May 24, 2007
Vol. 26 No. 17

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    Boden to depart for Princeton post

    By Josh Schonwald
    News Office

    Alison Boden, Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel for the past 12 years, has been named Dean of Religious Life and the Chapel at Princeton University. Her last day at the University will be Tuesday, July 31.

    As Dean of Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, Boden has provided intellectual, spiritual and community service leadership of the very highest order, wrote Provost Thomas Rosenbaum in a letter to the University community. “At the University’s most public occasions, in serious one-on-one conversations, in casual encounters on the street, indeed in every aspect of her life,” Rosenbaum said, “Alison dedicated herself to providing guidance that respects people of all faiths and no faith.”

    Boden, who also has served as a senior lecturer in the Divinity School and the College, has worked to raise the chapel’s profile on the campus, in the city and throughout the region. Her efforts have included opening an Interreligious Center in the chapel’s basement, creating programs on such topics as religion and violence, and organizing and leading delegations abroad to explore the subject of religion, human rights and social change.

    She spearheaded the three-year, $1 million project to convert Rockefeller Chapel’s basement into the Interreligious Center, a prayer, worship and meditation center, which opened in April 2006. She also helped create an Interreligious Council, a body of students representing each religious tradition, responsible for programming, community-building and promoting respect for and between religious groups on campus.

    In addition to creating a variety of programs on religious and ethical subjects for the campus community, Boden has developed interreligious opportunities for worship or reflection focused on important observances and issues such as 9/11, Earth Day and sexual violence.

    “I’ve had a dozen wonderful years at the University,” said Boden. “It’s been a privilege to work with exemplary people to build a comprehensive religious-life program. There have been numerous challenges, but they have been the right challenges, critical to helping us articulate how we should ‘be’ together in an institution that is formally secular but in practice quite interreligious. I leave with a very deep sense of gratitude.”

    The Provost is appointing a search committee to recommend Boden’s successor.