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Ecology in World Religions Opens Nature and Spirituality Series at Western

September 8, 2006

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MACOMB, IL – “Reflections on Ecology in World Religions” is the opening presentation of the Fall 2006 Nature and Spirituality series coordinated by Western Illinois University Art Professor Emeritus Fred Jones for the University’s First Year Experience (FYE) program.

Tom Helm, professor emeritus of religious studies, will deliver the first lecture on ecology in world religions at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 13 in the University Union Heritage Room. He will focus on how the major world religions view nature, describe the place of human beings in the natural world and view the role that humans have in shaping their natural environment. The lecture is open free to the public.

Helm, who retired from Western Feb. 1, joined the philosophy and religious studies faculty in 1974. He began teaching and serving in the Honors Council with the inception of the Honors Program in 1983, and he was named head of the Honors Program in 1998. He was instrumental in transitioning the Honors Program to the Illinois Centennial Honors College, which took place during the UniversityÂ’s Centennial Celebration in 1999-2000.

Helm was the Western Illinois University Faculty Lecturer in 1994, the College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Service Award recipient (1993) and he received three Faculty Excellence Awards (1995, 1993, 1990). Helm received an M.A. and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, an S.T.B. from Harvard University and his B.A. from Earlham College.

The Nature and Spirituality series, which complements the 2006-07 University Theme, “Global Challenges Personal Responsibility – Cultural Diversity,” includes eight lectures, a choral concert and an art exhibit orchestrated by Jones.

Jones joined the WIU faculty in 1968 after teaching two years at Chester College of Art in England. He first came to the U.S. from his home country of Wales in 1964 as a graduate student at the University of Pittsburgh. He has integrated computer graphics technology and interdisciplinary mixed media into Western's art curriculum, and in 1995 he was named the WIU Faculty Lecturer for his scholarly achievements and contributions to the University. In April 2000, Jones was recognized by the WIU chapter of Phi Kappa Phi honor society with the Outstanding Artist Award.

Jones has won numerous awards in national and regional competitive exhibits and has received six commissions for the Illinois Percentage for Art program for his landscape works for public buildings. Many of his works are in public and private collections in the U.S. and U.K.

A significant part of Jones' artistic production at Western was through the Western Illinois Folio Press, which he founded in 1980. He has produced five interdisciplinary portfolios, which are available to view online at

The Nature and Spirituality Series website is at

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