Faith and Justice Speaker Profiles

Shirley Hoogstra

Wed. chapel facilitator, and Workshop titled “How Can I Be a Bridge Builder?”

A visionary leader who is passionate about Christian higher education and the role it plays in the common good, Shirley V. Hoogstra became the seventh president of the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities in September 2014.

Having received a bachelor’s in education at Calvin College (Grand Rapids, MI) and a Juris Doctor, with honors, from the University of Connecticut School of Law, Hoogstra spent more than a decade practicing law as a partner at a firm that specialized in litigation in New Haven, Connecticut. She served as the president of the New Haven Country Bar Association and was a founding board member and officer of the Bridgeport Rescue Mission. She then returned to the world of Christian higher education and became Calvin’s vice president for student life in July 1999, a role she served in until she became president of the CCCU.

As CCCU president, Hoogstra has overseen the introduction of a variety of new, innovative initiatives, including an online course-sharing consortium, insurance consortium, accreditation steering council, and doctoral education council. She has focused on expanding diversity and inclusion on CCCU campuses and making education available, accessible, and affordable to all students. Hoogstra continues to be an advocate for increasing access to education for incarcerated individuals and supporting undocumented students as they seek to complete their education.

Hoogstra serves on the steering committee for the Washington Higher Ed Secretariat, is a leader for the Evangelical Immigration Table, and serves on the boards of the American Council on Education, the National Association of Evangelicals, and Trinity Forum. She received honorary doctorate degrees from Gordon College and Nyack College and was the recipient of the Nina Griggs Gunter Servant Leadership Award, the Lifetime Education Impact Award (National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference), and the Keepers of the American Dream Award (National Immigration Forum).

Eboo Patel

Wed. Chapel

 Eboo Patel is the Founder and President of Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a non-profit organization that is working to make interfaith cooperation a social norm in America. He is the author of four books and dozens of articles, has spoken on more than 150 campuses, and served on President Obama’s Inaugural Faith Council.

A key figure on issues of religious diversity and democracy, Eboo was named one of America’s Best Leaders by U.S. News & World Report in 2009. He is the author of Acts of Faith: The Story of an American Muslim, the Struggle for the Soul of a Generation; Sacred Ground: Pluralism, Prejudice, and the Promise of America; Interfaith Leadership: A Primer; and Out of Many Faiths: Religious Diversity and the American Promise. He also publishes a regular blog for Inside Higher Ed, called ‘Conversations on Diversity’.

Eboo holds a doctorate in the sociology of religion from Oxford University, where he studied on a Rhodes scholarship. He has been awarded the Louisville Grawemeyer Prize in Religion, the Guru Nanak Interfaith Prize, the El Hibri Peace Education Prize, the Council of Independent Colleges Academic Leadership Award, along with honorary degrees from 15 colleges.

Eboo lives in Chicago with his wife, Shehnaz, and two young sons. He is a die-hard fan of Notre Dame Football, Wilco, and really good coffee.


Christine Macmillan

“Private Convictions, Public Engagement”

 An inspiring and effective advocate of social justice for all, Commissioner Christine MacMillan has been a Salvation Army officer holding appointments in five countries: Canada and Bermuda, Australia, England, Papua New Guinea and USA. This included the role of denominational leader (territorial commander) for the Canada & Bermuda and Papua New Guinea territories.

Trained and accredited as a counselor, Christine has founded various centers and programs in the field of addictions, domestic violence and homelessness. As founding director of the Salvation Army International Social Justice Commission, Christine promotes research as a pivotal approach in addressing social issues with a participative input of those who experience the challenges of humanitarian inequities.

In July 2012, following retirement from The Salvation Army, Christine was selected by the World Evangelical Alliance (WEA) to serve as their Senior Advisor for Social Justice, where 600 million Christians join forces under the banner of impacting God’s so loved and unloved world.

While serving with the WEA as Associate Secretary General for Public Engagement Christine oversaw the work of the WEA United Nations teams in Geneva and New York inclusive of WEA networks in the fields of: Refugees, Climate Change, Humanitarian Advocacy, Peace & Reconciliation, Human Trafficking and Health and Healing. She continues with the WEA as a Senior Advisor – Social Justice while chairing their Global Task Force on Human Trafficking and representing the WEA at the United Nations.

The imprint of residing in 5 countries through her vocational career has exposed her to various cultures, values and faith perspectives while living out her ordination and calling. This has led to developed publications and co-authorship of: When Justice is the Measure and Faith, Life & Leadership. Sought after as an international speaker Christine addresses her audiences on various topics in the belief and hope that transformation is the inspiration of her personal faith in living with and for others.


Chris Stewart

“The Many Faces of Pluralism”

Chris Stewart is the Chief Grants Officer of the Templeton Religion Trust, one of three philanthropies founded by the late Sir John Templeton, and is responsible for the development and oversight of TRT’s grantmaking across the full spectrum of its funding priorities (templetonreligiontrust.org).  TRT is a sibling of the US-based John Templeton Foundation and the Templeton World Charity Foundation, with which it shares an office in Nassau, Bahamas.  Stewart started at TRT in 2013, after twenty years on the faculty of Houghton College.


Stephen Strand

“Learning to Listen Well: In Multi-Faith Contexts”

 Stephen Strand has worked at Houghton College Buffalo since 2014 with students of newcomer families from around the world, who represent diverse languages, cultures and religions.  He teaches “Major Religious Faiths,” which invites students to express autobiographical experiences, as they learn about and hear “insider” voices of Hinduism, Buddhism, Judaism, Christianity and Islam.  Also, as a spiritual care provider at Jericho Road Community Health Center, Steve listens to patients in patient-directed spiritual conversations, and often shares in prayer among people from diverse faith communities.

This seminar will encourage the role of “deep listening” in interfaith dialogue.


Lena Crouso

“Stories as Bridges – Diverse Intersections for Intercultural Belonging”

Rev. Dr. Lena Crouso is part of Southern Nazarene University community where she serves as the inaugural Vice President for Intercultural Learning and Engagement and Chief Diversity Officer. She is also a Professor of Intercultural Studies and Community Engagement, and an affiliate faculty member for the School of Theology and Ministry.  Lena is a “third culture kid”, a daughter of Indian Immigrants and spent some of her formative years in India and has continued to do collaborative community development in her beloved India. Her diverse identity and life journey have given Lena a heart and mind for the empowerment of all people through intercultural understanding and a desire to lead people in spiritual, emotional and social transformation and freedom. Her research and writing, rooted in theology and the biblical narrative, focus on intercultural relationship development, holistic pathways of community reconciliation, and domestic and international equity and justice.

Workshop Description:  Stories are windows and mirrors for the ways we understand our history, our identities and our humanity. This workshop, focuses on the art and science of story-telling and how to weave it into your institutional culture and practice in order to create intercultural belonging for all.


David Nekrutman

“A New Jewish-Christian Relational Paradigm”

From the Parting of Ways to a Covenantal Partnership, David Nekrutman will discuss how Orthodox Judaism can work with Christians without compromise on core theological doctrines.

David Nekrutman has served in the calling of Jewish-Christian relations for 19 years. Since 2008, he heads the first Orthodox Jewish institution to theologically and actively cooperate with Christians – Ohr Torah Stone’s Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation. He also founded Blessing Bethlehem, a CJCUC project that delivers weekly foodcare packages to Christian Arabs living in the birthplace of Christianity. He has BA in Forensic Psychology from John Jay College, a MSW from the University of Pennsylvania and a MA in Biblical Literature from Oral Roberts University with a thesis in the Hebraic Roots of the Holy Spirit.