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Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp Appointed the New Richard Lyman Bushman Chair

University of Virginia, Mormon Studies Program

We’re excited to welcome Prof. Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp, who has been appointed the new Richard Lyman Bushman Chair of Mormon Studies at UVA, upon the retirement of Prof. Kathleen Flake. Maffly-Kipp will assume leadership of the Mormon Studies program in late August 2024.

About Laurie F. Maffly-Kipp

Maffly-Kipp is a distinguished scholar in American religious history and holds a Ph.D. from Yale University. She has authored numerous influential works on Mormonism, religion in the American West, and African American religious history. Maffly-Kipp is also a former president of the American Society of Church History and the Mormon History Association.

Maffly-Kipp’s insightful research has earned her prestigious fellowships and accolades, including a research fellowship from the National Endowment for the Humanities. As an educator, she has inspired countless students through her courses at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Washington University in St. Louis.

Maffly-Kipp’s interest in Mormon Studies grew out of early research into the history of American religion in the West. Over the past few decades, she has become an influential interpreter of Latter-day Saint history and participated in shaping the field of Mormon Studies. Her current work promises to expand the field into a much-needed exploration of 21st-century Mormonism outside of North America.

Maffly-Kipp was invited to speak at the first-ever UVA Mormon Studies event in 2014. We have included her speech below as it provides useful insight into who Maffly-Kipp is as a scholar and educator, as well as her perspective on Mormon Studies as a whole.

Read: How to Survey a Religion: Mormonism and the Challenges of Generalization

A Fond Farewell to Prof. Kathleen Flake

Our program has thrived under the leadership of Prof. Kathleen Flake, who was appointed in 2013 as our first Bushman Chair. Her accomplishments are considerable and include stewardship of the highly prestigious Joseph Smith lecture series, the creation of the Early Marriage Database and our program’s interactive website, as well as fellowships for graduate and post-doctoral study.

She has also overseen the expansion of our Mormon Studies Library Collection with new acquisitions, including the extensive Prince Collection, and facilitated access to important primary resources, such as the David McKay and Leonard Arrington diaries (coming soon), via our website.

Thanks to Prof. Flake’s dedication and foresight, UVA’s Mormon Studies program is now considered the leading site for the study of Mormonism outside of Salt Lake City. This is a considerable accomplishment and one for which we are grateful. Her last day as our program chair is May 24.