The brothers Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr, both Elmhurst alumni, rank among the pre-eminent American theologians of the 20th century. Their bold scholarship and commitment to social engagement helped shape the political and religious thinking of their time—and ours.
The historian Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr. called Reinhold Niebuhr “the supreme American theologian of the twentieth century.” Niebuhr’s writings and dynamic lectures made him a national figure from the 1930s to the 1970s, and his work continues to inform the social and political debates of the present day.
The Encyclopedia of Religion and Social Science ranks H. Richard Niebuhr “alongside Jonathan Edwards as one of the truly creative American theologians.” Both Reinhold and H. Richard Niebuhr exemplified lives of faith that demonstrated the relevance of belief to contemporary culture.
The spirit of the Niebuhrs lives on at Elmhurst College. As a faith-based, service-oriented college that aims to prepare students for lives filled with purpose and meaning, the College honors the legacy of these two remarkable alumni.