The Home School Court Report
No. 6

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by David Halbrook
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Dr. Marvin Olasky New Distinguished Chair of Journalism

Patrick Henry College is delighted to announce the appointment of Dr. Marvin Olasky, editor-in-chief of WORLD Magazine, as professor of journalism and the inaugural holder of the college’s new distinguished chair in journalism and public policy.

PHC/Art Cox
Stepping into his new role as chair of journalism and public policy, Dr. Marvin Olasky is providing instruction to students through classes, workshops, and other events.

A well-known conservative scholar, cultural commentator, and author of more than 20 books, Dr. Olasky began his duties at PHC during the fall 2011 semester. His wife, Susan Olasky, will serve as assistant professor of public policy. They will continue to live in Asheville, North Carolina, but will regularly be on the PHC campus.

Dr. Olasky has authored many books and articles for major U.S. publications on topics including journalism and media, history, public policy, the sanctity of human life, and Christianity’s intersection with culture. His books include The Religions Next Door, Standing for Christ in a Modern Babylon, The American Leadership Tradition, Fighting for Liberty and Virtue, The Press and Abortion, Prodigal Press, and Echoes of Eden. His more than 2,500 articles and op-ed columns have appeared in publications ranging from WORLD and the New York Times to the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post.

Two books in particular, The Tragedy of American Compassion and Compassionate Conservatism, played important roles in the struggle for welfare reform and nongovernmental concern for the poor in the 1990s. President George W. Bush called Dr. Olasky “compassionate conservatism’s leading thinker.” Olasky’s journalistic writings and research have emphasized the Christian origins of freedom of the press and investigative reporting. His 1996 book Telling the Truth argued that “biblical objectivity” is a more accurate lens through which to achieve truth in reporting than the conventional secularist approach to journalistic objectivity.

Dr. Olasky received his BA in American studies from Yale University, an MA in American culture from the University of Michigan, and a PhD in American culture from the University of Michigan. He became a speechwriter and program coordinator at the DuPont Company in 1978 and joined the University of Texas at Austin in 1983. He served there as professor of journalism until 2007, teaching courses on journalism history, journalism and religion, sports writing, and column writing.

PHC/Art Cox
During PHC’s World Magazine Week, Dr. Olasky hosted a series of interviews with respected conservative leaders, including U.S. Senator Jim DeMint on September 19, 2011.

Dr. Olasky was a visiting professor at Princeton in 2004–05 and served as provost of The King’s College in New York City from 2007 through January 2011. He has chaired the boards of a Christian school and a crisis pregnancy center and also been a newspaper reporter, foster parent, PTA president, cross-country bicycle rider, and Little League assistant coach.

Susan Olasky received her BA from the University of Michigan and an MA in urban affairs from the University of Delaware. She founded the Austin Crisis Pregnancy Center and later chaired CareNet, the umbrella organization for 1,000 pregnancy resource centers. She is the author of eight historical novels for children, and as a senior writer at WORLD, she reviews books and writes lifestyle articles.

“It is a great privilege for Patrick Henry College to welcome Marvin Olasky as a distinguished member of our faculty,” said PHC President Graham Walker. “He is an accomplished journalist, scholar, and academic leader. He has been an advisor to governmental leaders and has built WORLD Magazine into a highly respected journal of news and analysis. All of Marvin’s accomplishments have been built on the foundation of his love for Christ and his commitment to the Bible as the inerrant word of God. These commitments are what make his analysis of public policy issues so potent. Susan Olasky shares these commitments and will make a strategic faculty contribution as well.”

Olasky said, “Patrick Henry is a great evangelical college with a firm commitment to glorifying God. Our PHC work fits perfectly with our WORLD work: Susan and I look forward to teaching students how to think through and write articles and book reviews suitable for national publication. We hope our efforts will supplement the instruction that PHC’s excellent faculty provides.’

This article appeared on the PHC website on August 22, 2011. David Halbrook is Patrick Henry College’s director of communications.