Former Berry student kicks off lecture series honoring the late Peter Lawler

David Ramsey, former student of the late Peter Lawler, gives the first Peter Lawler Lecture in the Evans Auditorium. Ramsey is a Berry alum with a bachelor’s degree in government and English with a master’s in liberal arts from St. John’s College, and his doctorate degree in political science from Baylor University.

Berry College alumnus David Ramsey returned to campus Monday night to deliver the first Peter Augustine Lawler Lecture in Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, honoring his former professor, mentor and friend.

Ramsey recognized Lawler, who died unexpectedly in 2017, as being second only to his parents in influencing his life. Like his mentor, Ramsey is a professor of constitutional law and political philosophy, now teaching at the University of West Florida.

“My vocation is an imitation of his,” Ramsey said. “Peter Lawler touched my life at Berry in the most amazing ways. He gave freely of himself to his students and taught me that’s what teaching is about.”

In his presentation, “Great Books and the Good Life,” Ramsey prompted listeners to consider what makes both, stimulating insightful comments from students throughout Evans Auditorium. Monday’s lecture was the first in what college officials hope will become an annual event.

Tom Kennedy, dean of the Evans School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, said, “What better way to celebrate and remember Peter Lawler’s many contributions to Berry College and generations of students than an annual lecture that spurs us to think harder and better about the things that matter.”

Lawler, who taught at Berry for 38 years, was a nationally renowned political scholar and a prolific author and editor of more than 15 books. Appointed by President George W. Bush to serve on the President’s Council on Bioethics, Lawler was a recipient of the Richard M. Weaver Prize for Scholarly Excellence and named the George Washington Distinguished Professor of the American Founding, The Society of the Cincinnati.

Gifts from Berry alumni, family and friends have funded the Peter A. Lawler Endowed Scholarship and named his former office in Evans Hall.