Programs & Events

Erik S. Kristensen Memorial Lecture Series


Erik_S._Kristensen.jpgHonoring Fallen Navy SEAL

Established in 2013, this lecture series jointly sponsored by St. John’s College and the U.S. Naval Academy honors LCDR Erik S. Kristensen, an alumnus of the United States Naval Academy and the St. John's College Graduate Institute in Liberal Education. As recounted in the new film Lone Survivor, Kristensen, a Navy SEAL, was killed in the line of duty while leading a bold search and rescue mission in Afghanistan in 2005. The annual lecture series was initiated by another St. John’s alumnus, Lt. Michael Zampella, along with friends and family, to create even greater ties between his two alma maters and to educate the public about civil-military relations by emphasizing the role of the liberal arts in naval and military education. “He was the model scholar-warrior, with a passion for learning that equaled his passion for military service,” writes President Christopher B. Nelson in his blog for Huffington Post.

2015 Memorial Lecture

Author and psychiatrist Jonathan Shay will deliver the 2015 Kristensen Memorial Lecture entitled “Homer on Military Leadership” at St. John’s College. The lecture, which is free and open to the public, will be held in the Francis Scott Key Auditorium on Wednesday, April 15 at 8 p.m.

Shay served for 20 years as a staff psychiatrist at the Department of Veterans Affairs Outpatient Clinic, Boston, where his only patients were combat veterans with severe psychological injuries. An opponent of the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Shay has introduced the concept of “moral injury” and has developed strategies to treat its effects. He retired from clinical work in 2008 to devote himself full time to preventive psychiatry in military organizations.

Shay is the author of “Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character” and “Odysseus in America: Combat Trauma and the Trials of Homecoming.” He is currently working on a multi-volume publication titled “Trust within Fighting Forces: Its Significance, Its Creation, Maintenance, and Destruction.”

The lecture is part of the joint lectures series between St. John’s College and the U.S. Naval Academy to honor the memory of Lieutenant Commander Erik S. Kristensen, an alumnus of the St. John’s College Graduate Institute. As recounted in the 2013 film “Lone Survivor,” Kristensen, a Navy SEAL, was killed in the line of duty while leading a search and rescue mission in Afghanistan in 2005. This lecture series aims to create even greater ties between the two schools, as well as to educate the public about civil-military relations and the place of the liberal arts in education of naval and military professions.