The Marshall T. Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy is named for Dr. Marshall T. Steel, Distinguished Alumnus and President of the College from 1958 to 1969. The Steel Center was made possible by a bequest from Mrs. Ruth Veasey of Dermott, Arkansas. The purpose of the Steel Center is the enhancement of the College's academic study of the fields of religion and philosophy. Among its functions, the Steel Center sponsors conferences which include students, faculty, and off-campus visitors. Dr. James Dow, Associate Professor of Philosophy, serves as director. The Purpose of the Steel Center is to promote the study of religion and philosophy on and beyond the Hendrix campus. In so doing, it is to identify, clarify, and contribute to the emerging religious and philosophical issues of our time. Areas of emphasis include (1) deep questions and perennial conversations in the liberal arts; (2) the academic study of religion and philosophy; and (3) interdisciplinary thinking about the big questions across the disciplines.
The Steel Center Lectures provide an opportunity for students, faculty, and other interested persons in the region to hear a scholar of religious studies or philosophy address questions, debates, conversations, or discussions about contemporary theological and philosophical issues of our time. Conferences, workshops, and book groups provide an occasion for small groups to work intensely on specific questions or problems of interest. Such occasions offer faculty, students, and the public to engage in the academic study of religion and philosophy. The Steel Center sponsors academic conferences, interdisciplinary workshops, and book groups on religion and philosophy. Wednesday Afternoon Discussions provide an opportunity for people to come together and talk about deep questions, important conversations, difficult debates, and inspiring worldviews. Discussions are not limited to religion and philosophy. A wide variety of topics are discussed, including politics, art, social issues, and scientific questions. The discussions are held each Wednesday in Ellis Hall from 4 pm to 5 pm and are open to the public.