Rick Axtell is H. W. Stodghill, Jr. and Adele H. Stodghill Professor of Religion and College Chaplain at Centre College. Axtell initially taught at Centre during 1992-93 and returned to the college in 1995. He was named a Centre Scholar in 2003 and 2008, and received the Kirk Award for excellence in teaching in 2000 and 2015. In 2012, he was included in The Princeton Review’s The Best 300 Professors.
Concerned about issues of hunger and homelessness, he has served as director of Louisville United Against Hunger and also was a case manager working with homeless men through the St. Vincent DePaul Society.
Axtell’s travels in Bangladesh, Cambodia, Colombia, Cuba, Egypt, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico, Myanmar, Nicaragua, Serbia, and Thailand have informed his teaching on issues of hunger, human trafficking, sustainable development, and peacemaking. In 2006, he taught in the UNESCO International M.A. Program in Peace and Development Studies at Universitat Jaume I in Castellon, Spain.
Recent research includes employment trends for day laborers in Louisville’s homeless population and interviews with public housing residents who were relocated in Louisville’s HOPE VI housing redevelopment. He is the co-author of The Other Side of HOPE: Squandering Social Capital in Louisville’s HOPE VI, published in Journal of Poverty in 2015. Axtell is also the co-editor of Ethics as if Jesus Mattered: Essays in Honor of Glen H. Stassen (Smyth & Helwys, 2015).
Axtell has also studied liberation theology and religion and violence in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, and Nicaragua. His articles on the topic of religion and violence have appeared in the Encyclopedia of Religion and War and The Merton Annual.
He has led Centre students studying abroad in Cuba, England, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
Axtell holds a B.A. degree from Mississippi College. He earned M.Div. and Ph.D. degrees from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and has completed other advanced studies at the University of Notre Dame.
File last updated: 06/10/15