University President John Garvey has appointed Robert A. Destro as director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies (IPR), effective June 1, 2017. Destro has been a member of the Columbus School of Law faculty since 1982 and served as interim dean of law from 1999 to 2001. He is founding director of the law school’s Interdisciplinary Program in Law & Religion. Destro succeeds Stephen Schneck, who retired from the University earlier this year.
Destro, who has served as an IPR fellow since 2011, was nominated by the institute’s Executive Board, which comprises the chairs of the departments of anthropology, education, politics, psychology, and sociology.
Destro currently serves as a co-chair of the Genocide Working Group, a panel of experts that monitors and develops policy proposals for the protection and defense of religious minorities in the Middle East, South Asia, and Africa, and of the Iraqi Kurdistan Christianity Project.
He served as special counsel to the Ohio Attorney General and the Ohio Secretary of State on election law matters from 2004 to 2006, as a commissioner on the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights from 1983 to 1989, and as general counsel to the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights from 1977 to 1982. While with the Commission on Civil Rights, Destro led the commission's discussions in the areas of discrimination on the basis of disability, national origin, and religion.
“I am pleased to appoint Bob Destro as the new director of the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies,” said President Garvey. “As a longtime fellow of the institute, he brings knowledge of its history and current work. I’m confident that he will serve the institute well.”
“I am grateful to President Garvey, both for his confidence in me, and for giving me this opportunity to be of service to the University community,” said Destro. “IPR has been Catholic University’s internal think tank since 1974. Today, we are a global network of scholars, researchers, and professionals whose mission is to serve the Church, the nation, and the world by exploring how faith shapes both the formulation of public policy and measures its success or failure. The task ahead is to develop, grow, and support the important work being done by the network of fellows, both here in the United States and around the world.”
Destro received his Bachelor of Arts in 1972 from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, and his Juris Doctor in 1975 from the University of California at Berkeley. His areas of specialization, scholarship, and litigation include freedom of speech and religion in the United States and abroad; bioethics; discrimination on the basis of race, disability, national origin and religion; comparative constitutional law; election law; private international law (conflict of laws); and legal ethics.
Since 1974, IPR has been one of the leading academic centers focused on the practical application of Catholic social thought to American public policy. Well known for many years under its former name, the Life Cycle Institute, the University’s internal think tank taps the knowledge and experience of the 40 renowned researchers, scholars, and policy experts who are its fellows.
IPR has sponsored and organized research, analyzed public policy, published national studies, worked closely with lawmakers and policymakers, promoted and developed its own cadre of students and young researchers, and organized hundreds of symposia, conferences, debates, and lectures for academia and the American public square.
Renamed the Institute for Policy Research & Catholic Studies in 2009, IPR continues to bring rigorous academic research to bear on contemporary questions of public policy and religion. For more information about IPR, click here.