Speaker Bios

  • Joseph "Joe" Loconte, PhD, Associate Professor of History at King's College in New York City, author, former monthly commentator, National Public Radio, All Things Considered.
  • Dr. Tony Campolo, American sociologist, pastor. author, public speaker
  • Crystal Downing, PhD, Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies at Messiah College in Grantham, PA
  • David Downing, PhD, R. W. Schlosser Professor of English at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County, PA

Joseph Loconte

Joseph "Joe" Loconte

Joseph Loconte, PhD, is an Associate Professor of History at The King’s College in New York City, where he teaches Western Civilization and American Foreign Policy.

Loconte previously served as a Distinguished Visiting Professor at the School of Public Policy at Pepperdine University, where he taught on religion and public policy. He was a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C., and from 1999-2006 he held the first chair in religion as the William E. Simon Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.

Loconte is the author of The Searchers: A Quest for Faith in the Valley of Doubt (Thomas Nelson, 2012) and God, Locke, and Liberty: The Struggle for Religious Freedom in the West (Lexington Books, 2014). His other books are The End of Illusions: Religious Leaders Confront Hitler’s Gathering Storm (Rowman & Littlefield, 2004) and Seducing the Samaritan: How Government Contracts Are Reshaping Social Services (The Pioneer Institute, 1997). His commentary on religion and democracy, human rights, and international religious freedom appears in the nation’s leading media outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, and National Public Radio. He is also a regular contributor to the London-based Standpoint Magazine and Italy’s La Stampa.

Loconte has testified before Congress on international human rights and served as a human rights expert on the 2005 Congressional Task Force on the United Nations, contributing to its final report, “American Interests and U.N. Reform.” He was an informal advisor/speechwriter for British MP Andrew Mitchell, Shadow Secretary of State for International Development. From 2001-2003, he was an informal advisor to the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. He now serves as a senior fellow at the Trinity Forum and as an affiliated scholar at the John Jay Institute.

A native of Brooklyn, NY, Loconte divides his time between New York City and the Washington, D.C. area.

Joseph will be a keynote speaker at the award-winning C.S. Lewis Festival, the only month-long Lewis festival on the planet, on Thursday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m. at North Central Michigan College, Library Conference Center. This event is free and all are encouraged to attend.

Tony Campolo

Tony Campolo

Tony Campolo is professor emeritus of sociology at Eastern University, a former faculty member at the University of Pennsylvania, and the founder and president of the Evangelical Association for the Promotion of Education. He has written more than 35 books. He is one of the founders of the Red Letter Christian movement and blogs regularly at his website, RedLetterChristians.org, and can also be found on both Facebook and Twitter. Dr. Campolo and his wife Peggy live near Philadelphia and have two children and four grandchildren.

In November 2012, Tony Campolo received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Youth Worker’s Convention. The wording on the award is: “Award of Lifetime Achievement is proudly presented to Tony Campolo who has defined and courageously pioneered what is means to encourage, care and lead students, possessing the qualities that inspire us and provoke us to continue the journey into the future with boldness and confidence. As a result of Tony’s life of ministry and leadership he has left a legacy of encouragement and hope to youth workers and students everywhere.”

When the presentation was given, a great mention of Tony’s work with Compassion International was made and Compassion asked to be able to say thank you to Tony for the lifetime of child sponsorships he has helped to make possible. At this link, is the thank you video.To learn more about our somewhat amazing story, we invite you to read “Over The Top For Jesus: A Brief History of the Life and Ministry of Tony Campolo and EAPE.”

Tony Compolo will speak as part of the award-winning C.S. Lewis Festival on Friday, October 19 at 7:30 at Petoskey Middle School. The Lewis Festival is celebrating its 13th year of providing an enriching cultural experience for all people, that explores the life and works of C.S. Lewis through collaboration by the arts, education, and faith communities.

Crystal Downing

Crystal Downing

With a Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Santa Barbara, Crystal Downing has published over 100 essays on a wide variety of topics, from Shakespeare to the Amish, and has won both national and international awards for her essays on film. Her first book, Writing Performances: The Stages of Dorothy L. Sayers (2004), was granted the Barbara Reynolds Award for outstanding Sayers scholarship in 2009. Sayers and her friend C. S. Lewis entered into her next two books as well: How Postmodernism Serves (my) Faith (2006) and Changing Signs of Truth (2012), which are used as textbooks in multiple Christian colleges and seminaries in North America. Sayers so insistently invaded her fourth book, Salvation from Cinema (2015), that Crystal had to remove her with the promise that Sayers would star in her fifth book, The Wages of Cinema: Seeing through the Lens of Dorothy L. Sayers. Downing, who has delivered academic papers on Sayers at regional, national and international conferences, is Distinguished Professor of English and Film Studies at Messiah College in Grantham, PA, where she has been honored with the Smith Award for Excellence in Teaching. She is happily married to someone who really, really, really likes C. S. Lewis.

David Downing

David Downing

David C. Downing is the R. W. Schlosser Professor of English at Elizabethtown College in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

Downing grew up in Colorado, went to college in Santa Barbara, and earned his PhD from UCLA. He currently teaches professional and creative writing at Elizabethtown and serves as English Department Chair.

Downing has written four scholarly books on C. S. Lewis: Planets in Peril (1992), a critical study of the Ransom trilogy; The Most Reluctant Convert (2002), an examination of Lewis's journey to faith; Into the Wardrobe (2005), an in-depth overview of the Narnia Chronicles; Into the Region of Awe (2005), a study of how Lewis's wide reading in Christian mysticism enhanced his own faith and enriched his imaginative writing. Downing also provided a critical introduction and over 300 explanatory notes to the new edition of C. S. Lewis's The Pilgrim's Regress, originally published in 1933 and reissued by Eerdmans in the Wade Center Annotated Edition (2014).

Downing is a consulting reader on C. S. Lewis for the Publications of the Modern Languages Association (PMLA), as well as Christian Scholars Review and Seven: An Anglo-American Literary Review. He has also served as an editorial consultant for Cambridge University Press and a number of American university presses.

Downing is also the author of A South Divided: Portraits of Dissent in the Confederacy and Looking for the King (2010), a historical novel in which two young Americans meet Lewis and Tolkien in Oxford in 1940. The Facebook page for Looking for the King contains a number of anecdotes, quotations, and photographs relating to C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien, and their friends. Downing's college website may be found at http://users.etown.edu/d/downindc/ and his blog is at www.cslewis.com.

Sponsors Manthei Development Corp Dave Kring Chevrolet-Cadillac Mclean & Eakin Bookselleers The Bank of northern Michigan Wally and Margy Kidd Beards Brewery Stafford's Perry Hotel Great Lakes Energy People Fund First Presbyterian Church North Central College Petoskey United Methodist Church Crouse Gaslight Media Bay View Association