Skip to main content

David Brooks and Anne Snyder at Campus Ministry Lecture Series

June 12, 2024
photo of presenters
Leigh Ann Erickson, Brett Erickson (Geneva director), David Brooks, Anne Snyder

Geneva Campus Ministry, a Resonate Global Mission partner at the University of Iowa, has been hosting the Geneva Lecture Series since the 1970s as a way to explore the intersection of faith and work. They recently wrapped up their academic year, which brought to campus New York Times columnist and best-selling author David Brooks and author and editor-in-chief of Comment Magazine Anne Synder.

“The purpose of the lecture series is to provide a forum for exploring the intersection of faith and work as a means of Christian excellence and witness. We felt Anne Snyder and David Brooks would be a great fit for the lecture series, given the integration of their faith into their work, in addition to their national influence,” shared Brett Erickson, director of the campus ministry. 

Brooks and Snyder presented a joint lecture on “Renewal: Is It Possible?” based on their work—Brooks’s on his most recent book How to Know a Person, and Synder’s on an article she wrote for Comment Magazine titled, “Church, Where Are You?”

Both Brooks and Snyder focused on the idea of humanity and how knowing people well can be a catalyst for renewal in the world. While Snyder looked at humanity and renewal from a “big-picture,” community-wide perspective, Brooks looked at the details of person-to-person relationships and how each individual can improve on their social interactions.

About 100 students, faculty, staff, and members of the wider community typically attend a Geneva lecture throughout the academic year. More than 400 people showed up for the Brooks and Snyder session. 

Michael Dailey, a biology professor at the University of Iowa and a Geneva board member, has attended many of the lectures throughout the years. He said that he walked away from Snyder and Brooks’ joint session with “very practical steps to promoting quality relationships and understanding, especially in contexts where there are fundamental differences in perspective.”

Some of those steps included being an “illuminator” and not a “diminisher”; leading in relationships with respect, trust, and curiosity; and fostering deeper relationships by asking good questions.

To help promote further conversation, Geneva also pairs many of the lectures with book readings or discussion groups.

“There have been many memorable Geneva lectures I have had the opportunity to attend over the years,” said Dailey. “It’s been great to read and discuss a book written by a prominent author, theologian, philosopher, thinker, artist, or scientist, and then hear them speak in person and sometimes meet them over lunch or dinner.”

The Geneva Lecture Series is one example that demonstrates why Resonate partner campus ministries like this are so important on university campuses—these ministries help students and faculty explore how to live out their faith in their work and studies.

“Having a campus ministry like Geneva host these lectures, rather than a college, school, or department, allows speakers to freely share the role their Christian worldview plays in the work they do,” added Dailey. “We’ve seen believers encouraged, skeptics engaged, and nominals reengaged.”

The lecture series welcomed several other inspiring speakers this year, including author and historian Molly Worthen; author Drew Bratcher; and singer, songwriter, and composer Jon Guerra. The lectures are made possible with the help of on-campus departments and local churches.

“Our ministries participate in campus life on all levels and seek its flourishing,” added Brian Bork, Resonate’s campus ministry leader.

“Bringing in renowned speakers through the Geneva Lecture Series enriches the campus broadly, and it offers great opportunities to collaborate and establish credibility with academic departments and other on-campus organizations. And, of course, it's an excellent way of demonstrating the depth and riches of the Christian story to a large audience.”

A recording of the Geneva Lecture Series featuring David Brooks and Anne Snyder is available on