The Keller Keynote in Theology and Oratory

Our Founder

The Rev. Dr. Christoph Keller, III founded SUMMA and directed its first camp beginning in 2012. He served as the principal lecturer in both theology and debate for camp until his retirement at Camp 2023. Rev. Dr. Keller is an Episcopal priest and theologian, most recently serving as Dean of Trinity Cathedral in Little Rock. He graduated magna cum laude from Amherst College and earned his master's of divinity from Episcopal Divinity School. He holds a Doctor of Theology (Th.D.) in Anglican Studies (2009) from General Theological Seminary. His field was systemic theology, with a focus on theology and science. His dissertation, "Darwin's Science in Chalcedonian Imagination," explores, affirms, and explains the deep compatibility between Christian faith and evolution. He is an Episcopal Church Foundation Fellow and an honorary Canon of the Diocese of Arkansas. Read more about Rev. Dr. Keller's extraordinary life and career here.

The Keller Keynote

At the 2023 SUMMA Camp, Program Director Melody Lehn and Associate Director Warren Swenson read a Resolution honoring SUMMA founder, the Rev. Dr. Christoph Keller, III. The Resolution announced that in honor of Rev. Dr. Keller's devotion to forming young people in the exploration of life's biggest questions, in recognition for his founding of the Program, and in honor of his love for our Lord Jesus Christ, SUMMA's annual Keynote Lecture will from this point forward be named the "Keller Keynote in Theology and Oratory." Accordingly, the Keller Lecturers will be invited each year to amplify the virtue of faith seeking understanding. The Keller Keynote is open to all SUMMA program participants, alumni, members of the Sewanee community, and other guests. Past Keynote lecturers include:

  • 2024: Dr. Andrew Thompson, Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of the Center for Religion and Environment, the School of Theology at The University of the South.
  • 2023: Dr. Robert MacSwain, Associate Professor of Theology and Christian Ethics, the School of Theology at The University of the South.
  • 2022: Dr. Terry Papillon, Professor of Classics and Rhetoric at The University of the South.

A full copy of the Resolution can be found here.

"I loved being able to talk with my fellow young people of faith. having discussions helped me realize that i am not alone and god is accepting of all of us no matter how different we are."
–Sarah from sewanee, Tennessee, summa camp 2023


Keller Keynote Speaker 2024: Dr. Andrew Thompson

Dr. Andrew Thompson is Assistant Professor of Theological Ethics and Director of the Center for Religion and Environment at The University of the South. Dr. Thompson earned his Ph.D. in Religion from Yale University, and his M.A.R. from Yale Divinity School. He also holds a B.A. in Music Performance from Duquesne University. Prior to coming to Sewanee, he served as an Episcopal missionary in El Salvador, where, with his wife, the Rev. Leigh Preston, he helped establish a school and rural mission. At Sewanee, he teaches courses in Environmental Ethics, Post-Colonial/Antiracist Ethics and Theologies, Feminist and Womanist Ethics, Social Ethics and Community Organizing, and Liberation Theologies. Dr. Thompson’s research focuses on environmental and social ethics and the work of ethicist H. Richard Niebuhr. His first book, All My Holy Mountain: A Christian Ethical Response to Mountaintop Removal Coal Mining, was published in the fall of 2015 by University Press of Kentucky. Dr. Thompson's most recent book, Reconsider the Lilies: Challenging Christian Environmentalism’s Colonial Legacyaddresses whiteness in Christian environmentalism, and was published by Fortress Press in June 2023.