Religious Studies Turns 50!
In 1965, after more than 13 years of meetings and negotiations, the Department of Religious Studies as we know it started at Indiana University Bloomington (You can read about the formation of our department in a insightful history by faculty member Sarah Imhoff). To celebrate we hosted our first:
Alumni Reunion Weekend
The Department of Religious Studies was proud to host alumni from around the country for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of the department. Celebrations kicked off Friday night with the Distinguished Alumni Lecture by Jason BeDuhn, the first PhD recipient of the Department. His talk, "The Secret History of Early Christianity: Jesus – Paul – Marcion – Mani – Augustine", was well received by the standing room only crowd at the Lilly Library. After the talk alumni, faculty, and students got a chance to introduce themselves, or reconnect with old friends.
“Where a Religious Studies Degree Can Take You!"
More than 40 alumni and current students gathered for two hours on Saturday morning, for a discussion that confirmed the varied and exciting paths open to the intellectually adventurous, caring, and committed people who become Religious Studies majors. Everyone in attendance described what they are currently studying or have gone on to do after leaving IU, including tales of success in financial planning, labor organizing, book writing, wood working, and editorial work. And five designated alumni spoke about the specific connections between the degree and their professional experiences in business, international law, and education. DeborahPettry ’74 [CHK], speaking as the founder and president of Creative Leaders, an executive leadership consulting firm, described how businesses value people “motivated by mystery” and “tolerant of ambiguity.” Kirk Pinkerton YEAR?, a partner at the Hinshaw Law Firm in Indianapolis, described himself as, still, a religious studies “addict” who continues to think about the ideas that excited him most as an undergraduate forty years ago. Sharon Ackerman traced her numerous international experiences and her expertise in international law back to the capacity to do comparative cultural analysis first honed in her religious studies classes. John Buggeln YEAR’s work at Culvert Academy reaches beyond the classroom to sponsorship of an array of student groups interested in diverse religious traditions and international exchanges, and Emily Hoefling YEAR, currently President of Leadership Prep Canarsie in Brooklyn, NY, spoke about a passion for teaching ignited in her classrooms at IU. Current students, including many who are not (yet!) Religious Studies majors, appreciatively described how helpful it was to have people at so many different stages of life gathered together, sharing stories, expertise, and advice.
Want to network with fellow IU alumni? Join our IU Alumni Facebook page and catch up with old friends!