Sam Thompson Society

Who is Sam Thompson?

Sam Thompson, for whom the lecture series is named, served in the Philosophy Department at Monmouth College for 46 years. After graduating from MC with a degree in English in 1924, he earned M.A. and Ph.D. degrees in Philosophy from Princeton University. Most notable among his publications were two popular textbooks: A Modern Philosophy of Religion and The Nature of Philosophy. Thompson died in 1983.

Thompson’s family had a long connection with the college, starting with his father, Robert W. Thompson, an 1894 MC graduate. His daughters, Jean Thompson Follett and Roberta Thompson Fassett, were 1951 and 1956 graduates, respectively, and his granddaughter, Julie Follett Sarff, graduated in 1974.

What is the Sam Thompson Society?

The Sam Thompson Society is a group that meets weekly in the Weeks House to discuss philosophical ideas. Questions? Want to join? Email Anne Mamary at for more information.

Sam Thompson Essay Contest

The Sam Thompson Essay Contest awards a prize to an outstanding piece of creative or scholarly work in the humanities. For more information, or to find out how to enter, contact Anne Mamary at

Sam Thompson Lecture Series

Click here to see a list of books authored by former Sam Thompson Lecture Series guests.

Stephen Toulmin, Northwestern University, “The Heritage of Modernity” 1989-90
John Sallis, Loyola University of Chicago, “Dionysius: The Drama and Logic of Excess” 1989-90
Cornel West, Princeton University, “The Historicist Turn in American Philosophy” 1990-91
Diogenes Allen, Princeton Theological Seminary, “Christian Belief in a Post-Modern World” 1991-92
James Sterba, University of Notre Dame, “Feminist Justice and Sexual Harassment” 1993-94
Robert Solomon, University of Texas, “Emotions and Rational Choice” 1994-95
Mark Johnson, University of Oregon, “Metaphoric Morality” 1995-96
William Winslade, University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston and Dax Cowart, J.D. “Physician-Assisted Suicide” 1996-97
Charles Courtney, Drew University, “God, Symbol, and Community: Samuel Thompson’s Late Philosophy of Religion” 1997-98
Mary Van Leeuwen, Eastern College 1998-99
Alvin Plantinga, University of Notre Dame 1999-2000
Richard Schact, University of Illinois 2001-2002
Martin Marty, University of Chicago 2002-2003
Ted Cohen, University of Chicago, “If I Were Someone Else: Fragmentary Thoughts on Understanding One Another” 2003-2004
Sandra Harding, UCLA, “Science and Technology in a Global Context: Race and Gender Issues” 2004-2005
J. Stafford Weeks, R. Jeremy McNamara, William Urban, Monmouth College, “Remembering Sam Thompson” 2005-2006
Mary Catherine Bateson, George Mason University, “Composing Community” 2006-2007
Alexander Nehamas, Princeton University, “Only a Promise of Happiness: the Place of Beauty in a World of Art” 2007-2008
Lewis R. Gordon, Temple University, “Pedagogical Imperatives” 2008-2009
Michael Ruse, Florida State University, “The Evolution-Creation Struggle” 2009-2010
Jill Ker Conway, President of Smith College, emeriti, The Road from Coorain 2010-2011