Charles Kimball

Class of 1968
Inducted 2016


Charles Kimball, ThD, Class of 1968, is the Presidential Professor and Director of Religious Studies at the University of Oklahoma. Charles served for 12 years as Chair of the Department of Religion and Professor in the Divinity School at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, NC.  An expert on the Middle East, Charles is a frequent guest on national and local television and radio programs, where he interprets events and interfaith issues. He has delivered lectures at more than 200 colleges and universities, churches, conferences, and civic organizations in the U.S. and Canada. Charles has made important contributions in furthering the cause of inter-religious understanding, human rights, and conflict resolution in the U.S. and throughout the Middle East. Having lived and studied in Cairo, Egypt, Charles returned at the age of 29 to meet with the Ayatollah Khomeini, opening talks to help resolve the standoff over the 52 Americans taken hostage in Iran seven weeks earlier. This meeting and two other trips to Iran during the hostage crisis propelled him into the international media spotlight.

He has traveled extensively throughout Europe and the Middle East and is the founder and adviser for Churches for Middle East Peace in Washington DC. He is the co-founder and board member of U.S. Inter-Religious Committee for Peace in the Middle East and meets frequently with heads of state, foreign ministers, ambassadors in various countries, as well as with the White House, Congress and the State Department. He participated in the Harvard University Center for the Study of World Religions, and in 1972, while a student at Oklahoma State, Charles co-founded the National Student Prayer Breakfast Movement. He has authored five books and has had his work featured in numerous national publications.