On Tuesday 14 October 2008, the McDonald Centre for Theology, Ethics, and Public Life was officially launched in the Examination Schools at the University of Oxford. Over eighty people attended the event, which featured an inaugural address by Prof Nigel Biggar, Director of the Centre, and supporting remarks by Dr Paul Joyce, Chair of the Board of the Faculty of Theology; Prof Sally Shuttleworth, Head of the Humanities Division; and Mr Alonzo McDonald, Chair of the McDonald Agape Foundation.
The University’s John Fell Fund is making a substantial contribution to the funding of the new Centre; but it is the McDonald Agape Foundation that is the primary source of financial support. Christ Church will provide the Centre's new McDonald Post-doctoral Fellow in Christian Ethics and Public Life with an academic home.
Among the guests present were: Jonathan Aitken, Director of the McDonald Agape Foundation; William Chapman, C.V.O., Director of Policy at the Tony Blair Foundation; Major General (retired) Tim Cross, C.B.E.; Roger Davies, F.R.A.S., Philip Wetton Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford and Dr Lees Reader in Physics at Christ Church; Ginny Dunn, Acting Administrative Officer of the McDonald Centre and Senior Lecturer in Palliative Care at Oxford Brookes University; Sarah Foot, Regius Professor of Ecclesiastical History and Canon of Christ Church; Claire Foster, Director of the Ethics Academy and Senior Adviser at the St Paul’s Institute for 21st Century Ethics, London; Jeremy Hill, Legal Adviser to the Consultative Group on the Past in Northern Ireland, and a former British Ambassador to Bulgaria and to Lithuania; Werner Jeanrond, Professor of Divinity at the University of Glasgow, Scotland; Simon Laver, founder partner of the Perrett-Laver Partnership; Robin Lovin, Cary M. Maguire University Professor of Ethics at the Southern Methodist University, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.; David Loyn, the B.B.C.’s Developing World Correspondent; Suzie McDonald, Director of the McDonald Agape Foundation; Dr John Perry, Edward Sorin Fellow at the University of Notre Dame, U.S.A., and McDonald Post-Doctoral Fellow-elect in Christian Ethics and Public Life at the University of Oxford; Charlotte Rendle, Deputy-Governor of H.M. Prison at Wormwood Scrubs; Dr Edward Skidelsky, Lecturer in Philosophy at Exeter University; and Dr Bernd Wannenwetsch, University Lecturer in Christian Ethics at the University of Oxford and Associate Director of the McDonald Centre.