Theologian-In-Residence Series Returns This Month

The popular Theologian-in-Residence program at Tusculum University will return for its 28th year in February to explore a range of religious topics for the community.

Tusculum will host the Theologian-in-Residence series on Tuesdays throughout the month. Each session starts at 10 a.m. and lasts until 12:30 p.m. in the Chalmers Conference Center of the Scott M. Niswonger Commons. Those who register will be eligible to enjoy a free luncheon afterward in the Tusculum cafeteria.

Dr. Jeffrey Perry, an assistant professor of history at Tusculum, will share his research at the Feb. 5 and Feb. 12 sessions, and Dollie Boyd, the university’s director of museums, will provide her insights at the Feb. 19 and Feb. 26 sessions. They will discuss subjects touching on Colonial America, the Revolutionary Era, the founders of Greeneville College and Tusculum Academy and the education of women in the 19th century.

Perry specializes in early American history, with a focus on the legal and religious elements of the post-Revolutionary period, according to a news release. His book “Envisioning Authority in America: Church Discipline and Local Law in Kentucky: 1780-1845,” is under contract for publication with Johns Hopkins University Press.

Boyd oversees the Doak House Museum and the President Andrew Johnson Museum and Library. In her nine years as the leader, the museums have received several grants from multiple organizations and awards from the Tennessee Association of Museums. She has contributed to Tusculum’s continuing development by adding educational programs for children and adults. In March, she will become president of the state museum association.

“We’re thrilled to reinforce our close connections with the community and our Judeo-Christian heritage with highly informative presentations from our subject matter experts,” said Kim Kidwell, director of the Tusculum Fund, who is organizing the series. “Theologian-in-Residence has always provided a high-quality experience for our guests from the community, as well as members of the Tusculum family, and this year’s series will again enthuse our audiences and shed valuable light on the past.”

The session dates and their subjects are:

  • Feb. 5, “Religion in Colonial America” — This session will focus on religion’s role in England’s North American colonies from their settlement through the Great Awakening of the mid-18th century. This session will examine the variety of church-state relationships developed from Massachusetts to the Carolinas and the central role religion played in colonial society.
  • Feb. 12, “A Revolution in Church and State” — This session will explore the religious landscape of the Revolutionary Era and specifically address the rise of once marginal groups such as the Baptists and Methodists and the competition for souls on the frontier. Revivals of the mid-18th Century set the stage for Americans to question religious and civil authorities.
  • Feb. 19, “‘I will never make way for the Devil’: The Differing Presbyterian Theologies of the Founders of Greeneville College and Tusculum Academy” — This session will concentrate on Hezekiah Balch and Samuel Witherspoon Doak. Although they were both Presbyterians, they held differing views of religious ideology.
  • Feb. 26, “The Role of Presbyterians in the Education of Women in the 19th Century” – The 19th Century experienced an exponential rise in the number of colleges for women and previously all-male higher education institutions becoming co-educational. This movement was controversial. In an era when women could not vote and had little political and economic power, some saw the advanced education of women as wasteful or downright harmful. Tusculum admitted women for the first time in 1875.

All sessions are free, but Tusculum appreciates donations, organizers said in the release. Registrations are preferred for planning purposes.

To reserve a seat and lunch or for more information, call the Office of Institutional Advancement at 423-636-7303 or email