The Samuel D. Maloney Endowment provides funds for two ongoing activities to enhance the study of religion and society at Davidson: an annual lectureship, and an annual essay prize. 

  • The Maloney Lectureship annually brings to Davidson a distinguished lecturer to speak on some aspect of the social, cultural, or ethical dimensions of religious life.
  • The Maloney Essay Prize is awarded each year to the Davidson student whose essay most effectively addresses some aspect of the social, cultural, or ethical dimensions of religious life.

Samuel D. Maloney, the James Sprunt Professor Emeritus of Religion, taught Christian Ethics at Davidson College from 1954 to 1994. In courses where topics ranged from the ethics of death and dying to issues of war and conscience, from Martin Luther King's philosophy of non-violence to Dietrich Bonhoeffer's ethics of Christian discipleship, Maloney sought to make Davidson students aware of and engage with the intersections of religion and society.

The Maloney Endowment for the Study of Religion and Society is made possible by the generous gifts of the Thomas Jefferson family of Richmond, Virginia. The endowment seeks to honor Professor Maloney's tenure at Davidson and to enhance the legacy of his ongoing concern for the social, cultural, and ethical dimensions, of religious life.

Maloney Lectureships

2018 Jeffrey J. Kripal, Ph.D., J. Newton Rayzor Chair in Philosophy and Religious Thought, Rice University, "Changed in a Flash: How One Woman Was Struck by Lightning, Talked to God, and Came Back to Dream the Future" and "Drawn In: UFOs and the Afterlife--the Case of Anne."

2018 Eric Sapp, Founder, Eleison, "Faith, Politics, and the 2018 Election: Stories from past campaigns and hope for our future."

2017 Stephen Prothero, C. Allyn and Elizabeth V. Russell Professor of Religion at Boston University, “The Art of Getting Lost: Wandering in the World’s Religions,” “Leaving and Letting Go” and “Reckoning and Return.”

2017 Janet Gyatso, Hershey Professor of Buddhist Studies, Associate Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, Harvard University Divinity School. Cosponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium.

2016 Christian Wiman, Senior Lecturer in Religion and Literature, Yale Divinity School, "Hammer is the Prayer: On Artistic Inspiration and the Limits of Devotion: and "Ten Demented Chickens: Poems, Prayers and other Expostulations."

2014 Richard B. Miller, Provost Professor, Department of Religious Studies, Indiana University, "Empathy: The Future of Another Illusion" and "The Ethics of Empathy: Feeling, Imagination, and Judgment." 

2013 Nigel Biggar, Christ Church College, Oxford, "Christian Love and Forgiveness in the context of Human Conflict" and "The Role of Religious Ethics in Contemporary Liberal Society."

2012 John Dominic Crossan, "Jesus and the Kingdom of God" and "Paul and the Challenge of Equality."

2011 Mark Noll, Notre Dame, "The Bible and American Public Life" and "When It All Broke Loose for the Bible:  The 1880s, Catholics, Jews, Blacks, the Courts, Evolution, Revivalism, Higher Criticism-the Works!"

2010 Curtis Evans, University of Chicago Divinity School, "The Problem and Potential of the Black Church" and "Demonstrating the Sufficiency of Christianity to Solve the Race Problem."

2009 Bart Ehrman, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, "Is the New Testament Confused?" and "Is the New Testament Forged?"

2008 Courtney Bender, Columbia University, "Seekers, Secrets, and Sheilas: Locating Contemporary Spirituality" and "Becoming a Mystic: On 'Absent' Traditions in American Religion."

2007 Abdullahi Ahmed An-Na’im, Emory University School of Law, “Secularism from an Islamic Perspective” and “Islam, Shari’a, and Human Rights.”

2006 Deidre McCloskey, University of Illinois at Chicago, “The Theology of an Ethical Capitalism.” Co-sponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium: “Christianity and Capitalism.”

2006 William Schweiker, University of Chicago, “The Theology of an Ethical Capitalism.” Co-sponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium: “Christianity and Capitalism.”

2006 Kathryn Tanner, University of Chicago, “Grace and Global Capitalism” (March 2006). Co-sponsored by the J. M. P. Otts Lectures Series as part of a Maloney-Otts Symposium: “Christianity and Capitalism.”

2005 Lawrence Sullivan, Professor of Comparative Religions, University of Notre Dame, "Steward of the Sacred: Caring for Religious Art" and "Religion, Sacred Art & Democracy.”

2004 Sharon Welch, Professor of Religion and Director of Graduate Studies at University of Missouri-Columbia, "After Empire: The Art and Ethos of Enduring Peace.”

2003 Gustav Niebuhr, national correspondent for The New York Times, "Living with Religious Diversity in a Dark Time" and "The Problem of Religion as News.”

2002 George E. Tinker, Professor of American Indian Cultures and Religious Traditions at Iliff School of Theology.

2001 Donald W. Shriver, President emeritus of Union Theological Seminary (New York), "A Past Worth Celebrating" and "A Future Worth Hoping For.”

Maloney Essay Winners

2024 Sarah Brown, "Sufi Insights in William James’s Four Marks: Nuances Unveiled and Discrepancies Uncovered"

2024 Meghan Lagoutine, "Patriarch Kirill: Modern Just War Theologian?"

2023 Grace Gardella, "The Digital and Divine Realm: Redefining Protestant Christian Worship following COVID-19 Reliance on Virtual Spaces."

2023 Clare Harbin, "The Buddhist Economics University: A Chang Rai Village's Radical Act of Justice for their Community and the Earth."

2022 Anna Kathryn Kilby,Harmed but Hopeful: Queerness with the Southern American Quaker Church.”

2021 Beatrice C. Levy, “Dance as Sacred Afro-Atlantic Shapeshifting.”

2020 Brody McCurdy, “The Hebrew Bible as the Post-Exilic Temple.”

2019 Emily Privott, “Qoheleth, Wendell Berry, and the Identity of Work.”

2018 Sarah Fink, "Filling China's Spiritual Void: Growing Han Chinese Interest in Tibetan Buddhism and the Possible Implications of this Trend."

2017 Sara Aziz, "Travels & Tribulations."

2017 Matthew Anthony, "Qoheleth: the First Existentialist." 

2016 Elizabeth Welliver, "Take, this is my body: A Eucharistic Reading of Woman's Body and Christ's Motherhood in Julian of Norwich's Revelations of Divine Love."

2015 Michael D'Andrea, "David Foster Wallace and H. Richard Niebuhr: A Critique of Contemporary America."

2015 Natalie Kuzmanovich, "Looking Back at Lot's Wife: An Intertextual Analysis."

2014 Sawyer Hicks, "The Ba'th, the Brotherhood, and How Political Sectarianism Destroyed Modern Syria."

2014 Emily Wilkes, "Psalm 55: Sexual Violence and Speaking Against Silence."

2013 Sarah Louisa Lanners, "The Limitations of Spiritual Gifts: Disownment as a Self-Definition Process for American Quakerism, 1776-1880."

2012 Zachary Herron, "Speaking through the Gods: Chinese Malaysian Construction of an Ethnic Identity through Localized Religious Imaginings."

2011 Jamie Suzanne Hofmeister, "Psalm 139 Through a Lesbian Lens."

2010 Marjie Harmon, "Sam Walton's Gospel Meets the Christian Gospel: A Theological Analysis of Wal-Mart Remuneration Practices."

2009 Dave Orsbon, " A New Historicist Analysis of Bede: Applying Of Schemes and Tropes to the Ecclesiastical History."

2008 Sarah Pinson, "Some More Equal than Others? Gendered Sin in Kierkegaardian and Feminist Theology."

2007 Elizabeth Ireland, "Out of Boundaries, an Inner Mexico: An Analysis of Migrant Ex-Votos."

2006 Heather Yopp, "Women's Ordination in the Catholic Church."

2005 Katey Zeh, "Affirming the Maternal: Toward a Theology of Motherhood."

2004 Mark Murray, "Alienation Under God: The Evolution of Apocalyptic Imagery in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Ghostbusters, and Independence Day."

2003 Elise Tabata, "The Rights and the Responsibilities of the Believer in the Face of Religious Diversity."

2002 Todd Day, "Shiva and Shaman."

2002 Tyler Reed, "Dwight L. Moody: A Businessman in the Religious Market Economy of the Industrial Revolution."

2001 Carley Goodnoe, "Dressage: The Art of Dialogue. An Application of Martin Buber's I and Thou to the Equestrian Art of Dressage."