Saint Leo University is pleased to announce that Marc A. Pugliese, PhD, associate professor of theology and religion, is one of only 25 scholars selected from a competitive national pool of nominees to take part in a faculty seminar this summer on the teaching of interfaith understanding. Pugliese and the other seminar participants will convene at DePaul University in Chicago from June 16 through June 20. 

These college faculty members will be broadening their own knowledge and considering the development of new courses and college-level resources that will help elevate the teaching of interfaith understanding. The larger goal is to equip students for interfaith engagement and leadership opportunities during their college careers and beyond. The cause has gathered high-level support in our pluralistic society.

The two leaders of the 2019 Seminar on Teaching Interfaith Understanding are nationally recognized. They are Laurie Patton, president of Middlebury College (VT) and former dean of Trinity College of Arts and Sciences and the Robert F. Durden Professor of Religion at Duke University (NC); and Eboo Patel, author, founder and president of the Interfaith Youth Core (IFYC), a Chicago-based organization building the interfaith movement on college campuses. The seminar is offered by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) and Interfaith Youth Core with financial support from the Henry Luce Foundation.

"Interfaith dialog, although challenging, is essential for students who will live and work in an increasingly diverse nation. Democratic participation is strengthened by mutual understanding among the many faith traditions shaping America today,'' said CIC President Richard Ekman. "The faculty members who will participate in this seminar are up to that challenge," Ekman added. "Their qualifications and achievements are most impressive."

"Saint Leo is gratified that Dr. Pugliese will have this extended time to hear from the seminar leaders and exchange ideas with other scholars in this very important discipline. He is not only a serious and compassionate scholar, he is well-respected as a teacher by our graduate and undergraduate students," said Mary T. Spoto, PhD, vice president of Academic Affairs at Saint Leo. "Dr. Pugliese also contributes directly to the cause of religious understanding through projects that are based at Saint Leo, and that specifically reach members of the general public, so we were happy to support his nomination."

Pugliese, a Catholic theologian, works for Saint Leo in Virginia and teaches several courses in Christianity at the master's level in a program sought out by (but not exclusive to) several Catholic dioceses for its future Catholic deacons. He is also one of the faculty members who teaches an undergraduate course in world religions that is highly subscribed among the university's extensive base on online students, many of whom are adults. In his scholarship in the field of comparative theology, Pugliese enjoys investigating ways Christian theology can learn from other faiths, with a focus on one of the schools of Hinduism. He is the co-editor of a textbook called Teaching Interreligious Encounters and published in 2017 by Oxford University Press.

In another project, Pugliese works with the Saint Leo University Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, which produces programming of interest to the general public as well as instructional support for some university courses. Pugliese also provides faculty guidance for the Saint Leo University Polling Institute (, which consistently asks Americans their views on the Catholic Church and Pope Francis. The theologian interprets survey results in the context of Church teaching or current events, and his comments have been published in numerous media outlets.

Saint Leo's Department of Philosophy, Theology, and Religion at Saint Leo is part of the College of Arts and Sciences.

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For more information on the seminar at DePaul University, visit