Speaker Bios

David Vessey photo

Dr. David Vessey

David Vessey grew up in Minnesota. He received his BA from St. Olaf College and his MA and PhD from the University of Notre Dame. He was a Fulbright scholar at the Catholic University of Leuven, Belgium, and has been a visiting scholar at the University of Oregon, The University of Notre Dame, the University of Chicago, and the University of Minnesota. He has published over two dozen articles and given over three dozen papers, primarily on the philosophical tradition of hermeneutics. He has published on hermeneutical ethics and hermeneutics and the philosophy of religion. He has been teaching in high education for over twenty-five years, the last eleven at Grand Valley State University.

Douglas Kindschi

Dr. P. Douglas Kindschi
Moderator, Interfaith Panel

Dr. Douglas Kindschi, now in his 45th  year at Grand Valley State University, served in the position of dean for 28 of those years.  He is currently University Professor of Mathematics and Philosophy and the Director of the Kaufman Interfaith Institute.  While Dean of Science he was responsible for 14 departments including the basic sciences, mathematics, computer science, the School of Engineering, the School of Health Professions and the Water Resources Research Institute.  In August, 2015, Grand Valley named its new science building the P. Douglas Kindschi Hall of Science recognizing his role in advancing the sciences at the university.  Douglas Kindschi received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Houghton College in New York, did graduate study at the Divinity School, University of Chicago.  He received his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  He also completed a minor in philosophy as a part of his doctoral study. 

Rabbi David J.B. Krishef

Rabbi David, J.B. Krishef
Interfaith Panelist

Rabbi David J.B. Krishef grew up in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and graduated from the University of Minnesota with a degree in Hebrew and Jewish Studies.  Following a two-year stint as a program director at the University of Minnesota Hillel Foundation (serving students at Carleton and Macalester colleges), he entered the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, where he received ordination in 1994. Since then, Rabbi Krishef has served as the rabbi of Congregation Ahavas Israel, a Conservative synagogue in Grand Rapids, Michigan. He created and writes the popular weekly “Ethics and Religion Talk” column for The Rapidian and the Grand Rapids Press and blogs at Embodied Torah. He is the author of a CHAI curriculum revision published by URJ Press revising the CHAI Judaic curriculum to adapt the Reform curriculum for use in a Conservative or joint Reform/Conservative religious school; and edited a section on Judaism for a World Religions textbook (published by Teacher Created Materials). From 2006-7 he taught Beginning and Intermediate Biblical Hebrew at Grand Valley State University; in 2008, 2011, and 2013 he taught a course in Jewish Life, Literature, Culture, and History at Kuyper College; and also in 2011 he taught an Introduction to Judaism course at Aquinas College.

Bishop Dennis McMurray

Bishop Dennis McMurray
Interfaith Panelist

Bishop Dennis J. McMurray is the Senior Pastor of the Renaissance Church of God in Christ of Grand Rapids, Michigan. He is a spiritual visionary who brings an array of theological, business, management, marketing and financial experience to Ministry. He and his wife, Dr. E. Jean Lackey-McMurray, founded Renaissance Church of God in Christ on August 22, 1992. Now in its 27th year, Renaissance is a 21st century ministry that influences humanity locally and around the world through progressive ministry, weekly worship, television and radio ministries. Visit www.rencogic.org to view the ministry profile. Ecclesiastically, Bishop McMurray serves as an Auxiliary Bishop with the 5.5 million Church of God in Christ denomination where his responsibilities include global ministry development, leadership and organizational expansion. Bishop McMurray was conferred the Doctorate of Divinity from Christian Bible Institute and Seminary in 2014. He is a graduate of Grand Valley State University, Seidman School of Business and Muskegon Community College. Bishop McMurray is happily married to his college sweetheart, Dr. E. Jean Lackey-McMurray.

Ali Metwalli

Ali Metwalli
Interfaith Panelist

Dr. Ali. M. Metwalli was born in Egypt and received his Bachelor degree in Commerce from Cairo University.  He has a M.B.A. degree from Siena Collage in New York State and he earned his Ph.D. in Business Administration from St. Louis University in Missouri.  He served in health care industry in various executive, research, and consulting positions since 1965.  He moved to Grand Rapids in 1980 to teach for Western Michigan University and served as the Director of the MBA program in Grand Rapids campus from 1985 until the end of 1999.  He continues to teach full time at WMU graduate business program (MBA), do research, and consult independently.  He is a co-founder of MW Stone Importers, LTD.  Dr. Metwalli is a founding Board member ( Shura Committee) of the Islamic Mosque and Religious Institute in Grand Rapids.  He served for six years as member of the Board of Director of the West Central Michigan American Red Cross. He also Served on the advisory council for the American College of Health Care Executives, and is active in numerous other civic and University activities.  In September 2012, he was elected as an at-large member to the ACLU of Michigan State Board of Director for a three year term.  He was nominated for the 2012 Faculty Teaching Award at the Haworth College of Business. He has a long list of publications in a number of academic journals focusing on global business mergers and acquisitions.  He published in both the Health care Management Review and The Journal of Health Care Finance.  Also he published his first book in 2006 in the area of global business with a focus on Mergers and Acquisition in Asia.

Reverend Mark Pryczbycz

Rev. Mark Przybysz
Interfaith Panelist

Rev. Mark C. Przybysz is the Pastor at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church and the Diocesan Director for Ministry and Life of the Permanent Diaconate in Grand Rapids. He studied at Aquinas College where he earned a Bacholor of Science in Mathmatics and a minor in History. From there he went on to attend Catholic University of Louvain/The American College where he earned both a Bachelors and Master’s of Religious Studies. The Reverand continued his education even furthur at the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkley California for graduate studies in Liturgy and Spirituality. Scince 2000 he has been co-chair for Faith In Motion, and inter-faith transit advocacy group, and a member of Friends of Transit Steering Committee. More recently he has become am Emeritus board member of St. Anna’s Home, and a board memmber for Emmanuale Hospice.\

Fred Stella photo

Fred Stella
Interfaith Panelist

Fred Stella is a product of 16 years in the Catholic education system, including his time at the University of Detroit, where he obtained his degree in Communications & Mass Media.  His interest in Hinduism began at age 15 when studying comparative religions.  By the time he was in his mid 30s he formally embraced the Dharma. Over the years Fred has spent time expanding his knowledge with study & practice in various ashrams & temples in the US and India. In 2009 The West Michigan Hindu Temple ordained him as Pracharak, or “Outreach Minister.” Fred has lectured on Hindu Theology and practice nationally and internationally. One of Fred’s passions is interfaith dialogue and cooperation. For over 20 years he has served as President of the Michigan organization, Interfaith Dialogue Association. In this capacity he, among other things, hosts the program, Common Threads, which airs over local NPR affiliate, WGVU-FM. He is also a weekly contributor to the Grand Rapids Press column, “Ethics and Religion,” where he and fellow clerics answer questions on theology, morality and personal issues. In 2012 Fred was presented with his city's "Champion of Diversity Award" for his work in interfaith relations. Finally, Fred sits on the Executive Council of the Hindu American Foundation, where he works on advocacy and education related issues.

Joanna Bailey photo

Rev. Joanna Bailey

Rev. Joanna Bailey, M.Div. BCC, serves Mercy Health St. Mary's Hospital as its Spiritual Care Manager. Prior to joining Mercy Health in 2019, Joanna served Spectrum Health Helen DeVos Children's Hospital for more than 21 years as a staff chaplain and lead chaplain.  Joanna's clinical interests include how a person's spiritual development informs the healthcare experience throughout his or her lifetime. Neonatal spiritual care and Women's Health is where Joanna focuses her clinical work at Mercy Health St. Mary's Hospital. She teaches nationally with the Pediatric Chaplains Institute and is a board certified member of the Association of Professional Chaplains. Joanna received her Bachelor of Arts in Religion from Swarthmore College and her Master of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. While at Spectrum Health Joanna was active in its Ethics Committee, Critical Incident Stress Management, and Schwartz Center Rounds. She is ordained in the Presbyterian Church (USA). Joanna completed post graduate continuing education at Davenport University in Health Care Management and enjoys process improvement, program development, and collaborative problem solving.

David Rzeszutko

David Rzesutko
Moderator, Expert Panel

Dr David Rzeszutko completed his undergrad degree at Loyola University in Chicago and completed medical school training from Southern Illinois University, Illinois.  Since completing the combined residency in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics, Grand Rapids, Michigan, he has provided primary care to the Grand Rapids community for over two decades.  Dr. Rzeszukto maintains a clinical assistant professorship in the College of Human Medicine at Michigan State University and is actively teaching.  He is board certified in both adult Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. Dr Rzeszutko is the Medicaid Medical Director at Priority Health, Michigan serving 130,000 Medicaid beneficiaries.  His current areas of focus include evidence-based medicine, medical policy development, and government-based healthcare financing. Recent work includes identification and programming addressing social determinants of health that drive improved clinical outcomes for populations.  Dr Rzeszutko has been an active member of Spectrum Health Ethics Committee since 2016.



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Dr. Ana Iltis
DeVos Colloquy Presenter

Ana S. Iltis, PhD, is the Carlson Professor of University Studies, Professor of Philosophy, and Director of the Center for Bioethics, Health and Society at Wake Forest University. She Received her PhD from Rice University. She also holds an appointment in the Department of Social Sciences and Health Policy at Wake Forest School of Medicine and is the Director of the Interdisciplinary Minor in Bioethics, Humanities, and Medicine. She has published widely in bioethics, particularly in research ethics, and holds several editorial positions, including: Co-Editor of the Annals of Bioethics book series (Routledge), Senior Associate Editor of The Journal of Medicine and Philosophy (Oxford University Press), Associate Editor of Christian Bioethics (Oxford University Press), and Co-Editor of Narrative Inquiry in Bioethics (Johns Hopkins University Press). She is President of the American Society for Bioethics and Humanities and a Fellow of the Hastings Center.

Ryan Nash photo

Dr. Ryan Nash
DeVos Colloquy Speaker

Dr. Ryan R. Nash, MD, MA is the Director of The Ohio State University Center for Bioethics and the Director of the Division of Bioethics in the College of Medicine.  He is an Associate Professor with Tenure and holds the Hagop Mekhjian, MD, Chair in Medical Ethics and Professionalism.  He is the Chair of the OSU Wexner Medical Center Ethics Committee and the Graduate Studies Committee for Bioethics.  In addition to practicing Palliative Medicine, Dr. Nash is a Clinical Bioethics consultant and Healthcare Ethics Advisor for the OSU Medical Center.  He is an active educator and administrator.  Dr. Nash received an MD from the University of Texas Medical School at Houston and an MA in Bioethics from Trinity International University. He completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Texas Medical School, a fellowship in palliative medicine at the University of Alabama School of Medicine and was a fellow and visiting scholar at the MacLean Center for Clinical Medical Ethics at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. Dr. Nash has been recognized as a Fellow of the American College of Physicians, Fellow of the American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Care, and Fellow in the Academy of Fellows of the Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity.