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Veritas Academy: Faith, Learning, & Making the Most of College

A Pre-College Retreat for Incoming Wash U Freshmen: July 27-30, 2018

Hosted by the Kairos journal of Christian thought at Wash U

Veritas Academy is a three-day residential experience for incoming Wash U freshmen, held July 27-30 on the WashingtonUniversity Campus in St. Louis. Led by Christian faculty, upperclassmen, alumni, and campus ministers, thisexperience helps incoming students ask the big questions, design a meaningful college experience, learn practical tips, and build a faith community among peers – all before arriving on campus in the fall. The curriculum draws upon The Veritas Forum’s 25 years of experience engaging faith and inquiry on America’s leading campuses.

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John Hendrix, Associate Professor, Chair of Undergraduate Design, Washington University in St. Louis

John is a New York Times Bestselling illustrator and author of many children’s books, including Shooting at the Stars, Drawing is Magic, John Brown: His Fight for Freedom, Miracle Man: The Story of Jesus, and, most recently, The Faithful Spy: Dietrich Bonhoeffer and the Plot to Kill Hitler.  His first picture book, Abe Lincoln Crosses a Creek, was named an ALA Notable book of 2008 and won the Comstock Award for read aloud books. His book on John Brown won the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal and was named one of the “Best Books of 2009” by Publisher’s Weekly. Professor Hendrix has served as a Ruling Elder at Grace & Peace Fellowship for eight years, part of the PCA (Presbyterian Church of America). He has presented his work and drawings at venues including Hutchmoot, The Rabbit Room’s Annual Conference of art, music and faith – Church NEXT Conference – Story Conference, Nashville – Q Commons St. Louis, and The National Archives.  His sketchbook drawings from church have been featured in Christianity Today and Smithsonian Magazine. Professor Hendrix lives in St. Louis, with his beautiful bride Andrea, son Jack, and daughter Annie. Reviewing his 2016 book, Miracle Man, the New York Times wrote that “even nonbelievers will enjoy this powerfully told and visually dazzling book.”

John Inazu, Sally D. Danforth Distinguished Professor of Law & Religion and Professor of Political Science, Washington University in St. Louis

John Inazu holds a joint appointment in the Washington University School of Law and the John C. Danforth Center on Religion and Politics.  He teaches courses in law and religion, criminal law, religion and politics, and the First Amendment. In 2014, he was the law school’s David M. Becker Professor of the Year. Professor Inazu has a BSE in civil engineering from Duke, a law degree from Duke Law School, and a PhD in political science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.  He clerked for Judge Roger Wollman on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit and served for four years as an active-duty Air Force attorney at the Pentagon. In addition to his scholarly work, Professor Inazu writes regularly for mainstream audiences in publications including USA Today, the Washington Post, the Hedgehog Review, and Christianity Today.  He serves on the board of InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and is a member of Central Presbyterian Church in Clayton.  He and his wife, Caroline, have three children: Lauren, Hana, and Sam. Professor Inazu has spoken broadly to different audiences about Confident Pluralism.  He has coauthored an article with Timothy Keller on related ideas that appeared in Christianity Today.

Heidi Kolk, Associate Director, American Culture Studies, Washington University in St. Louis

Heidi Aronson Kolk is Associate Director of American Culture Studies, a multi-disciplinary program in Art & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a cultural historian who began her academic training as an artist, and she still gravitates to mixed-methods research and teaching – particularly, those modes that allow for creative engagement with the past. She teaches courses on 19th and 20th-century history and culture; on collective memory and memorialization; and on the long history of consumer culture in America. Heidi holds an MA and PhD in English and American Literature from Washington University in St. Louis, and a BA in fine arts from Hope College. She lives in St. Louis with her husband Joe and their three children, Dylan, Conrad and Everett. They attend Memorial Presbyterian Church.

Joshua Swamidass, Assistant Professor of Pathology and Immunology, Washington University in St. Louis

Dr. S. Joshua Swamidass is an assistant professor in the Division of Laboratory and Genomic Medicine at Washington University in St Louis.  He holds an MD and PhD (Information and Computer Systems) from the University of California, Irvine. Both a scientist and a physician, he uses computational methods to study information at the intersection of medicine, chemistry, and biology. Dr. Swamidass is a national voice in the dialogue between science and the Christian faith, where he explains how mainstream science (including evolution) can be understood within the context of historic Christian faith. Most recently, he proposed a genealogical Adam model that recovers most orthodox doctrines in an evolutionary context.  He has served for two years as a science advisor for the AAAS Science for Seminaries Program with Concordia Seminary, a bridge building effort between the scientific community and the religious community. From 2016-2018, he will direct a collaboration of St. Louis Ministries called the Inquiry into Common Ground. Dr. Swamidass also speaks nationally with The Veritas Forum and InterVarsity on a wide range of topics. He blogs at Peaceful Science.

Students will come out of Veritas Academy with: 

  • Relationships with faculty, upperclassmen, and alumni
  • A framework for integrating faith and learning in college
  • Tools for designing a meaningful college experience
  • A vision for serving and contributing to campus life
  • A faith community of peers before orientation starts

WhenJuly 27 – July 30, 2018
Where: Washington University Campus in St. Louis
Who: Soon-to-be freshmen at Wash U who are excited to cultivate their faith in college, intentionally contribute to campus life, and meet Christian faculty, upperclassmen, alumni, campus ministers, and peers
What: An intensive learning experience that provides incoming Wash U freshmen with the tools, resources, community and vision to flourish in college

How: Apply by June 28

Cost: $199

Scholarships (including travel costs) are available upon application. Have further questions? Send an email to