William L. Davis, S.J. Lecture Series

Lecture Series

Check back for upcoming events.

The Symposium on the Past, Present & Future of Chicano/a/x Studies Recordings

The symposium, held March 2, 2024, brought together scholars, students, and community members for conversations related to Chicano/a History and Chicano/a Studies in honor of the work and legacy of Dr. Deena González. Participants reflected on the geneses of the fields, considered the state of these disciplines today and imagined a trajectory for the future.

Featuring scholars Antonia Castañeda, Alicia Gaspar de Alba, Fernando Guerra, Ramón Gutiérrez, L Heidenreich, Susan Johnson, Emma Pérez, and Yvette Saavedra

Watch the session recordings:

Session 1: The Past of Chicano/a History: Reflections on the Origins of the Field
Session 2: The Present of Chicano/a History: Students Making History
Session 3: The Future of Chicano/a History: Where do we go from here?
William L. Davis, S.J. Lecture: The Women in My Life

History of the William L. Davis, S.J., Lecture Series

Fr. William Lyle Davis, S.J. (Photo credit: Gonzaga University Archives)

In the summer of 1971, Gonzaga University’s History Department received a substantial gift from Edgar and Zita Berners of Green Bay, Wisconsin. The gift provides funds for an annual lecture memorializing the career of Fr. William Lyle Davis, S.J., who died earlier that year. Fr. Davis had taught history at Gonzaga since 1931 and was Zita Berners's brother. Fr. Anthony P. Via, S.J., a close friend and former student of Fr. Davis, became the first to manage the lecture, in part because the Zita and Edgar wanted in that role someone who had a personal connection with Fr. "Pop" Davis.

For the first seven years, a formal dinner with upwards of sixty distinguished guests began the evening, and Gonzaga University Press published the first three lectures.  Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., a Harvard historian and the winner of two Pulitzer Prizes, inaugurated the series. Several former Gonzaga graduates have also served as Davis Lecturers, including Richard S. Kirkendall, historian and former student of Fr. Davis, Professor Nancy Unger of Santa Clara University, Professor Robert M. Carriker of the University of Louisiana, and Professor Stefan Bradley of Amherst College.

The William L. Davis, S.J. Lecture has for over 50 years featured scholars who have traveled from Europe, Canada, and across the US to present their research.  Their research has provided open discussions about a variety of topics that have enriched our campus and exchanged ideas with Gonzaga students, staff, and faculty, and the greater Spokane community.  Recent lecture topics include the Vietnam War, US immigration policies, Washington WWI veterans, race, freedom, and the law, Civil Rights activism, children during the Civil War, the Afghanistan War, and our shared national narrative.

The Davis Lecture is often held during the spring semester.  Check this page or the Gonzaga University Calendar for upcoming events.

For more information on the Davis Lecture, please contact Dr. Ostendorf, ostendorf@gonzaga.edu or (509) 313-5948.

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