The Paul Lamont Thompson Memorial Lecture

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 Fall 2022 Thompson Lecture

The Fall 2022 Thompson Lecture will be held on Tuesday, October 18 with guest speaker, Dr. Megan Goodwin.

Megan Goodwin

This year’s lecture is “Undrinking the Kool-Aid: Mis/remembering Peoples Temple.” This talk engages popular misremembrances of the so-called Jonestown Massacre and invites the audience to consider who benefits from the erasure of so many Black women’s deaths at the Peoples Temple Agricultural Project in Guyana. The material is excerpted from Dr. Goodwin’s current book project, tentatively titled Cults Incorporated: The Business of Bad Religion.

Dr. Goodwin is the author of Abusing Religion: Literary Persecution, Sex Scandals, and American Minority Religions (Rutgers 2020). In addition to her next book project, she hosts and produces “Keeping It 101: A Killjoy’s Introduction to Religion Podcast” with Dr. Ilyse Morgenstein Fuerst. They are currently at work on Religion Is Not Done With You, forthcoming from Beacon Press in 2024.

The lecture will be held at 7:00pm, Tuesday, October 18th
Location: Hicks Banquet Hall
Kalamazoo College

Masks are required at this event

Past Guest Speakers

2022, May 10: Dr. Kristin Kobes De Mez
2019, October 22: Dr. Heather White
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