Bill Richards portrait

The Rebirth of Psychedelic Research – Faith, Revelation and Healing

Bill Richards 

Psychologist, Johns Hopkins Center for Psychedelic and Consciousness Research
Senior advisor, Sunstone Therapies

Feb. 26, 2024 at 7:30 p.m. 

Degenstein Center Theater


Involved in psychedelic research since 1963, Bill Richards has implemented projects with LSD, DPT, MDA and psilocybin to investigate the promise of psychedelics in the treatment of alcoholism, depression, narcotic addiction and the psychological distress associated with terminal cancer and the use of psychedelics in the training of religious and mental-health professionals. 

His recent research at Johns Hopkins, in collaboration with colleagues at New York University, has focused on the potential value of psilocybin in the continuing education of professional religious leaders from different world religions. His book,  Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences, published by Columbia University Press, has been translated into multiple languages.

Richards received a Master of Divinity at Yale University before going on to earn his doctorate at Catholic University. He studied with Abraham Maslow at Brandeis University and with Hanscarl Leuner at Georg-August University in Göttingen, Germany. 

Richards will be available to sign copies of his book, Sacred Knowledge: Psychedelics and Religious Experiences, which will be available for purchase in the Degenstein Center Theater lobby before and after the lecture.

About the Program

Each year, the Department of Religious Studies sponsors a lecture by nationally and internationally renowned religious scholars and leaders.

While religious faith is personal, it is never merely private. The lectures typically explore the role religion plays in various aspects of public life: civic, social, spiritual, political, moral, environmental, and in terms of the formation of individual character.

Lecturers are selected on the basis of their scholarship and their ability to engage students and members of the community meaningfully.

Alice Pope Shade Fund

Lectures are made possible by the Alice Pope Shade Fund, which was established in 1983 by Rebecca Shade Mignot ’54 to honor her mother, Alice. Mignot graduated from Susquehanna with a degree in music education.

Past Speakers

  • 2022–23: Irshad Manji
  • 2021–22: J.C. Watts Jr.
  • 2019–20: Mary Robinson
  • 2018–19: Joe Lieberman
  • 2017–18: Leymah Gbowee
  • 2016–17: David Gregory-“An Unlikely Spiritual Journey”
  • 2015–16: Dr. John L. Esposito
  • 2013–2014: The Rev. Dr. William H. Willimon-“Thinking About Jesus in a Post-Christian World”
  • 2012–13: The Yuval Ron Ensemble-“The Mystical Music of the Middle East”
  • 2011–12: Robert Putnam-“American Grace: How Religion Unites Us and Divides Us”
  • 2010–11: Dean Brackley-“Sustaining the Commitment to Social Justice”
  • 2009–10: Charles Mathewes-“Faith, Irony, and Power: Niebuhrian Lessons for Liberal Education”
  • 2008–09: Amy-Jill Levine-“The Scandal of a Jewish Jesus”
  • 2007–08: John Grim and Mary Evelyn Tucker-“The Emerging Alliance of Religion and Ecology”
  • 2006–07: The Rev. Jim Wallis-“God’s Politics”
  • 2005–06: Guillermo Cuéllar, Donna Peña, Rafael Malpica-Padilla, Bill Dexheimer-Pharris, and Tom Witt-“Hymns of Justice, Solidarity and Peace”

Lectureships & Speaker Series 

Susquehanna’s diverse selection of lectureships and speaker series brings together esteemed scholars, industry leaders and influential voices to share their expertise and perspectives with the campus community. These events serve as vibrant platforms for critical thinking, fostering a culture of intellectual exploration and innovation.

See more Lecture events