MacLaurinCSF bridges church and university, bringing theological resources to the university and academic resources to the church.
The MacLaurin Institute was founded in 1982 by physicist-theologian William Monsma (Ph.D., Colorado, 1970) for the purpose of providing sustained Christian reflection on academic disciplines at the University of Minnesota. Convinced that Christianity and the Christian tradition possessed important and underutilized resources for intellectual life, Monsma began many of the projects that still characterize the Institute's work: small group study, visiting lectureships, and close working relationships between local pastors and professors. In 1996, educator Robert Osburn (Ph.D., Minnesota, 2005) was appointed the second director of the Institute. During his 15-year tenure, Osburn oversaw the growth of the Institute as a resource to the academy as well as the broader Twin Cities public. Over the past decades the Institute has sponsored hundreds of public lectures and several national conferences.
In 2009, the trustees of the Institute named Bryan Bademan the third director of the MacLaurin Institute. Dr. Bademan, a historian (Ph.D., Notre Dame, 2003) pursuing ordained ministry in the Presbyterian Church in America, is building on MacLaurin's strong legacy of bringing academic and ecclesiastical communities into sustained conversation. Under his direction, the Institute is now working to expand its network of partnering churches and clergy, to build enduring relationships with the University of Minnesota's colleges and departments, and to open a dialogue between church and university communities that will strengthen Christian thinking in this region.