Welcome to the Walter H. Capps Center

There is no shortage of issues for the Walter H. Capps Center to address at this precarious moment. Like most of you, we feel disoriented. Just as one pressing need comes into view, another demand on our moral discernment changes our focus, blurring the horizon. While none of us can hope to keep up with each new crisis, times of foment challenge us to cultivate our ethical capacities of wayfinding. The ability to navigate, far more than doubling down on any one perspective or position, offers a way forward. This is where our work at the Capps Center takes hold. We aim to build on the legacies of Walter Capps, whose scholarly and political career inspired founding of the center, and Wade Clark Roof, who shaped it into a benchmarking-setting institution. In their spirit, the Capps Center will continue to be a place where students, scholars, and community members hone our navigational skills as we seek the good in public life. 

As incoming Director, I am honored to be stepping into a robust center that has established numerous avenues for fulfilling our mandate, including student fellowships and specialized courses, a successful internship program, various forums, and highly visible lecture series, among other activities. Our aim is to maintain and grow all of these initiatives in ways mindful of our current predicament, its constraints, and the new possibilities it has provoked. One way we are addressing programming challenges is through launching an online symposium series, enabling us to bring more voices into our conversations. This in turn allows for sustained engagement with a specific theme over the course of the year. This year we are initiating the series with a focus on Indigenous peoples and democracy. Entitled Ethics in Place, it will feature a number of influential and compelling guests who will address Indigenous place-based ethics from a variety of perspectives. Please see our symposium page for a description of the theme and a list of Fall events. Spring and Winter speakers will be posted soon. Also this Fall, we are eager to have you join us for two student panels on the presidential election, one before and one after election day. Please see our events page for details.

Along with everyone else, we are busy reinventing aspects of how we do our work. Bear with us as we make our way and please reach out if you have ideas or requests. We’d love to hear from you. When conditions allow, we will be delighted to welcome you back. For my part, my family and I came to Santa Barbara, UCSB, and the Capps Center because we are drawn to the community and its ethos of engagement. You can be sure that we will ramp up occasions to be and think together just as soon as possible. 


Greg Johnson