UM Caps President’s Lecture Series with Talk on Religious Freedom

April 24, 2014

MISSOULA – Renowned scholar and conservative Christian thinker Robert P. George will deliver this year’s final University of Montana President’s Lecture Series talk and the annual Lucile Speer Memorial Lecture. His lecture, “The Nature and Scope of Religious Freedom,” will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 1, in the University Center Ballroom.

George also will deliver a seminar titled “John Stuart Mill and John Henry Newman: Two Concepts of Liberty and Conscience,” from 3:40 to 5 p.m. earlier that same day in Gallagher Business Building Room 123. Both events are free and open to the public. The seminar and evening lecture are presented in collaboration with the UM Philosophy Forum and the Phi Beta Kappa Association of Western Montana.

George is the McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and founder and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University. He is a graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School, and also holds a master’s degree in theology from Harvard and a Ph.D. in law from Oxford University.

A defender of conservative Christian values, he has served as a presidential appointee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and on the President’s Council on Bioethics. He has also served on UNESCO’s World Commission on the Ethics of Science and Technology, of which he continues to be a corresponding member.

He is a former Judicial Fellow at the U.S. Supreme Court, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. In July 2013, he was elected Chairman of the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.

George’s books include “Making Men Moral: Civil Liberties and Public Morality,” “In Defense of Natural Law,” “The Clash of Orthodoxies: Law, Religion and Morality in Crisis” and “Conscience and Its Enemies: Confronting the Dogmas of Liberal Secularism.” He co-wrote “Embryo: A Defense of Human Life,” “Body-Self Dualism in Contemporary Ethics and Politics,” and “What Is Marriage? Man and Woman: A Defense.”

His work has appeared in national publications including the Harvard Law Review, the Yale Law Journal, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and more. He currently serves as general editor of New Forum Books, a Princeton University Press series of interdisciplinary works in law, culture and politics.

The recipient of many academic and civic honors, George has held visiting professorships at leading universities all over the world and has been awarded honorary doctorates of law, ethics, science, letters, civil law, humane letters and juridical science.

The Lucile Speer Memorial Lecture is named in honor of Speer, a longtime librarian at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library. Born in 1899, she graduated from UM with a degree in English and obtained a master’s in English from the University of Chicago. She retired from the Mansfield Library in 1968 as documents librarian and a professor. She was politically active through the League of Women Voters of Montana and the Missoula Democratic Club, serving as a delegate to the Montana Constitutional Convention in 1972. She died in 1987.

The President’s Lecture Series consists of 10 talks on vital topics by distinguished guest speakers throughout the academic year. This is the final installment of the 2013-14 series. For more information, visit or call UM history Professor Richard Drake at 406-243-2981.



Contact: Richard Drake, UM history professor and lecture series organizer, 406-243-2981,