On Sept. 3, 2015, the Baylor Department of Religion marked the 50th anniversary of its Graduate Studies Program during a celebration held at Truett Seminary’s Piper Great Hall. More than 70 students, alumni, administrators and faculty (current and retired) attended the luncheon.
Baylor President and Chancellor Ken Starr welcomed guests and reflected on the impact the Graduate Studies Program has had on its students over the decades. Dr. Laine Scales, associate dean of the Graduate School, spoke about the legacy of faculty who were actively involved in church life and committed to mentoring.
Dr. William Pitts, professor of church history in the Department of Religion since 1975, recounted the history of the program. Dr. Pitts relayed how the graduate program was started, the challenges it faced and the achievements it has made throughout the last 50 years.
Dr. James Nogalski, current director of graduate studies for the Department of Religion, said of Dr. Pitts’ presentation, “In the busy rush of everyday tasks and deadlines we rarely pause to consider how far we have come as a program. As Dr. Pitts documented the history of the program, I came away with a profound sense of gratitude for all of those who have labored through the years to help sustain and build the program and for those who serve as its stewards today.”
The celebration concluded with a five-minute video created by current religion student Andrew Kim, which showed photos of faculty, staff and students from 1965 to the present day. Both the history and the video will soon be available on the religion department’s website, along with a booklet of more than 40 testimonials from alumni about their recollections of the program.
“Graduates of the Baylor PhD program in religion have made significant contributions in research, teaching and service in both church and academy,” said religion department chair Dr. William H. Bellinger Jr. “The luncheon marking the 50th anniversary gave us all an opportunity to remember the program’s history and give thanks for its accomplishments at Baylor and beyond, as well as to look forward to a much anticipated future.”
By Coco C. DiMauro
Academic and Student Support Associate
Baylor Department of Religion