The Need for Leaders Who Serve

Dean David Hempton, photo by Tony Rinaldo

To make the world a better place, you need "boots on the ground": people who show up at a crowded cell in Burundi to help secure the freedom of those who have been tossed in without a trial; people who distribute medical supplies in the ruins of an earthquake in Haiti; and people who hold communities together by being there for the milestones of our lives—when we're born, when we marry, when we die—and during the thousands of moments in between when we struggle with what it means to be human.

In a word, you need leaders who serve.

A devotion to service is literally in the DNA of Harvard Divinity School. You can find it in Harvard President John Kirkland’s 1815 appeal to fund an institution that would educate those who "enter our houses in affliction…" and "give us light, admonition, and consolation in suffering, sickness, and the last hours of life." It’s there in the School’s earliest years, when students engaged in prison ministry and created a Philanthropic Society dedicated to the promotion of peace and education and to the alleviation of poverty, among other "benevolent projects of the day."

Two centuries later, HDS still empowers men and women who serve their communities, societies, and the world. For some, this means religious leadership—whether as an Episcopal priest, a Buddhist minister, or a Muslim chaplain. For others, it means working with the U.S. secretary of state to navigate the dynamics of the world’s religious communities, or helping nations build public health infrastructure, or running a global NGO dedicated to ending torture around the world. In all, between 70 and 80 percent of HDS graduates embark on careers in education or service.

Read this year's Dean's Report and you’ll see how our students, alumni, and faculty make a difference in the world by serving others—at times in ways that are unseen and thankless, yet are critical to progress. It is through their work—and your support—that the Divinity School has its most direct impact on the lives of people around the world. It is these efforts we mean to strengthen and expand through the success of the Campaign for HDS.

Thank you for being our partners and our stewards.

David N. Hempton
Dean of the Faculty of Divinity
Alonzo L. McDonald Family Professor of Evangelical Theological Studies
John Lord O’Brian Professor of Divinity