryan O'Dowd

Academic Director & Senior Chaplain
Read bio

Ryan O'Dowd

Academic Director & Senior Chaplain

Ryan O’Dowd began his support of Chesterton House in 2010 and now serves as Chesterton House Academic Director and assisting priest at Bread of Life Anglican Church in Ithaca, NY. He is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy (1994), Reformed Theological Seminary, and the University of Liverpool (PhD). Over the last 30 years, Ryan has balanced work as a pastor, an Active Duty and Reserve officer in the U.S. Air Force, and a scholar in a wide variety of academic settings. His doctoral research explored the relationship between biblical wisdom and law, and, over the last 15 years, he has examined these subjects alongside the study of moral theology and religious and secular ethics. He has also developed and taught several courses on work and vocation (calling). Ryan and his wife Amy have three grown children and live with their youngest daughter in Ithaca, NY. In his free time, Ryan loves to bake, read, cycle, run, and swim.

 

Select publications:

Books:

  • The Preacher’s Hebrew Commentary on Deuteronomy (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson) forthcoming
  • Proverbs, ESV Bible Expository Commentary (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022)
  • 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)

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

Lisa Cooper

Adjunct Chaplain
Read bio

Lisa Cooper

Adjunct Chaplain

Lisa Cooper serves as a part-time Adjunct Chaplain at Chesterton House, providing spiritual support for women in the community. She works as a senior copywriter at RevelationMedia, a media company focused on creating and distributing quality Christian content to the world for free. She also freelances for a variety of publications including data-reporting for Barna and writing academic articles for The Christian Research Journal. She has a passion for poetry; her poems have been published in a variety of literary magazines and online venues including The Book of Penteract, an anthology of formal and constrained poetry.

She is a graduate of Geneva College (B.A. English) and The American Lutheran Theological Seminary (M.A. Religion). Her published works range from practical to academic, from creative to data-driven, and from children’s content to current events—all kinds of topics and all kinds of tones—all to know Jesus better and to make Him known. She has volunteered and otherwise worked in ministry settings for over ten years including children’s ministry, college ministry, and women’s ministry. Her church home is Trinity Lutheran Church in Ithaca.

Lisa grew up in Connecticut, and still considers herself a New Englander, even though she has since lived in five other states. She now lives in Groton, NY with her husband Jordan and her two sons. She particularly enjoys baking, Russian literature, keeping houseplants alive, playing guitar, singing, and crocheting.

Hannah Eagleson

Director of Grad & Faculty Development
Read bio

Hannah Eagleson

Director of Grad & Faculty Development

Dr. Hannah Eagleson is Assistant Director of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship’s Emerging Scholars Network (ESN), where she supports over 4000 Christians to live out their vocation in higher education and beyond. She’s working toward a world where every Christian with an advanced degree is energized throughout their careers to think, teach, and engage missionally for the common good with the university, the church, and the world. To that end, ESN builds pathways and resources for Christian academics everywhere to find the relationships, ideas, and public voice they need in the early decades of their careers. Dr. Eagleson’s most recent book is Science and Faith: Student Questions Explored, from Hendrickson Publishers (2019). With Emerging Scholars Network, Dr. Eagleson also launched an ongoing online devotional for academics exploring their vocation, called Scholar’s Compass (https://blog.emergingscholars.org). She holds a PhD in Renaissance literature from the University of Delaware and an MA in liberal arts from St. John’s College in Annapolis, Maryland. She co-designed a series of study guides to works by J. R. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Dorothy L. Sayers for Classical Academic Press.

Genesis Li

Campus Engagement Coordinator
Read bio

Genesis Li

Campus Engagement Coordinator

Originally from China, Genesis moved to Northern California at the age of 14. After graduating from a Christian high school in California, Genesis went to Augustana College in Illinois and received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science. Her three-year work at World Relief (an Evangelical Christian nonprofit organization) as a Refugee Youth Mentor motivated her to pursue a master’s degree concentrating in nonprofit management. Genesis earned her Master of Public Administration degree from Cornell University in May, 2023.

At Chesterton House, Genesis leads campus-wide engagement and cooperation with student organizations and campus ministries, while also creating, maintaining, and reaching out to other campus ministries, churches, student organizations at Cornell and in the broader Ithaca community to create and foster collaborative mission work on campus. In her spare time, Genesis loves hiking, camping, kayaking, or just spending time with her friends in the nature. Genesis also plays the piano and Erhu, which is a traditional Chinese music instrument that can be dated around 2,500 years ago.

Stevie Lazenby

Office Manager
Read bio

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.

Mary Milbrath

Bookkeeper
Read bio

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.

Tom Atwood

Tom Atwood

Building Superintendent
Read bio
Tom Atwood

Tom Atwood

Building Superintendent

Thomas grew up in the Finger Lakes region often taking trips to Ithaca with his family, first introduced to Cornell through a Corning Incorporated summer science program tour of the synchrotron. Years later he attended Chesterton House lectures on Cornell’s campus and worked with the organization’s founder Karl Johnson to help the organization establish its residential facilities. He has had the great pleasure of watching God’s blessing on the Chesterton House ministry since 2014.

Katlyn Wilhoit: Executive Assistant and Development Coordinator

Katlyn Wilhoit

Executive Assistant and Development Coordinator
Read bio
Katlyn Wilhoit: Executive Assistant and Development Coordinator

Katlyn Wilhoit

Executive Assistant and Development Coordinator

Katlyn Wilhoit graduated from Liberty University with a degree in Special Education and Elementary Education. Both during and after graduating, Katlyn worked alongside numerous nonprofit organizations, including campus ministries and churches, in several different administrative and leadership roles. She is currently a stay at home, homeschool, mother of three children.

Whitney Antley

Whitney Antley

Residential Administrator
Read bio
Whitney Antley

Whitney Antley

Residential Administrator

Whitney Antley is a midwestern girl, a huge Ohio State buckeye fan who has lived in that great state most of her life. She graduated from Lee University in Tennessee with a degree in Elementary Education and a minor in Religion. She went on to teach in various school settings: public, private, online and now currently, homeschool. Whitney has served beside her husband in church ministry for the last 11 years and has always enjoyed being involved in the local church. In her free time, Whitney likes to knock off bucket lists goals; the most recent was running a half-marathon and marathon. She is currently enjoying life as a stay at home mom/homeschool teacher to her 3 daughters. One of Whitney’s biggest desires and goals in life is to be an encouragement to others, to walk with people in their struggles and to point them to Christ, always.

Lauren Fitch

Fellow
Read bio

Lauren Fitch

Fellow

Lauren received her B.A. in History and Sociology at Spring Arbor University. In 2021, just after beginning her senior year of college, Lauren made the decision to take a gap year and join the AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) Program. She worked full-time in development and communications, all with the goal of improving the lives of foster and adoptive children and families at the Central Missouri Foster Care and Adoption Association (CMFCAA). Her interest in nonprofit administration paired with a desire for intentional Christian community is what led her to Chesterton House. In her free time, Lauren enjoys cooking, traveling to new places and reading historical fiction.

Hannah Hoffman

Read bio

Hannah Hoffman

Hannah holds a Bachelors of Arts in Archaeology and Near Eastern Studies from Cornell University. Hannah has worked on several archaeological excavations in Israel and Turkey for the past eight years, most recently returning from an excavation at Sardis, known among other things for being one of the seven churches named in the Book of Revelations. In her time at Cornell she was very involved with undergraduate research and curatorial work at the Johnson Museum of Art, where she studied both a variety of ancient objects and also a large number of prints by Rembrandt van Rijn. She has a deep interest in art, historical, textual, and archaeological research that has greatly shaped her engagement with classical and Biblical texts and the historic Christian tradition.

Hannah has been actively involved with the Chesterton House ministry since 2019. She has been engaged in the community in a variety of ways ranging from attending lectures as a non-resident to serving as a Head of Household for the 111 women’s residence. She’s very excited to serve the community as a fellow this year as she applies to graduate school in the fall. In her free time, she loves making birthday cakes and fresh donuts for her friends and her husband, Micah.

Micah Hoffman

Fellow
Read bio

Micah Hoffman

Fellow

Micah graduated from Cornell University in 2023 with a Bachelors of Science in Biology and with minors in psychology and English. During his undergraduate years, Micah participated in Chesterton House activities and lived in the house for two years. On campus, he worked in multiple psychology labs and developed a deep interest in human flourishing from a psychological perspective. He also competed on the men’s varsity wrestling team at Cornell, and enjoys reading and watching movies in his free time. While interning at Chesterton House this year, Micah plans on applying to graduate school for psychology.

 

Learn About Our Founder

Adjunct Faculty

Elaine Phillips

Professor and Harold John Ockenga Chair of Biblical Studies
Read bio

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.

Board & Advisors

see all

See how you can get involved and utilize your time, talents and resources.

Students

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

learn more

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.

Keep Reading

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.

Keep Reading

Partnerships

Chesterton House is a registered affiliate of Cornell United Religious Work and a registered student organization of Cornell University.

Annual Report 2021-2022