Rick Axtell is college chaplain and Paul L. Cantrell Associate Professor of Religion at Centre College. Axtell initially taught at Centre during 1992-93 and returned to the college in 1995. He was named a Centre Scholar in 2008.
Concerned about issues of hunger and homelessness, he has served as director of Louisville United Against Hunger and also was a case manager working with homeless men through the St. Vincent DePaul Society.
Axtell has traveled and studied hunger, sustainable development and/or liberation theology in Bangladesh, Cuba, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, India, Mexico and Nicaragua, and he has studied homelessness and homeless shelters in major American cities. He is currently researching employment trends for day laborers in Louisville's homeless population. In addition, he has been working with students on a two-year collaborative research project interviewing public housing residents who have been relocated as a part of Louisville's HOPE VI housing redevelopment projects. Both as Centre's chaplain and in his classroom teaching, Axtell encourages Centre students to come to grips with hunger and homelessness in the region around them. His students have slept in homeless shelters and visited Lexington and Louisville agencies that are attempting to serve people of the area.
Axtell has also studied religion and violence in Latin America, most recently with a human rights delegation to Colombia. His articles on the topic of religion and violence have appeared in the Encyclopedia of Religion and War and The Merton Annual.
He has led Centre students studying abroad in Cuba, England, Mexico, and Nicaragua.
Axtell holds a B.A. degree from Mississippi College. He earned an M.Div. degree and a Ph.D. from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and he has completed other advanced studies at the University of Notre Dame.
While teaching and working in Louisville, Axtell was honored as Teacher of the Year at Bellarmine College and Metro Louisville Hunger Activist of the Year.