LSTC mourns former president Lesher, a driving force behind the Zygon Center

Rev. William Lesher/©Parliament of the World’s Religions

The Rev. William E. Lesher, who died on Jan. 23, was the longest serving president in the Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago’s history, renowned for his support of faith and science scholarship at the school.

Lesher served as LSTC president from 1978 to 1997. He graduated from Chicago Lutheran Theological Seminary, one of LSTC’s predecessor schools, in 1958, and served as associate professor of parish renewal at LSTC in the early 1970s.

He will be remembered in his integral work in establishing the Zygon Center for Religion and Science at LSTC in the 1970s. He also supported Institute for Religion in the Age of Science (IRAS), founder Ralph Wendell Burhoe’s vision for the religion and science dialogue, and the establishment the Center for the Advanced Study in Religion and Science at LSTC.

Upon the center moving from Meadville/Lombard to LSTC, CASIRAS began to offer an advanced seminar in religion and science that was led by Burhoe and Philip Hefner.

Hefner, professor emeritus of systematic theology and senior fellow of the Zygon Center for Religion and Science, said, “In the last months of his life, Bill Lesher spoke of moving into the Immensity. He lived a life of immensity, his death is an immense loss, and he blessed us immensely.”

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