Walter Lowrie Memorial

Monday, Sept. 20 marked the first event at the University of Puget Sound of the “Walter Lowrie Speakers’ Series.” The opening lecture of the series was held in the Murray Boardroom and was given by author Diana Butler Bass, writer of A People’s History of Christianity. Bass led a discussion based on the themes of her book and the idea of “useable history.” Bass also shared a chapter of her book with the audience.

The lecture series is based on a partnership between the Immanuel Presbyterian Church in Tacoma and Puget Sound. It was created in honor of the late Professor Emeritus of History Walter Lowrie. Lowrie graduated from Puget Sound in 1958 and taught at the school for 44 years before retiring in 2004. Lowrie was incredibly active on campus, serving as the director of the humanities program for 15 years, the chair of the history department and not only did he chair the Faculty Senate but was also on the committee that created it. Lowrie passed away on May 14, 2010 from a struggle with pancreatic cancer.

This lecture series was launched “to recognize the intersection of rigorous intellectual inquiry and a life of faith that Prof. Lowrie found in and between” the Immanuel Presbyterian Church and Puget Sound, said University Chaplain and Director of Spirituality, Service and Social Justice Dave Wright.

The series is endowed and funded by the Immanuel Presbyterian Church and the main events of the series will take place at the Church. Some events will feature a lecture at Puget Sound as well as a central presentation at the Church. Wright notes that the series is “a unique partnership for our campus, but one that really honors Prof. Lowrie’s life and interests very well.”

The next lecture in the series will take place on Nov. 30 and will feature the “Three Interfaith Amigos” from Seattle. The group consists of Rabbi Ted Falcon, Sheikh Jamal Rahman and Pastor Don Mackenzie, and the men advocate interfaith cooperation. This event will take place at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church. The next event in partnership with Puget Sound will occur second semester and will feature J. Phillip Newell, a central figure at the Iona Community in Scotland and a world leader in Celtic spirituality and Christianity.

So while Lowrie is no longer with us at Puget Sound, he is still being remembered on campus. Professor William Breitenbach stated that Lowrie’s “marvelous teaching [is] honored by the speaker series that bears his name.  Those of us who admired him are delighted that his legacy lives on at the college he loved.”