Letter from Associate Dean Hannah T. Peters

Two hundred years ago this December, former U.S. President John Adams made a gift of $100 to a new society "for the education of candidates for the ministry in Cambridge University." Of his contribution, which made him a lifetime member of the group, Adams wrote: "I never did any thing with more satisfaction than by contributing a mite towards removing some of the shackles of the human mind."

The institution to which Adams referred became Harvard Divinity School. As we look forward to HDS's third century, it's clear that his spirit lives on in the gifts of alumni and friends like you.

In the 2014–15 academic year, your gifts enabled the preeminent research and teaching that are the key to unlocking the "shackles" of which Adams wrote. They also funded innovative learning experiences through the School's unrivaled field education program. (I hope you'll read the profile of this extraordinary program in the following pages of this report.)

Perhaps most important, your gifts made it possible for HDS to offer scholarships to nearly 90 percent of its students last year: the MDiv student from southern California who taught writing, history, and mindfulness to prison inmates as part of her studies; the African American lawyer from Seattle who responded to racially charged violence by cofounding a student initiative on healing and reconciliation; the doctor from India who seeks to bridge the worlds of spirituality and psychiatry through multifaith hospital chaplaincy. And thanks to you, these remarkable men and women will graduate and answer the call to service largely unencumbered by educational debt.

As we pass the midpoint of the Campaign for Harvard Divinity School, we've raised more than $25.5M of our $50M goal—and we're just getting started. Stay tuned in the year ahead for details about the School's bicentennial celebration, which will kick off next year. Until then, my most profound thanks for all you do for our students and faculty as they "illuminate, engage, and serve."

Hannah Peters
Associate Dean for Development and External Relations