2016 Lutheran Studies Conference
Douglas E. Oakman is Professor of Religion and the former Dean of Humanities at PLU. He is an internationally recognized expert in the economic and political context of the ancient Mediterranean world in which Jesus lived and the early Christian movement emerged. Among his many works are The Political Aims of Jesus: Peasant Politics in Herodian Galilee, Jesus and the Peasants, and, with K.C. Hanson, Palestine in the Time of Jesus: Social Structures and Social Conflicts. As a member of the PLU Honors faculty, he has created and taught The Quest for Global Justice.
David Deacon-Joyner is Professor and Director of Jazz Studies at PLU. A native of Memphis, Dr. Deacon-Joyner was mentored by jazz piano great James Williams. In addition to his expertise in ethnomusicology, he is also a gifted composer. He has served as a clinician at jazz festivals throughout the United States, and serves on the steering committee for The Seattle Jazz Experience. A scholar of jazz and popular music, his publications include contributions to The Cambridge History of American Music and the third edition of his history text, American Popular Music.
Kim Bond is a senior from Kelso, Washington, with majors in History and Anthropology. Nominated as one of university’s “Inspiring Women,” Kim has been active in the Gender Equity Center (formerly the Women’s Center).
Meghan Gould is a junior from Colorado Springs, Colorado, with a Mathematics Education/Global Studies double major and a concentration in Development and Social Justice. She is interested in education as a key contributor to community development and is currently collaborating on a mathematics curriculum that focuses on the intersection of math and social justice education. Meghan volunteers as the Classroom Volunteer Coordinator for Keithley Middle School in Parkland.
Theo Hofrennig is a senior from Northfield, Minnesota, with a major in Political Science. In addition to his advocacy work as an ASPLU senator with students of color, LGBTQ students, and students with disabilities, Mr. Hofrennig was appointed a Peace Scholar in 2016 and has studied at the Nansen Center for Peace and Dialogue in Lillehammer and the International Summer School in Oslo, Norway.
He has participated in the Washington Bus Fellowship, a program focused on politics, social justice, and community building.
Emily F. Davidson is an Assistant Professor of Hispanic Studies in the Department of Languages and Literatures at PLU. She specializes in contemporary Caribbean, Central American, and Latino/a Studies. As an undergraduate student at PLU in the nineties, Dr. Davidson was one of the founding members of Puentes, the first Latino/a student organization on campus. Her teaching and research interests include Spanish for heritage speakers, critical race and identity studies, and the relationship between literary study and political activism.
Kevin J. O’Brien is Associate Professor of Religion and Dean of Humanities at Pacific Lutheran University. His teaching and research focus on Christian environmental ethics, the intersection of religion and the environment, and the intersection of environmental concerns with social justice. He is the co-author of An Introduction to Christian Environmentalism, co-editor of Theological and Ethical Perspectives on Climate Engineering, and author of the forthcoming Witness of Resistance: Nonviolence and Climate Justice.
Samuel Torvend is Professor of Religion at PLU and currently serves as the University Chair in Lutheran Studies. As a historian of Christianity, his research focuses on the history of religious responses to poverty and food insecurity. Since 2012, he has served on the Radicalizing Reformation consortium whose scholars have published six volumes on gender, racial justice, anti-Judaism, nonviolence, conflict and torture, and neoliberal capitalism. Among his published works are Luther and the Hungry Poor: Gathered Fragments.
Angie Hambrick serves as the Assistant Vice President for Diversity, Justice, and Sustainability at PLU. She initiates, manages, and supports programs and services that enrich the university’s efforts to become a more diverse, socially just, and sustainable living, learning, and working community. In addition her work at PLU, Ms. Hambrick is pursuing a doctorate in Higher Education at Azusa Pacific University in southern California. Her research interests include the impact of social justice education on students, faculty, and staff.
Joanna Royce-Davis is the Vice President for Student Life at PLU. In addition to advanced studies in Student Affairs, Law, and Policy, and Counselor Education, Dr. Royce Davis holds the doctorate in Rehabilitation Counseling. Prior to her tenure at PLU, she enjoyed a fifteen-year career at the University of the Pacific (Stockton, California), where she served as Associate Professor in the Benerd School of Education, Associate Vice President for Student Life, and Dean of Students. At Pacific, she received the Martin Luther King, Jr., Opening Doors award.
Laree Winer is the Associate Director for Student Success at PLU. An alumna of the university with a degree in Religion, Ms. Winer is a member of the leadership team in the university’s Wild Hope Center for Vocation and leads the Center seminar on vocation for PLU staff. She is the leader of PLU’s nationally recognized Explore Retreat for first year students.
John Arthur Nunes is President of Concordia College in New York City, a school of the Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod. Prior to his appointment at Concordia, he served as the Jochum Chair in Christianity and Public Life at Valparaiso University. Before his appointment at Valparaiso, Dr. Nunes was the President and CEO of Lutheran World Relief where he led an international staff working in 17 countries. As a Lutheran pastor, he has served inner city parishes in Detroit and Dallas. His doctoral work at the Lutheran School of Theology in Chicago focused on post-colonial identity.