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Dear alumni/ae and friends,

One of the most enjoyable parts of my job is recognizing the extraordinary achievements of my Divinity School colleagues. I am proud that two of our faculty members—Choon-Leong Seow and Joerg Rieger— were among nine new Vanderbilt endowed chair holders honored at a recent celebration.

I also want to congratulate John Compton, MDiv’15, the program coordinator for Rooted Community Health, which won Vanderbilt Football’s “Greenest Group on Campus” award. Compton accepted the award on behalf of the group during an on-field award ceremony at a recent game. This is just one example of how our alumni/ae continue to make a difference in this world through faith, passion and commitment to social justice.

As we anticipate the coming local, state and federal elections, the importance of the right to vote also looms before us. I remember well the thrill and responsibility I felt when I voted in my first election. I had been taught and I continue to believe that all citizens have the right to vote and it’s our responsibility to do so. It’s with great alarm that I notice a growing number of reports of voter disenfranchisement and voter suppression. The vibrant democracy we seek depends on the free exercise of the right to vote. Let’s work to preserve this most important exercise of citizenship responsibility in this election and beyond.


Emilie M. Townes

E. Rhodes and Leona B. Carpenter Chair
Professor of Womanist Ethics and Society

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