The Paul Lamont Thompson Memorial Lecture was established by a gift from the sons and daughters-in-law of Paul Lamont and Ruth Peel Thompson. A committee of alumni and friends of the College worked diligently to build the fund with gifts from those many students whose lives were enriched by Dr. Thompson’s leadership. Paul Lamont Thompson was President of Kalamazoo College from 1938 to 1949. He played a crucial role in the development of the College during the difficult days of the Depression and World War II. He emphasized high academic standards and selectivity in the student body, and enhanced the reputations of the College as a quality institution of the liberal arts. Dr. Thompson founded the Annual Fund at Kalamazoo College and the College’s pension plan, helping to ensure the future financial integrity of the College. Several buildings were added to the campus during his tenure, among them Harmon Hall, Stowe Stadium, Angell Field, and Welles Dinning Hall. He served as President of the Association of Church Related Colleges. Dr. Thompson was an excellent speaker whose wit, wisdom, and gentle manner nurtured generations of Kalamazoo College students. His spirit and legacy continue through the endowment of the Paul Lamont Thompson lecture, which strives to bring speakers to this campus who enrich our ethical understanding of our position in the larger society, beyond the halls and walls of Kalamazoo College.
The 2019 Thompson Lecture
The 2019 Thompson Lecture was held on Tuesday, October 22 with guest speaker, Heather White, Visiting Assistant Professor of Religious Studies and the Gender and Queer Studies Program at the University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA.
Heather White is a specialist in American religious history with a research focus on sexuality, gender, and twentieth century social movements. Heather teaches courses in gender, feminist and queer studies; queer theory and queer politics; sexuality and the history of religion; and the history and politics of religious freedom.
The Lecture: Looking for Religion in Queer New York
The Stonewall Riots of 1969 are perhaps the most well known event in queer history. These riots, which were incited by transgender women of color and other patrons of the Stonewall Inn in New York City, have been popularly credited for sparking the modern LGBTQ movement.
On the face of it, this defining incident of queer history seems to be purely secular—to be either absent of or antithetical to religion.
What might we find if we were to look for religion in a site defined by its absence?
Past Guest Speakers
2017, May 4: Dr. Jeremy Sabella and Dr. Gary Dorrien
2016, February 16: Jessica Martinez
2015, March 2: Rabbi Rachel Mikva
2014, March 6: Dr. Amina Wadud.
2012, October 16: Dr. Vijay Prashad
2011, October 27: Dr. Janet Jakobsen
2010, April 01: Dr. Whitney Sanford
2008, April 03: Dr. Anna L. Peterson
2008, October 14: Dr. Pumla Gobodo-Madikizela
2007, April 4-5: Dr. Jeanette Rodriquez
2006, October 10-11: Dr. Linda Barnes