Department of Religion Celebrates 60 Years

Posted on November 9th, 2020 by

This year, the Department of Religion celebrates its 60th anniversary.

On Saturday, September 26th, 202o, dozens of current and former majors and minors, emeritus and current faculty, as well as the College’s President, came together on Zoom to virtually toast the sixtieth anniversary of the Department of Religion.

Gustavus Adolphus College has, of course, taught religion since the institution’s founding in 1862. For more than a century, the Department of Christianity was home to the many noted faculty and students who spent their time in St. Peter engaged in a deep and rich understanding of the Christian, especially Protestant, tradition.

But sixty years ago, the Department of Christianity became the Department of Religion, beginning a new era for the College, where the teaching of non-Christian traditions would stand alongside Christianity as part of a global humanities education.

The 60th Anniversary event began with some words from current Department chair Dr. Casey Elledge, who noted the faculty’s many scholarly achievements, as well as highlighted how “student research remains central to our work.” “It is truly rewarding,” he said, “to work with students in this endeavor, as they take the intellectual risks involved in following their own inquiry wherever it may lead.”

College President Rebecca Bergman likewise gave remarks, congratulating the Department on its long history and noting the many students from across the decades who had joined the celebrations.

Finally, the floor was open for discussion, where many people reminisced about the Department’s numerous emeritus faculty, each of whom made deep and lasting impact on the Gustavus community.

The Department of Religion is deeply grateful for its many former and current major and minors. Please reach out and keep in touch, and return to this blog and our main website to keep up with the latest Departmental news and events. 


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