Category Archives: past events

10/31/19 – Dr. Barbara Wall, Ph.D., Villanova University

Thursday,  October 31, 2019

Pope Francis: a Voice for Mercy, Justice, and Love

Barbara E. Wall, PhD, is an associate professor of philosophy, and the founder and vice president of the Office for Mission and Ministry at Villanova University. In her current role, she has helped to strengthen and renew Villanova’s commitment to its Augustinian, Catholic intellectual tradition and educational mission. A member of the Villanova community for 50 years, Dr. Wall has made significant and lasting contributions. She served as associate dean in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences; founded the Women’s Studies Program, the Ethics Program and the Journal for Peace and Justice Studies; and co-founded the Center for Peace and Justice Education. She is also a recipient of the Lindback Award for Outstanding Teaching.

In addition, Dr. Wall is a well-known and respected authority on Catholic social teaching. She is the founder and editor of the Journal of Catholic Social Thought; co-editor, with Massimo Faggioli, of Pope Francis: A Voice for Mercy, Justice, Love, and Care for the Earth (Orbis Books, forthcoming); author of Love and Death in the Philosophy of Gabriel Marcel; and co-editor, with Kevin Hart, of Experiencing God: A Postmodern Response.  Dr. Wall’s research is focused on Marxism, political theory and Catholic social teaching. She has been published in many academic publications, earned more than a dozen grants and presented at more than fifty conferences.


The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Ave, 2nd Floor
Cleveland, OH 44114


11:30 a.m. – Register & lunch buffet open
Program begins at noon.



$250/table of 10
$25/individual ticket


Cancellation Policy: If you reserve and are unable to attend, please call the office (216-589-9852) to cancel by noon the Monday prior to the luncheon to avoid being charged for the event. No refund will be given if reservations are canceled after 12:00 p.m. the Monday prior to the luncheon.


10/3/19 – Lannie Davis-Frecker, M.Ed, Julie Billiart Schools

Thursday,  October 3, 2019

God is Good…All the Time, at Julie Billiart Schools

Lannie Davis-Frecker is no stranger to the field of special education. After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Education with a Pre-K Special Needs Endorsement from the University of Dayton, Lannie began her teaching career as an intervention specialist in 2nd grade, then Kindergarten at Julie Billiart Schools (JBS) Lyndhurst campus. As a 10-year tenured faculty member at JBS, Lannie has also served as Assistant Principal and Director of Special Education as well as vice president. Before joining JBS, Lannie shared her knowledge and expertise with the Diocese of Charlotte, North Carolina where she designed and implemented a special education program and, simultaneously, served as the program’s case manager and intervention specialist. 

Today, as President and CEO of JBS, Lannie is the driving force behind the expansion and growth of the Julie Billiart Schools Network. With campuses currently in Lyndhurst and Akron and plans for a third campus in 2021, Lannie’s vision to serve over 700 students with unique academic and social learning needs throughout Northeast Ohio is soon becoming a reality.

Lannie earned a Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from John Carroll University. She was a long time member of the School Choice Ohio Board of Directors, serves as an advisor to the Academic Support Center at Notre Dame College, and is a member of numerous grant committees. As an associate of the Sisters of Notre Dame, Lannie lives out the charism and mission of the schools’ founders and patroness, St. Julie Billiart.


The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Ave, 2nd Floor
Cleveland, OH 44114


11:30 a.m. – Register & lunch buffet open
Program begins at noon.


Registration for this event is now closed. Please contact the club administrator to inquire about ticket availability – 216-589-9852 or

8/29/19 – Sr. Cecilia Liberatore, SND

Thursday,  August 29, 2019

Human Trafficking: Human Tragedy, Human Hope

As part of the Renee Jones Empowerment Center, Sister has ministered for the past eight years with women and girls who have been trafficked for the commercial sex trade. As a personal support advocate who attends the special docket human trafficking court for adult women and the Safe Harbor Court for minors, Sister visits women who are incarcerated and maintains connections with them when they are in drug treatment facilities. Sister also cooperates with the Regional Human Trafficking Task Force by developing a continuing relationship with rescued victims as they move through the process of healing and recovery from trauma to a greater fullness of life and empowerment. Sister engages with women in a variety of therapeutic activities including support groups, art therapy, writing, and therapeutic movement and dance. She is part of street outreach in areas where women have an opportunity to make an initial contact and benefit from a variety of immediate services.    

Sr. Cecilia holds degrees from Notre Dame College, Kent State University and the University of Dayton and was a secondary school teacher and administrator, religious formation director and then Provincial Superior of the Sisters of Notre Dame of Chardon, Ohio.


8/1/19 – Bryan Norton, SJ, Newly ordained Jesuit

Thursday,  August 1, 2019

From Pupil to Priest: a Wildcat’s Jesuit Journey

Born and raised in Cleveland, Fr. Bryan Y. Norton, S.J., is the youngest of three children and the proud uncle of five nieces and nephews. His family and home parish (St. Basil the Great) instilled in him a strong sense of solidarity, faith, and service. Bryan met the Society of Jesus at St. Ignatius High School, where the vibrant tradition of Jesuit education left a profound mark. Eager to pursue a liberal arts education, he studied philosophy at Williams College in Massachusetts. There, through the bonds of friendship in an active Newman Center, Bryan had a deep experience of Christ and the Church. During an influential junior-year abroad at Oxford University, he reconnected with the Jesuits and began a journey of discernment that led him to the novitiate in 2008. As a novice, he worked extensively with adolescents at Loyola High School in Detroit. After professing first vows, he spent four years of studies in Saint Louis, including a Master’s degree in Classics (Latin and Greek) at Washington University. As a Jesuit regent, Bryan taught classical languages and literature at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Since the summer of 2016, he has lived in France, studying theology at Centre Sèvres, the Jesuit faculty of Paris. During these years abroad, Bryan has collaborated closely with the Brothers of Saint John of God in their care for the sick. As a deacon, he has served regularly at St. Ignatius Church in Paris and at St. Peter’s Church in Saint Denis. This summer, after ordination, he will spend a pastoral month at his home parish in Brecksville. In the fall, Bryan will return to Paris to complete his Licentiate in Sacred Theology.

6/27/19 – Ella Thomas, Executive Director, Thea Bowman Center

Thursday,  June 27, 2019

Thea Bowman Center:  Where Love Shows

Ella Thomas has served since 2010 as the Executive Director of Thea Bowman Center, located in the Mt. Pleasant Community, bordering Shaker Heights.  The Center was named for Sr. Thea Bowan, FSPA, Ph.D., a granddaughter of slaves, who believed working with others is an expression of love.  Today, partnering with multiple community organizations, Thea Bowman Center provides health and wellness services, community education, and youth programs that serve 8,000 participants annually.

Ms. Thomas holds a Master of Social Science Administration degree from Case Western Reserve University and is a graduate of Leadership Cleveland’s Class of 1999.  she has over 40 years of professional experience in administration, project management, organizational development and budget management.  Here career span includes mental health, social welfare/human services, health care, community engagement and education.  She was recognized by Governors Celeste, Voinovich, Taft and the Ohio Department of Mental Health for her leadership in community mental health.  She recently served on the Woodruff Foundation Board.  She has served as a faculty field instructor for MSASS and Cleveland State School of Social Work, and is a member of the Visiting Committee for Case Western Reserve University’s Mandel School of Applied Social Science.

Please Join us on Thursday, June 27 when Ms. Thomas shares Thea Bowman Center’s mission to promote the health and well-being of the people in the Mt. Pleasant Community.


6/6/19 – Peter Casarella, Ph.D., Associate Professor, University of Notre Dame

Thursday,  June 6, 2019

Latino Catholicism and the Unwritten Future of the Catholic Church in the U.S.

Please Join us on June 6 as we welcome Dr. Peter Casarella as our special guest.

Peter Casarella received his Ph.D. in 1992 from the department of Religious Studies at Yale University. He was the fourth President of the American Cusanus Society from 2009-2014 and has also served as President of the Academy of Catholic Hispanic Theologians in the U.S. and as President of the Academy of Catholic Theologians. In 2013, he went from DePaul University to the University of Notre Dame to become an Associate Professor. He proudly practices a collaborative model of theology. He has edited or co-edited a number of volumes of collaborative essays including: with George Schner, S.J., Christian Spirituality and the Culture of Modernity: The Thought of Louis Dupré (Eerdmans, 1998); with Will Storrar and Paul Metzger, A World for All? Global Civil Society in Political Theory and Trinitarian Theology (Eerdmans, 2011); Cusanus: The Legacy of Learned Ignorance (Catholic Univ. Press, 2006), Jesus Christ: The New Face of Social Progress (Eerdmans, 2015), and, with Mun’im Sirry, Finding Beauty in the Other: Theological Reflections across Religious Traditions (Crossroad, 2019). His monograph Word as Bread: Language and Theology in Nicholas of Cusa appeared with Aschendorff Verlag in 2017. He is currently working on a book on the doctrine of God from a Latino/a perspective: The God of the People.

Dr. Casarella will discuss the spiritual, cultural, and political dimensions of Latino Catholicism while introducing the audience to the discipline of Latino Theology.


The City Club of Cleveland
850 Euclid Ave, 2nd Floor
Cleveland, OH 44114


11:30 a.m. – Register and lunch buffet open
Program begins at noon.



  • $250/table of 10
  • $25/individual tickets

Registration for this event is closed. To inquire if seats are still available, please call our administrative manager at 216-589-9852.

Cancellation Policy: If you reserve and are unable to attend, please call the office (216-589-9852) to cancel by noon the Monday prior to the luncheon to avoid being charged for the event. No refund will be given if reservations are canceled after 12:00 p.m. the Monday prior to the luncheon.

5/2/19 – Alex Schadenberg, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Alex Schadenberg, Executive Director, Euthanasia Prevention Coalition

Caring Not Killing

Alex has been the Executive Director of the Euthanasia Prevention Coalition since July 1999 and became the International Chairperson in 2007. EPC’s goal is to build a well-informed, broadly based membership of groups and individuals in order to establish an effective social barrier to euthanasia and assisted suicide. Canada-based EPC has organized numerous international symposiums on euthanasia and assisted suicide, drawing attention to this world-wide epidemic.

Alex has had articles published in newspapers world-wide and has the world’s most widely read blog ( on issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide Alex has become known as the definitive source of information on issues related to euthanasia and assisted suicide as seen in his book entitled, “Exposing Vulnerable People to Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide”. EPC’s video entitled, “Turning the Tide,” sold more than 1800 copies since 2007.  EPC’s latest video is entitled “Fatal Flaws:  Legalizing Assisted Death.

Alex works with many other groups to establish an effective world-wide opposition to euthanasia and assisted suicide, such as: HOPE Australia, TAS, Choice is an Illusion, and the Care Not Killing Alliance. Alex is married to Susan and they have six children.

Thursday,  May 2, 2019





4/4/19 – Bob DiBiasio, Sr. VP-Public Affairs, The Cleveland Indians

Bob DiBiasio is in his 40th season with the Cleveland Indians and his 41st in Major League Baseball in 2019. He started w/the Tribe in 1979 as Assistant PR Director, was named PR Director in 1980; and Vice President of PR in 1988.  The Lakewood, OH native was promoted to his current position in 2011. His lone season away from the Tribe was 1987 when he served as PR Chief for the Atlanta Braves.

DiBiasio serves as President of Cleveland Indians Charities. He is an honorary member of the Executive Board of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Cleveland—serves  on the Athletic Advisory Board of Notre Dame College (OH); is a member of the Board of Directors of the Cuyahoga County Public Library Foundation, the Bob Feller Act of Valor Foundation and the Baseball Heritage Museum at League Park.

DiBiasio is the host of the popular “Indians Alumni Roundtable Show” on STO, as well as “Tribe Tales” – a where-are-they-now segment that airs pre-game every Sunday on the Indians Radio Network. He was the 1999 recipient of the prestigious Robert O. Fishel Award for Public Relations Excellence in Major League Baseball.  He was inducted into the Lakewood High School Distinguished Alumni Hall of Fame in 1999.  In 1986, DiBiasio was named the Public Relations Director to Sports Illustrated’s Dream Team.

DiBiasio graduated from Lakewood High School in 1973. He earned degrees in journalism and education from Ohio Wesleyan University in 1977.  While at Ohio Wesleyan, Bob was sports editor of the school paper “The Transcript”, the student Sports Information Director, and did color on OWU football and basketball broadcasts.  DiBiasio also played one year of basketball and two years of baseball at OWU.  In 1978 he earned his Masters Degree in journalism from The Ohio State University and started a stint as Assistant Sports Editor of the Fremont (OH) News Messenger before joining the Indians.

Bob and his wife, Penny, reside in Solon, OH; they have two adult children-daughter, Julie (Matt), and son, Patrick (Liz).

Michael D. Johnson, PH.D., President, John Carroll University – Thursday, February 28, 2019

Inspired Leadership

Michael D. Johnson became the 25th President of John Carroll University on June 1, 2018.  Dr. Johnson also joined the Boler College of Business as a professor in the Department of Management, Marketing and Supply Chain.

A social scientist by training, Dr. Johnson most recently served as the Provost of Babson College where he was also Professor of Marketing. Appointed in 2016, he was the senior academic officer of the College and led all academic affairs, including oversight of the Undergraduate School, the F.W. Olin Graduate School of Business, and the Babson Executive and Enterprise Education division.

Prior to becoming Provost at Babson, Dr. Johnson served as Dean, E.M. Statler Professor and Professor of Marketing at Cornell University’s School of Hotel Administration (SHA) for 10 years. As Dean at Cornell he focused on investing in faculty, expanding students’ learning and career opportunities, increasing diversity, building an effective fundraising organization, and growing the school’s global platform.

Johnson was previously at the University of Michigan for 24 years, where he was the D. Maynard Phelps Collegiate Professor of Business Administration and Professor of Marketing at the Stephen M. Ross School of Business. As a professor at the University of Michigan, he published more than 100 academic articles and multiple books, and taught undergraduate, graduate, and executive programs. He served as a consultant for a diverse range of companies and public agencies, including Promus Hotels, Northwest Airlines, the National Association of Convenience Stores, Dell Corporation, Schering Pharmaceutical, and Volvo.

Born in Bottineau, North Dakota, Johnson grew up in Madison, Wisconsin. He is married to Jill Kobus Johnson, and they have three sons: Alexander, Andrew, and Thomas.

Brooke Taylor, Speaker, Writer, Radio Personality – DATE HAS BEEN CHANGED from Thursday, January 31, to Thursday, February 7


Brooke Taylor – Speaker, Writer, Radio Personality

As the host of the popular podcast “Good Things Radio,” Brooke Taylor shares her heart and vision of hope in Jesus Christ with audiences everywhere. Brooke’s twenty-year media career includes serving as co-host of the “Family Friendly Morning Show” on 95.5 The Fish out of Cleveland, Ohio, where Brooke interviewed notable religious and political figures such as former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, Rev. Franklin Graham, Dr. James Dobson, Beth Moore and many more. Brooke is the founder Saint Gabriel Media and the creator of the annual Arise retreat, bringing women together from across the country to find joy in their shared journey of faith. Brooke has also appeared on the EWTN Program “At Home with Jim and Joy” and “Living Right witih Dr. Ray.” Her travels include leading pilgrimages to the Holy Land and Italy and visiting Guatemala and Haiti with Food for the Poor. As a nationally recognized speaker, Brooke loves sharing her heart with audiences on topics close to her heart such as faith, adoption, parenting special needs children, community, joy, and the power of one voice. She is also the author of the books: Choose Joy and Choose Hope: A 52-Week Devotional Journey. Brooke and her husband, Jim, are busy raising their five children: four sons and a daughter they adopted from Poland. For more information visit