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Welcome from the Dean


Emilie Townes

Welcome to Vanderbilt Divinity School! We are delighted that you are interested in our school and the folks who breathe life into its mission and vision. The Divinity School is committed to preparation for ministry and scholarship in a variety of settings with a focus on our interdenominational spirit and our desire to be a diverse community of teaching and learning. We do so with a strong sense of the importance of providing a lively context to help clergy and laity not only prepare for Christian ministry, but to re-envision ministry to meet the needs of our times by combining spiritual and intellectual growth with a sense of social justice and the formation of a new generation of scholars.

The Divinity School has been a part of Vanderbilt University since its inception. We are one of the few university-based, interdenominational schools for the preparation of ministers and the oldest one in the South. Our nineteenth-century founders adopted a commonplace label for theological institutions of their era, “school of the prophets,” as they sought to lift up the importance of education for clergy. Today, we accept this legacy as we live in a world of a large tent Christianity, religious pluralism, an ever-expanding understanding of the nature of the diversities in our midst, marvelous and challenging cultural differences and more.

These are exciting and perplexing times to join us in the great adventure of faith and scholarship. Here, we ask questions, seek wisdom, embrace academic rigor, explore the depths of the Spirit, and hope to offer thoughtful answers to the quandaries of our day. I trust you will give us serious consideration as you discern the next steps of your journey. Please do not hesitate to be in touch if have any questions.


 Emilie M. Townes

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