News Center

Religious Historian and Theologian Esther Mombo to Visit Hendrix to Present Steel Center Lecture

October 25 discussion and October 26 lecture both free and open to the public  

CONWAY, Ark. (October 2, 2023) — Hendrix College and the Marshall T. Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy on October 25 and 26 will welcome Kenyan religious historian and theologian Esther Mombo for two campus events. Both gatherings are free and open to the public. 

On Wednesday, October 25, Mombo will lead a Steel Center Wednesday Afternoon Discussion on The Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians from 4:10-5:10 p.m. in Ellis Hall, building 20 on the current campus map. Mombo is an active member of the Circle of Concerned African Women Theologians, a group of scholar-activists across sub-Saharan Africa that uses theology and religious studies to challenge texts and traditions that marginalize women. She is also a practitioner at the intersection of religion and public health.

On Thursday, October 26, at 7 p.m. in Mills Center Lecture Hall A (building 10 on the map linked above), Mombo will deliver the fall Steel Center lecture, “The Social Face of Pandemics in East Africa and Beyond.” In her lecture, Mombo will draw upon her work to address the ways that pandemics such as HIV/AIDS and COVID-19 and the effects of climate change further subjugate vulnerable communities. 

Mombo will also visit several classes during her time on campus to engage Hendrix students in discussion surrounding these topics and more.

“I’m thrilled Dr. Mombo will be here,” says Dr. Emmy Corey, assistant professor of religious studies. Corey, who this semester is teaching courses on feminist and womanist ethics, religion and healing, and African religions, draws upon Mombo’s work in all of her current teaching topics. “Dr. Mombo’s work gives visibility to a number of themes in my courses this semester. My students have been exposed to the issues that Mombo and other members of the Circle work on. But they can feel more abstract when reading about them in articles or hearing about them in lectures. Her presence here not only makes those issues much more concrete and engaging, but it also will underscore their importance.” 

A lay leader in the Anglican Church of Kenya, Mombo has been a speaker at multiple global gatherings of the Anglican Communion. Mombo is the former deputy vice chancellor and professor in the school of theology at St. Paul’s University in Limuru, Kenya. She is currently a visiting scholar at Columbia Seminary in Decatur, Georgia. Mombo holds a master’s in philosophy from Trinity College in Dublin and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh. She also holds honorary degrees from Virginia Theological Seminary and Church Divinity School of the Pacific.

About the Steel Center

The Marshall T. Steel Center for the Study of Religion and Philosophy is named for Dr. Marshall T. Steel, Distinguished Alumnus and President of the College from 1958 to 1969. The Steel Center was made possible by a bequest from Mrs. Ruth Veasey of Dermott, Arkansas. Among its functions, the Steel Center sponsors conferences which include students, faculty, and off-campus visitors. The Purpose of the Steel Center is to enhance the College’s academic study of the fields of religion and philosophy, and to promote the study of religion and philosophy on and beyond the Hendrix campus. In so doing, it is to identify, clarify, and contribute to the emerging religious and philosophical issues of our time.

About Hendrix College

Founded in 1876, Hendrix College is featured in Colleges That Change Lives: 40 Schools That Will Change the Way You Think About Colleges and celebrated among the country’s leading liberal arts colleges for academic quality, engaged learning opportunities and career preparation, vibrant campus life, and value. The Hendrix College Warriors compete in 21 NCAA Division III sports. Hendrix has been affiliated with the United Methodist Church since 1884. Learn more at   

  “… Through engagement that links the classroom with the world, and a commitment to diversity, inclusion, justice, and sustainable living, the Hendrix community inspires students to lead lives of accomplishment, integrity, service, and joy.” —Hendrix College Statement of Purpose