Baylor Honors College Hosts Scholar and Author Jessica Hooten Wilson, Ph.D., for Drumwright Family Lecture

October 18, 2022
Baylor University Honors College recently hosted Jessica Hooten Wilson, Ph.D., Visiting Scholar of Liberal Arts at Pepperdine University, for its annual Drumwright Family Lecture. Wilson’s talk titled The Little Way through the Apocalypse centered around Saint Thérèse of Lisieux and her Little Way.

“My talk focused on Saint Thérèse’s call to sainthood and how that call is open to everyone,” Wilson said. “Life is not about fixing giant problems and creating Utopia. It’s about small, gradual practices of goodness and love, and I hope the lecture was a gentle reminder of that truth for everyone in attendance.”

Wilson, a Baylor alumna, is no stranger to the Honors College. While completing her Ph.D. in Literature and Religion, she was an instructor in the Great Texts program.

“I love coming home to Baylor and the Honors College,” Wilson said. “There are just lots of memories of the steps that I've taken and the conversations that I've had and the friendships that I made. I can visualize former students' faces in the classroom, so it's a complete joy to come back and be in this space.”

Since her time at Baylor, Wilson has become a renowned scholar and author and a champion for the humanities and classical education. She currently serves on the advisory board for the Classical Learning Test, provides professional development for 10-12 classical schools, and even started her own classical school in Siloam Springs, Ark.

“I love classical education because I find that students who are educated in this way are being formed in a deeper sense of what it means to be human,” Wilson said. “I find a depth to classical education students that I don’t often find when I speak elsewhere. These students understand that they are playing a role in a story that started thousands of years ago and will continue on after them.”

In addition to her love for classical education, Wilson is a specialist in Great Books and Liberal Arts, and particularly enjoys helping students encounter God in the arts and humanities.

“I think stories are essentially embodied theology,” Wilson said. “Stories show us the way to live and be in the world, and so I once I started learning theology, I began to understand why stories had such a hold on my imagination. Then the more I read scripture, the more I understood what stories were true, where to look for beauty, how to discern vice from virtue. With each class I teach, I hope to lead students down a similar path of understanding.”

Her familiarity with Baylor, Christian commitment and scholarly impact made Wilson the perfect candidate to lead this year’s Drumwright Lecture.

“I have known Dr. Wilson since her doctoral student days when I began hearing words of praise about her from her mentors,” Honors College Dean Douglas Henry said. “Since then, I have followed her writing and watched her work soar to new heights. What a joy it was to hear her talk blending together Walker Percy’s novels and St. Thérèse’s reflections. She’s right: we are each day called to the little way in which our weakness is made perfect in Christ’s strength.”

If you would like to hear this year’s Drumwright lecture featuring Dr. Wilson, please click here.