Joseph M. Bessette, Director of the Center and Member of the Board of Directors
Professor Bessette is the Alice Tweed Tuohy Professor of Government and Ethics at Claremont McKenna College, where he has been teaching since 1990. His undergraduate degree is in physics from Boston College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. are in political science from the University of Chicago (where he also spent a year studying the history of science). He is an expert on the American founding, political deliberation, the constitutional powers of the presidency, and criminal justice (especially the death penalty). Before coming to CMC, he was Deputy Director and then Acting Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics in the U.S. Department of Justice (1985-1990) and Director of Planning, Training, and Management in the Cook County, IL, State’s Attorney’s Office (1981-1984). Prior to this he taught full-time at the University of Virginia and The Catholic University of America. He is the coauthor with Edward Feser of By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment (Ignatius Press, 2017).
Stephen Davis, Senior Scholar and Member of the Board of Directors
With degrees from Whitworth University (BA), Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div), and Claremont Graduate University (Ph.D. in philosophy), Professor Davis has taught at the University of California at Riverside and at Claremont McKenna College, where he recently retired as the Russell K. Pitzer Professor of Philosophy. He is an expert in the philosophy of religion and Christian thought. In the philosophy of religion, he has written on such topics as the existence of God, the nature of God, the nature and justification of religious faith, the problem of evil, and the possibility of survival of death. In Christian thought, he has written on such topics as the resurrection, incarnation, Trinity, and redemption. He is the author and/or editor of fifteen books and some seventy academic essays. His most recent books are After We Die: Theology, Philosophy, and the Question of Life after Death (Baylor University Press, 2015) and Rational Faith: A Philosopher’s Defense of Christianity (Veritas Books, 2016).
Edward Feser, Senior Scholar
Professor Feser is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Pasadena City College and formerly a Visiting Assistant Professor at Loyola Marymount University and a Visiting Scholar at the Social Philosophy and Policy Center at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of California at Santa Barbara, an M.A. in religion from the Claremont Graduate School, and a B.A. in philosophy and religious studies from the California State University at Fullerton. His academic research areas are in philosophy of religion, moral and political philosophy, philosophy of mind, and general metaphysics. He is the author of eight books, including By Man Shall His Blood Be Shed: A Catholic Defense of Capital Punishment (Ignatius Press, 2017), with Joseph Bessette, and, most recently, Five Proofs of the Existence of God (Ignatius Press, 2017). He maintains a popular philosophy blog (edwardfeser.blogspot.com) and has written on politics, culture, and religion for publications like City Journal, the Claremont Review of Books, First Things, National Review, and Public Discourse.
Kenneth P. Miller, Senior Scholar
Associate Professor Miller joined Claremont McKenna College’s Government Department in 2003. He received a bachelor degree in Government from Pomona College, a law degree from Harvard, and a Ph.D. in political science from U. C. Berkeley. Miller’s research has focused on the intersection of law and politics. His book Direct Democracy and the Courts (Cambridge University Press, 2009), is considered the leading authority on the relationship between citizen-enacted laws and judicial review. His co-edited book, The New Political Geography of California (Berkeley Public Policy Press, 2008), explores, among other topics, the ways that cultural and religious differences are dividing the state politically. In 2011-12, he was the Ann and Herbert W. Vaughan Visiting Fellow at the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. Miller is a member of the board of the Veritas Forum. He has offered political analysis in various media outlets, including BBC World Service Radio, NPR, Financial Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The San Francisco Chronicle.
Mary Poplin, Senior Scholar and Member of the Board of Directors
Professor Poplin earned her Ph.D. from the University of Texas and is a professor in the School of Educational Studies at Claremont Graduate University. Her work spans K12 to higher education. She began her career as a public school teacher and conducts research on highly effective teachers in poor urban schools. In 1996, Professor Poplin worked for two months with Mother Teresa and the Missionaries of Charity in Calcutta to understand why Mother Teresa had described their work as “religious work and not social work.” Her book on this experience, Finding Calcutta, was published by InterVarsity Press in 2008 and is also available in Korean and Chinese. In 2014, she published Is Reality Secular? Testing the Assumptions of Four Global Worldviews (InterVarsity Press). In this new book, Poplin examines four major worldviews — naturalism, humanism, pantheism, and Judeo-Christian theism – and explores their implications for human behavior and the evidence for their truth. She is a frequent speaker in Veritas Forums throughout the country.
Michael M. Uhlmann (1939-2019), Founding Chair of the Board of Directors
In October of 2019 the Claremont Center lost one of its original founders and the chair of its Board of Directors. Professor Uhlmann taught in the Department of Politics and Policy at Claremont Graduate University from 2002 to his death in 2019. His courses covered the American Presidency, executive-congressional relations, the federal judiciary, the federal administrative process, and national security decision-making. He was the senior vice-president of the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation in Milwaukee, Wisconsin; a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C.; and was for many years a partner in the Washington office of Pepper, Hamilton, & Scheetz, where he specialized in federal antitrust and administrative law. Mike also had numerous positions in the federal government, including counsel to a U.S. Senate committee, Assistant General Counsel of the Federal Trade Commission, Assistant Attorney General for Legislative Affairs in the Department of Justice, and associate director of the White House Office of Policy Development in the Reagan administration. He wrote for many leading newspapers and journals of opinion, including National Review, The Weekly Standard, The Philadelphia Inquirer, The Los Angeles Times, The Washington Post, First Things, and The Claremont Review of Books. He was a graduate of Yale University and the University of Virginia Law School and received his doctorate in government from the Claremont Graduate School.
Next to his family, Mike’s two great passions were his faith and public affairs. Nowhere was this more evident than in the nearly 90 short essays that Mike produced between 1995 and 2004 in the pages of a religious and public affairs journal titled Crisis Magazine: A Voice for the Faithful Catholic Laity. Although the journal dealt with issues and controversies within the Catholic Church, most of Mike’s contributions were directed outward toward the broader culture. Here, Mike was a passionate defender of the policies and practices that he believed would best promote human virtue and the common good — views that were formed by, and rooted in, his deep Christian faith. Mike’s legacy lives on in his family, his friends, his writings, and his many hundreds of students.