Purpose and History

Ronald S. and Kathryn K. Christenson Lectureship in Politics and Law

With generous funding from Kathryn Kidd Christenson to honor her late husband, Ronald Christenson, Gustavus Adolphus College and the Department of Political Science established the Ronald S. Christenson and Kathryn K. Christenson Lectureship in Politics and Law.

Professor Ron Christenson (1937–1998) came to Gustavus in 1969 to help establish a department and major in political science. Ron found his professional passion—political trials—at the intersection of politics and law. His first book, Political Trials: Gordian Knots in the Law (1986, revised edition 1999) and the book popularly known as “Dictionary of Political Trials” (1991) were both published by Transaction Press. Ron co-edited the U.S. edition of Richard Turner’s The Eye of the Needle: Toward Participatory Democracy in South Africa (Orbis Books,
1978), a book banned in South Africa. He received the Gustavus Adolphus College Association of Congregations’ Covenant Award in 1997, the College’s prestigious Edgar M. Carlson Award for Distinguished Teaching in 1993, and the Faculty Scholarly Achievement Award and Faculty Service Award, both in 1987.

Kathryn Christenson, who taught courses in English and women’s studies at Gustavus and was later a staff associate in development and public affairs at the College, endowed the lectureship to reflect her husband’s dual specialties in teaching and scholarship—political theory and history of political thought, combined with constitutional law and jurisprudence.

Lectures are given on alternate years beginning in March of 2015. 

History of Christenson Lectureship Guests