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The Eugene M. Burke, C.S.P. Lectureship on Religion and Society


The Eugene M. Burke Lectureship on Religion and Society sponsors public lectures in which scholars, theologians, informed and experienced members of the lay community, and religious practitioners from all faiths address critical issues on the relationship between religion and society and on the religious dimensions of being human.

Since its inception in 1985, the Burke Lectureship has hosted more than 75 lectures at UC San Diego.

Lectures are free of charge and open to all.


Upcoming Lectures

In accordance with Gov. Gavin Newsom’s stay-at-home executive order issued March 19, 2020, all on-campus events and gatherings with a capacity of over 10 people, are required to be cancelled, postponed or moved to a remote platform, until further notice.

About Eugene M. Burke, C.S.P.


burke-eugene-burke-(3).jpgEugene M. Burke was born in Los Angeles in 1911 and was ordained a Paulist priest in 1938. He earned his doctorate from the Catholic University of America in 1941 and served a distinguished 35-year career as a member of its faculty, the faculty of Trinity College, and as visiting faculty at Columbia and Princeton. He was known for promoting quality teaching, teaching as a profession and teaching programs for the laity. He was appointed to the Catholic Commission for Intellectual and Theological Development in 1947.

Father Burke organized what is now known as the College Theology Society and the U.S. Catholic Theological Society, serving a first president of both. He was Associate Editor of the American Ecclesiastic Review for eleven years. The recipient of many honorary degrees and tributes, he was awarded both the Cardinal Spellman Medal and the equally prestigious Gibbons Medal for his distinguished work in theology.

Ecumenism became a focus for him in the 1950s and he participated in the National Catholic Bishops Committee on Ecumenical Affairs which led to the Presbyterian-Catholic Dialog in 1970. All seminaries in the Washington, D. C. area were ecumenically united in 1970 when Father Burke founded the Washington Theological Consortium and served as its first president.

At UCSD Father Burke initiated a series of dialogs between the Catholic and Lutheran communities which resulted in a formal, covenanted Catholic-Lutheran community. Early on, he was interested in women's rights and human rights and worked as the American Bishops' advisor to the UN Human Rights Commission, helping to draft the UN's Declaration of Human Rights.

Gene Burke was a warm, compassionate man, invariably open and approachable, and deeply interested in each individual. Those who sought him out came away refreshed, enriched and full of hope. He was a gifted teacher, a teacher's teacher, and his legacy continues in the minds and spirits of the countless teachers, scholars, theologians, historians and others who were his students.

Lectureship Origin


The Burke Lectureship, an endowed lecture series at the University of California San Diego, honors the memory of Eugene M. Burke CSP. After his retirement from Catholic University in 1976, he was closely associated with UCSD as a member of the Paulist ministry to students and as a member of the UCSD Catholic Community. The concept of a permanent lectureship originated in a series of discussions among some of Father Burke's friends seeking a way to honor him on his forty-fifth anniversary as a Paulist. Before his death in 1984, he joined with members of the Catholic, Episcopal and Lutheran communities to outline the structure and scope of the Lectureship. The UCSD faculty and administration helped to shape its organization. An endowment, largely raised from hundreds of small donations (which the Lectureship continues to seek), was created and is managed by the UCSD Foundation. The endowment generates the funds necessary to bring prominent speakers from around the world to the UCSD campus; there have been more than 75 lectures since the series began in 1985. 

Past Lectures


View programs with distinguished scholars and theologians as they explore the function and responsibility of religion in modern society, and its role in forming social and moral values. More past lectures can be found here.

Give to the Burke Lectureship


Please help us build the endowment for the future of the Burke Lectureship Series!

Checks should be made payable to the “UC San Diego Foundation” with the fund number noted as 1146, Eugene Burke Quasi-Endowment and could be mailed directly to:
UC San Diego Gift Processing
9500 Gilman Drive #0940
La Jolla, CA 92093-0940
Gifts can be made online or over the phone, please see details here: