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Dear alumni/ae and friends,

We proudly welcomed 64 Divinity and 14 Graduate Department of Religion graduates into the Vanderbilt alumni/ae family with hugs and cheers during an especially beautiful Commencement day on Alumni Lawn and inside Benton Chapel.

Twenty-one of our students earned certificates in the Carpenter Program in Religion, Gender, and Sexuality; the Kelly Miller Smith Institute on Black Church Studies; and Religion in the Arts and Contemporary Culture.

We also celebrated the accomplishments of our 97th Founder’s Medalist, Samantha Tashman McGlothlin, and those who received awards for scholarship and service.

In addition, the Student Government Association honored Shakiya LaVonne Canty, MDiv’16; Sha’Tika Brown, program and events coordinator; and David Michelson, assistant professor of the history of Christianity; for their service to the Divinity community. Please check Instagram to see additional Commencement photos.

I am thankful that the academic summer break provides time for rest and reflection as well as strategic planning and preparations for fall. Several of our students will pursue their research through the Imagination Grants and Divinity-sponsored travel seminars.

In addition, Terrance Dean, MTS’14 and a second-year Ph.D. student in homiletics and liturgics in the Graduate Department of Religion, has been awarded a Nichols Humanitarian Fund award for summer research. Dean will travel to Johannesburg, South Africa, where he will work with Justice Edward Cameron of the Constitutional Court of South Africa to review the constitutional laws, amendments and rulings on the judicial, political, economic and social lives of LGBT persons. He will coordinate his work with Gay and Lesbian Memory in Action, which archives the narratives, stories and experiences of LGBT South Africans. Watch for a future VDS blog post on Dean’s South African journey.

Please stay in touch this summer through VDS social media.




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