HDS marked its bicentennial during the 2016–17 academic year with events and exhibits that celebrated the School’s legacy and looked to its future.
August 30: Bicentennial Kicks Off with Exhibit and Addresses by Faust, Rupp
Women’s Studies in Religion Program Director Ann Braude unveils Faces of Divinity: Envisioning inclusion for 200 years, an exhibit that tells the story of the School’s process of opening to new voices and new ideas since its founding in 1816. At convocation, Harvard President Drew Faust calls HDS a “pinnacle of pluralism” and former HDS Dean George Rupp speaks on the challenges of the School’s third century.
October 6: Nobel Peace Prize Winner Speaks during RPP Series
Leymah Gbowee, winner of the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize for efforts that led to the end of the Liberian civil war, speaks about her experiences and insights into peacebuilding as part of the Religions and the Practice of Peace Initiative’s bicentennial colloquium series.
October 14: CSWR Hosts “Religion, Ecology, and Our Planetary Future”
HDS’s Center for the Study of World Religions hosts a major conference to mark the twentieth anniversary of a series of conferences on the religions of the world and ecology and of the scholarly publications that followed from the gatherings.
October 25: Professor Harvey Cox Meets the Pope
Professor Harvey Cox meets Pope Francis in Rome and gives him a copy of his latest book, The Market as God.
November 3: Baltimore Mayor Rawlings-Blake Speaks on Leading during Crisis
Baltimore mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake discusses the challenges of leading a city in a turbulent racial and political climate during a talk at HDS.
December 8: RLP Launches Religious Literacy in the Professions Initiative
In an effort to enhance understanding of religions to undercut bigotry and prejudice, the Religious Literacy Project at HDS organizes symposia around religious literacy in journalism and later in humanitarian action. The events attract some of the nation’s leading religion reporters and humanitarian crisis workers.
January 26: RPP Leads Discussion on Peace Efforts in Boston
A group of Boston community leaders examines the inspirational work being done in the city’s African American communities to address the effects and sources of gun violence, as part of the Schools’ religions and the practice of the peace initiative colloquium series.
March 11: Dean Hempton Visits Alumni in Asia
At venues that include the Harvard clubs of Japan, Korea, and Hong Kong Dean David Hempton delivers talks on religion in U.S. politics and meets with HDS and Harvard alumni.
March 30: Student Aims to Bridge Virtual Reality and Religious Studies
Dozens of people line up to experience virtual reality environments that explore subjects like mortality and tai chi during an event organized by the student-led HDS augmented and virtual reality collective. The “consciousness hacking” event aims to bridge the disparate worlds of tech engineering and development and the study of religion, morality, and ethics.
March 31: Report Examines Religious Literacy in Humanitarian Organizations
Researchers from Oxfam and HDS’s Religious Literacy Project at Harvard Divinity School release a report on secular and faith-inspired international humanitarian organizations and how they would benefit from a higher level of religious literacy to understand the religious dimensions of the contexts in which they work.
April 4: Dean Names Charles Stang Next CSWR Director
Charles Stang, Professor of Early Christian Thought, is appointed director of the Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School, effective July 1, 2017. He succeeds Francis x. Clooney, S.J., Parkman Professor of Divinity and Professor of Comparative Theology, who steps down after leading the center for seven years.
April 10: Civil rights Icon Ruby Sales Inspires at HDS
Ruby Sales, public theologian, founder and director of the Spirit House Project, speaks at HDS about the spiritual work of re-imagining democracy, linking multiple struggles, protecting human dignity, and cultivating solidarity in the U.S. today.
April 27: Marilynne Robinson Delivers Ingersoll Lecture
Award- winning author marilynne Robinson delivers the 2017 Ingersoll Lecture on Immortality, “Old Souls, New World,” a talk on New England religious history and recovering “languages that can acknowledge the great mystery and dignity of humankind.”
April 27–29: HDS Raises the Roof with Bicentennial Gala
Students, staff, faculty, the university community, and hundreds of alumni from across the world come together at HDS for three days of insightful panels, a special reunion, and a party to celebrate the School’s 200th anniversary. Harvard President Drew Faust speaks on HDS’s tradition of “useful goodness,” and alumni and friends of the School are honored with the Gomes and Dean’s Distinguished Service awards.
May 25: Commencement 2017
HDS awards diplomas to 106 graduates during its annual ceremony on the campus green. Class speaker David D. Price, MDiv ’17, delivers the student commencement address, “a step toward freedom.”