Background. Jellema was the first philosophy professor at Calvin College and the mentor of many of Calvin’s most distinguished graduates in philosophy and in other fields. He joined the college faculty in 1921, the year it became a four-year college, as one of the six faculty members. He continued to teach at Calvin, with a brief sojourn at Indiana University, for nearly half a century, and his growing commitment to Christian philosophy and to the Kuyperian tradition of Christian culture witness shaped not only the minds of generations of students but the very identity of the college during the period when it grew from a small and insular denominational enclave into a fertile seedbed of Christian teaching and scholarship.
Purpose. To honor the memory of William Harry Jellema and to promote Christian philosophy. In establishing this chair the college embraces a goal dear to the heart of William Harry Jellema: the advancement of Christian philosophy. We intend this category to be inclusive and not exclusive: “Christian philosophy” encompasses philosophical reflection from a Christian standpoint on any of the major areas of philosophy, including, but not limited to, positive and negative apologetics; philosophical theology; issues of metaphysics and epistemology in relation to Christian faith; and Christian theories of culture, politics and morality. Thoughtful and creative engagement with the relationship between Christian beliefs and values and issues in philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, and philosophical anthropology are also included. It is expected that the holder of this chair will manifest in both teaching and scholarship a deep interest in the ways in which Christian belief informs and directs philosophical reflection and in the light that is shed by the Gospel upon questions of philosophical discussion.