The Presidential Colloquium series at Hope College will open its ongoing exploration of the Protestant Reformation with the address “Why the Reformation Still Matters in 2017” by Dr. Brad Gregory of the University of Notre Dame faculty on Thursday, March 30, at 4:30 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.

The public is invited.  Admission is free.

The Protestant Reformation was sparked when Martin Luther delivered his 95 theses to the Archbishop of Mainz on Oct. 31, 1517.  Hope is marking the Reformation’s 500th anniversary with multiple presentations in the spring and fall that will explore ways that the Reformation has shaped the world throughout history as well as its significance for Holland.  Organized or coordinated through the college’s Presidential Colloquium series, the Hope events are presented within the theme “The Reformation and the Making of the Modern World.”

Gregory is professor of history and Dorothy G. Griffin Collegiate Chair at the University of Notre Dame, where he has taught since 2003, and where he is also the director of the Notre Dame Institute for Advanced Study.

He specializes in the history of Christianity in Europe during the Reformation era and on the long-term influence of the Reformation era on the modern world. He has given invited lectures at many of the most prestigious universities in North America, as well as in England, Scotland, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Spain, Italy, Israel, Taiwan, Australia and New Zealand.

Gregory’s first book, “Salvation at Stake: Christian Martyrdom in Early Modern Europe” (Harvard, 1999), received six book awards. His most recent book, “The Unintended Reformation: How a Religious Revolution Secularized Society” (Belknap, 2012), received two book awards. His forthcoming book is titled “Rebel in the Ranks: Martin Luther, the Reformation, and the Conflicts that Continue to Shape Our World” (Harper, 2017). 

From 1996 to 2003 he taught at Stanford University, where he received early tenure in 2001.  Before teaching at Stanford, he earned his Ph.D. in history at Princeton University and was a junior fellow in the Harvard Society of Fellows; he also has two degrees in philosophy from the Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium.

Gregory was the recipient of two teaching awards at Stanford and has received three more at Notre Dame. In 2005, he was named the inaugural winner of the first annual Hiett Prize in the Humanities, a $50,000 award from the Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture given to the outstanding mid-career humanities scholar in the United States.

The Reformation-themed events at Hope will begin the evening before Gregory’s address, with the Grand Rapids Symphony presenting “A Reformation Celebration” on Wednesday, March 29, at 7:30 p.m. in the Concert Hall of the college’s Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts.  The program will feature Mendelssohn’s “Reformation Symphony,” as well as works by Telemann, Buxtehude, Schutz, and J.S. Bach.  Tickets for the concert are $30 for orchestra and mezzanine seating and $20 for balcony seating, and may be ordered via grsymphony.org or (616) 454-9451.

The college’s annual Danforth Lecture will present the address “Where Are the Nailprints? Luther’s Road to Reformation” by Dr. Timothy George on Thursday, April 6, at 4 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.  George is the founding dean of Beeson Divinity School at Samford University.  The public is invited, and admission is free.

The Presidential Colloquium series will present the address “Dangerous Choices: Women, Clerics and Marriage in the German Reformation” by Dr. Marjorie Elizabeth (Beth) Plummer on Monday, April 10, at 4 p.m. in Winants Auditorium of Graves Hall.  Plummer is a professor in the History Department at Western Kentucky University.  The public is invited, and admission is free.

The fall-semester events have not been finalized, but are anticipated to include panel discussions exploring the experience of local communities and residents.

The Presidential Colloquium, initiated by President John C. Knapp, is a recurring lecture series that brings prominent thinkers to Hope to share their insights on the academy, leadership and global civic engagement.  Speakers since the series debuted in September 2013 have included Dr. Richard Carwardine, who is an internationally recognized expert on Abraham Lincoln and president of Corpus Christi College of the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom; Professor H. Russel Botman, rector and vice-chancellor of Stellenbosch University; Scott Aughenbaugh, who is a deputy director of Strategic Futures at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS); and David Brooks, New York Times columnist and best-selling author.

More information the series is available online.  Details regarding the fall events will be posted nearer the beginning of the college’s fall semester.

The Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts is located at 221 Columbia Ave., between Ninth and 10th streets.  Graves Hall is located at 263 College Ave., between 10th and 12th streets.