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State of the GTU

Dear Friends of the Graduate Theological Union,
The financial and economic crisis facing our nation has presented challenges for the GTU as well as for many other institutions and for many people in their personal lives. Many GTU friends, alumni, and staff have asked about how GTU is faring and what people can do to help. We are so grateful that our well being is on your minds and in your hearts. We especially thank those, who in this difficult time, are stepping forward to support our students and the unique interreligious programs that make us the most diverse partnership of graduate schools in the United States.

Consortial Registrar Sharon-Gay Smith Leaves GTU after 37 Years

“My job isn’t a job. It’s a ministry. And the GTU has given me community and allowed me to practice my ministry.”

Sharon-Gay SmithThat’s what Sharon-Gay Smith says of her 37 years of work at the Graduate Theological Union. In return, from 1971 when she worked the GTU’s PBX system (remember those?) and typed transcripts by hand, to 1989 when she became common registrar, to 2008, Smith has given the GTU her loyalty. Day in and day out, she has given students down-to-earth, day-to-day practical help, ranging from advice about where to find affordable housing to how to register for classes.

Learning to Speak a New Tongue: Imagining a Way that Holds People Together

Fumitaka Matsuoka"Who are we as Americans? What will bring people together as Americans today and tomorrow?" Fumitaka Matsuoka attempts to answer these questions in the 2008 GTU Distinguished Faculty Lecture on November 11.

Holger Zellentin, Assistant Professor of Rabbinics and Late Antique Judaism, anticipates community outreach and interreligious collaboration

Holger ZellentinA member of the faculty of the Center for Jewish Studies, Holger Zellentin celebrates the center’s 40th birthday.  He believes that CJS is a pioneering institution with a bright future as it faces new challenges, one of them being adapting to the evolving needs of the GTU’s students, and surrounding community.  He hopes to see more community outreach as a means of growing the center.  In addition, Zellentin would like to see more collaboration among academic institutions, especially between GTU and the University of California, Berkeley.  CJS is focusing on working with the Center for Islamic Studies for interreligious events, the first this year being a co-celebration of Rosh Hashanah and Eid al-Fitr.

Joan McGrath Set To Not Just Survive, But Thrive

Joan McGrathJoan McGrath, chair of the Graduate Theological Union board of trustees, is fascinated by the power of groups to survive and thrive -- the first Christians whose tiny movement grew to today’s two billion; her own successful company built on teamwork and caring ethics; and the GTU, founded by people of distinct faiths committed to learning about one another and bringing a healing message to a world in need. 

Jerome Baggett Wins 2008 Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award

Jerome BaggettSnake-handling Pentecostals in Appalachia, Muslim feminists in the Middle East, and leaders in the Central American peace movement: These are a few of the many religious groups Jerome Baggett encourages his students to explore and “to see.” Baggett is the 2008 recipient of the Sarlo Excellence in Teaching Award, which recognizes 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.

Dr. Linda Frank, GTU's New Vice President for Advancement

“Linda understands and embraces the mission of the GTU with great enthusiasm, and has a wonderful gift of relating with people,” says GTU President James A. Donahue. “We are fortunate to welcome someone with Linda's skills and commitments to the GTU community.”

Prior to joining the GTU in 2007, Dr. Frank was the Executive Director of the Santa Rosa Junior College Foundation. During her nine-year tenure she managed $26 million in assets, including endowment funds which doubled in size to $18 million.

Dr. Mia M. Mochizuki Receives CAA Publication Grant

Dr. Mia M. MochizukiDr. Mia M. Mochizuki, Assistant Professor and Thomas E. Bertelsen, Jr. Chair of Art History and Religion at the Graduate Theological Union and Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley is the recipient of a College Art Association (CAA) Publication Grant for her book, Netherlandish Image after Iconoclasm, 1566-1672 (Ashgate).  The CAA Publication Grant is a single award of $23,000 to a publisher for one book, either under contract or near contract, on a topic in art, art history, art theory or criticism, visual studies, or a related field; the book must make a significant original contribution to art scholarship and research.

Munir Jiwa, Director of New Center for Islamic Studies

Munir JiwaMunir Jiwa, director of the Center for Islamic Studies, and assistant professor of Islamic Studies, has a rich background in engaging difference. His research has addressed mass media portrayals of Islam and Muslims.

Jiwa was previously at the University of Toronto, where he was a Mellon postdoctoral fellow in the Department and Center for the Study of Religion. He holds a master’s degree in religion from Harvard and a doctorate in anthropology from Columbia University.

2006 Reading of the Sacred Texts

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