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Belser brings interdisciplary scholarship to Harvard

Julia Watts BelserRabbi Julia Watts Belser (Ph.D. ‘08) will be Visiting Assistant Professor of Women's Studies and Jewish Ethics at Harvard Divinity School’s Women’s Studies in Religion Program for 2011-12.

Belser, who is Assistant Professor of Judaism at Missouri State University, strives to teach classic Jewish texts in ways that speak to contemporary longings.

Benny Liew (PSR) at Drew's Tipple-Vosburgh Lectures

Tat-Siong Benny Liew will be a keynote speaker at Drew University's Tipple-Vosburgh Lectures, October 18-20, 2011. Liew, Professor of New Testament at Pacific School of Religion, will deliver "What Has Been Done? What Can We Learn? Racial/Ethnic Minority Readings of the Bible." Also present at the lectures will be former PSR faculty members Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, current Dean of Drew Theological School, and Mayra Rivera, currently at Harvard Divinity School.

GTU Doctoral Student Carmen Lansdowne Selected to Receive Second Prestigious FTE Fellowship

Carmen LansdowneCarmen Lansdowne, a GTU doctoral student in Interdisciplinary Studies, has been selected to receive a 2011 Fund for Theological Education (FTE) North American Doctoral Fellowship, a competitive national award with a stipend of between $5,000 and $10,000. Lansdowne, whose research interests include urging the prophetic witness of churches to address the continuing injustices facing native peoples in the Americas, was also a North American Doctoral Fellow in 2010.

GTU Alumna at the helm of new Keshet Bay Area office

Sasha Goldberg (M.A. Judaism '09) heads the new Bay Area office of Keshet, a Jewish LGBT group. Prior to her new position, she was associate director at Nehirim which runs retreats for LGBT Jews. Goldberg is also a consultant on LGBT issues.

In Memoriam: Nicholas V. Riasanovsky

May 14, 2011 - Nicholas Valentine Riasanovsky, an emeritus professor of European history at the University of California, Berkeley, and a leading authority on the history of Russia, died May 14 in an Oakland, Calif., nursing home following a long illness. He was 87.

Riasanovsky had close ties to the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley and was a founder of its Patriarch Athenagoras Orthodox Institute, serving as an institute board member from 1986 to 2005.

In Memoriam: Stephen De Staebler

Stephen Lucas De Staebler, noted Bay Area sculptor, passed away at his home in Berkeley, California, from complications from cancer on May 13, 2011, with family by his side. He was 78. His sculpture Winged Figure is a focal point in the Flora Lamson Hewlett Library. A prominent figure in Bay Area art world, De Staebler was also an emeritus member of the Board of Trustees for the Center for Arts, Religion and Education (CARE), a GTU affiliate.

And the Winner is … Ronald Y. Nakasone for the Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award

Ron NakasoneThis year the Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award honors Ronald (Ron) Y. Nakasone as a teacher who embodies the values of interreligious sensitivity and commitment, interdisciplinary approach and content in teaching, sensitivity to ethnic and cultural diversity, and creative classroom pedagogical methods and performance.

“I am a teacher, yes, but I see myself as a mentor,” says Nakasone, who is a Buddhist cleric from the Pure Land tradition — one of the most popular traditions of Buddhism in East Asia — and a renowned calligrapher. And because of his interest in spirituality and aging, he is also on the faculty at Stanford Geriatric Education Center, charged with training caregivers who work with ethnic minorities.

Documentary Captures Alumna's Journey of Faith and Love

Raw FaithRaw Faith, a surprisingly intimate and revealing documentary featuring an original song by Sheryl Crow, follows two years in the private life of Marilyn Sewell, an outspoken and socially progressive Unitarian minister who has re-energized her Portland community. Sewell graduated 1991 with a Ph.D. from the Graduate Theological Union.

Alumnus Named Next President of Holy Cross

Philip BoroughsThe College of the Holy Cross (Worchester, Mass.) has selected Rev. Philip L. Boroughs, S.J., as the College’s 32nd president beginning January 2012. He graduated in 1989 with a Ph.D. in Christian Spirituality from the Graduate Theological Union. His doctoral dissertation was on John Woolman (1720-1772), the itinerant Quaker preacher in Colonial America, who advocated against slavery and whose journal is considered a spiritual classic. Fr. Boroughs also holds a Licentiate of Sacred Theology from the Jesuit School of Theology in Berkeley.

In Memoriam: Fr. Don Gelpi, S.J., 1934-2011

Father Donald Louis Gelpi, S.J., a member of the New Orleans Province, died on Friday, May 6, 2011 in St. Louis, Missouri, following a long illness. All services will be in St. Louis. Wake services will be held on Monday, May 9, at St. Francis Xavier College Church followed by the Funeral Mass that evening. Burial will be on Tuesday, May 10 at Calvary Cemetery.

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