Welcome Tony Bolos, Upper House’s New Director of Continuing Education
February 10, 2023
Tony’s work in Peru and his educational pursuits in three other countries are a robust mix that will inform his work at Upper House. Recently relocated to the Madison area, Tony is excited to pursue his calling to build what he calls a Community of the Curious—including Christians and those with questions about faith.
Curiosity and a strong sense of calling—these characterize Tony’s professional and spiritual journey and thread through his studies in philosophy in Edinburgh; his postdoctoral fellowship in Israel; his co-launching a Christian study house at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU); and his leadership of an NGO in Peru, where he also helped craft federal policy on foster care. Recently these same qualities brought Tony to Upper House, where he is now Director of Continuing Education.
Tony grew up in a family of seven children led by parents who planted churches and worked with vulnerable families and children in Peru. Thinking he, too, would become a pastor and do international work, Tony went to Denver Seminary, where he took a course in Philosophy and unexpectedly discovered a field he loved. “I was introduced to a variety of Christian philosophers, whose way of thinking was very attractive to me.”
Feeling a strong pull to pursue a PhD, he and his wife, Julie, moved to Edinburgh, where he attended university. Interestingly, he said, philosophy helped him negotiate difficult questions he had about the Christian faith. “Philosophers have a unique way of viewing the world and breaking things down systematically. For someone who thought critically about faith and whether it is, in fact, ‘reasonable,’ I was surprised to find that philosophy helped deepen my faith in a very profound way.” Friendship with two other young Christian philosophers also gave him opportunity to freely explore questions related to faith and reason.
After finishing his PhD, Tony was hoping to teach philosophy in a seminary setting, but such jobs are rare. Upon completing his postdoc in Israel, Tony was hired to teach at VCU, where he and another philosophy colleague began to discuss how they might have an impact on the church and Christian thinking more specifically; they wondered “what would it take to build conversational bridges between faculty, students, and the church?” Together they launched Schole House, a place where faith, scholarship, and culture are explored together. It was highly satisfying, but Tony still felt called to Peru.
With his wife, a trained therapist, and their three children, Tony moved to Arequipa and put his critical thinking skills and passion to work as Executive Director of New Hope Peru, an NGO focusing on families and vulnerable kids. In his role, Tony worked to exponentially expand the NGO’s staff and reach, even as he raised funds and interacted with federal government officials on foster care policy. Thus, in a non-academic context, he worked to train his staff and officials to think critically and advance logical, faith-based policies for vulnerable families.
Tony’s work in Peru and his educational pursuits in three other countries are a robust mix that will inform his work at Upper House. Recently relocated to the Madison area, Tony is excited to pursue his calling to build what he calls a Community of the Curious—including Christians and those with questions about faith. “Curiosity compels people to learn and engage. I want to work facing the church and the university. I want to use my skills to equip people to grow intellectually and spiritually as they pursue their unique lives and vocations.”
We’re all working out formative faith and intellectual questions. Doing so in isolation can be disheartening; doing so in community can be enlivening. Upper House is delighted to welcome Tony as a new teammate and leader of our continuing education mission. If you are curious, as we are, to grow intellectually and spiritually, then join us on the journey as we welcome Tony and embark on a new chapter of learning and growth.