Renowned author, minister Peter Gomes to deliver Swope Lecture Sept. 13

August 16, 2004

Tacoma, Wash. – The Reverend Professor Peter J. Gomes, a professor at Harvard University’s Faculty of the Arts and Sciences and of the Faculty of Divinity, an American Baptist minister, and a renowned author of numerous books, will deliver a lecture at the University of Puget Sound on Monday, Sept. 13. Gomes’ address, “What Makes a College Good? A Re-appraisal for the 21st Century,” will begin at 7:30 p.m. in the University of Puget Sound Fieldhouse, one block east of Union Avenue on North 11th Street.

The lecture is part of the series of Swope Lectures on Ethics, Religion, Faith, and Values. The event is free and open to the public.

Gomes received his A.B. from Bates College in 1965 and his S.T.B. from Harvard Divinity School in 1968, the same year he was ordained to the American Baptist Ministry. A recipient of 26 honorary degrees, Gomes has taught at Harvard University as Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and has served as Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church since 1974.

He is widely regarded as one of America’s most distinguished preachers. Gomes has fulfilled preaching and lecturing engagements throughout the United States and Great Britain, including an address at the 2004 John F. Kennedy School of Government Leadership Conference, sermons at seminaries across the United States, and talks at Oxford University, the University of Cambridge, and Canterbury Cathedral. Named Clergy of the Year in 1998 by Religion in American Life, Gomes also participated in the inaugurations of Ronald Wilson Reagan and George Herbert Walker Bush.

Gomes is the author of numerous books, including several New York Times bestsellers. In addition to ten volumes of sermons and numerous articles and papers, he published “Gomes’s Book of Good Graces: A Collection of Graces and Blessings” and “Strength for the Journey: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living” in 2003, “The Good Life: Truths That Last in Times of Need” in 2002, “Sermons: Biblical Wisdom for Daily Living” in 1998, and “The Good Book: Reading the Bible with Mind and Heart” in 1996.

The Swope Endowed Lectureship was established at Puget Sound through a gift from Major Ianthe Swope in honor of her mother, Jane Hammer Swope. The lectureship is intended to promote broad discussions, critical thinking and ethical inquiry about matters of religion, such as its role in public life, issues in contemporary spirituality, ethics and world religions. Past speakers in the series have included:

  • The Rev. Dr. Burchell Taylor, scholar and advocate for social justice
  • The Rev. Dr. James Lawson, civil rights leader
  • Karen Armstrong, religious historian
  • Michael Barnett, author and professor
  • Dr. Oscar Arias, Nobel Peace Laureate
  • James Carroll, author and columnist
  • Dr. Rita Nakashima Brock, author and professor
  • Morris Dees, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center

Professor Gomes has granted permission for members of the campus community to read the following essay in advance of his lecture.

Contact: K. James Davis, 253.879.3374,