posted October 15, 2009

Steven Bouma-Prediger to Speak through “Last Lecture Series”

Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger of the Hope College religion faculty will present the address "Can You Count?" on Tuesday, Oct. 27, at 7 p.m. in the Maas Center auditorium.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

Bouma-Prediger will be speaking through the "Last Lecture Series" organized by the college's Alcor chapter of the national Mortar Board honorary society to feature members of the faculty.

The title of the series, which the chapter initiated during the 2008-09 school year, is rhetorical.  The lectures are not literally presented as the last that the speakers will deliver at Hope, but are meant to highlight the advice that they would most want to share if the event was indeed the final opportunity for them to address the college's students.  The professors are being asked to reflect on their careers and lives, and to think deeply about what matters to them and about what wisdom they would like to impart.

The concept was inspired by the "Last Lecture" delivered at Carnegie Mellon University by Dr. Randy Pausch on Sept. 18, 2007.  Pausch, a member of the Carnegie Mellon faculty who had terminal pancreatic cancer--a fact known at the time that he spoke--presented "Really Achieving Your Childhood Dreams."  He died on July 25, 2008, at age 47.

Bouma-Prediger is a professor of religion and chairperson of the department of religion at Hope.  His scholarship focuses on ecology and theology.

His numerous publications include five books: "Beyond Homelessness:  Christian Faith in a Culture of Displacement," co-authored with Brian Walsh; "For the Beauty of the Earth:  A Christian Vision for Creation Care"; "Evocations of Grace: Writings of Joseph Sittler on Ecology, Theology, and Ethics," which he co-edited with Peter Bakken; "The Greening of Theology: The Ecological Models of Rosemary Radford Ruether, Joseph Sittler, and Jurgen Moltmann"; and, with Virginia Vroblesky, "Assessing the Ark: A Christian Perspective on Nonhuman Creatures and the Endangered Species Act."

He co-authored two chapters in the book "Living the Good Life on God's Good Earth."  He is also the author of numerous published scholarly articles and essays, and has presented many papers and invited addresses.

"For the Beauty of the Earth," won an "Award of Merit" from "Christianity Today" in the theology/ ethics category of the magazine's "2002 Book Awards" program, and in December 2000 "Evocations of Grace" was one of only five books named "editor's picks" book of the year by "Christian Century."

Bouma-Prediger has been a member of the Hope faculty since 1994. He was invited to deliver the college's Commencement address by the graduating Class of 1998, was elected the recipient of the college's "Hope Outstanding Professor Educator"  (H.O.P.E.) Award by the graduating Class of 1999, and was chosen by the college's students to receive the "Faculty Appreciation Award" during Homecoming in 2001.  He is also a past faculty representative to the college's Board of Trustees.

Prior to coming to Hope, he was an assistant professor of philosophy and chair of the department at North Park College in Chicago, Ill. A 1979 Hope graduate, he holds an M.Phil. from the Institute for Christian Studies in Toronto, Ontario; an M.Div. from Fuller Theological Seminary; and a Ph.D. from the University of Chicago.

Mortar Board is a national honor society that recognizes college seniors for outstanding achievement in scholarship, leadership and service, and provides opportunities for continued leadership development, promotes service to college and universities, and encourages lifelong contributions to the global community.  Since its founding in 1918, the organization has grown from the four founding chapters to 227 collegiate chapters with nearly 250,000 initiated members across the nation.

The Alcor chapter has existed at Hope since the 1936-37 academic year, although it did not become part of the national Mortar Board organization until 1961.

The chapter also sponsored a "last chance talk" during the 1960s.  The idea back then was to invite a faculty member to express his/her ideas under the hypothetical assumption that this would be the last opportunity to address the student body.  The late Dr. D. Ivan Dykstra, professor of philosophy, delivered the first "last chance talk" in the spring of 1962.

The Maas Center is located at 264 Columbia Ave., on Columbia Avenue at 11th Street.