Greetings from the Chair

Dear GDR Graduates, Students, Faculty, and Friends,

It is a pleasure indeed to address you from the page of our first e-Newsletter!  We hope that this publication will provide a vehicle for sharing news several times a year about the exciting things that are happening in the diasporic community of Drew’s Graduate Division of Religion–not least the lives and careers of our alumni and alumnae.  This present issue includes not only some feature articles about events on campus and activities of some of our alums, students, and faculty but also a fledging version of “Alumni/ae News & Notes.” Next time we hope to include “News & Notes” from faculty and current students as well.   So please consider this a warm invitation to send us your reports, as well as to suggest possibilities for feature articles!   You may send them directly to me at And many thanks to those of you who shared your news with us for this issue!

Among the exciting pieces of local news this year is the addition of two tenure-track faculty members:  Dr. Kate Ott, Assistant Professor of Christian Social Ethics, and Dr. Elias Ortega-Aponte, Assistant Professor of Afro-Latina/o Religions and Cultural Studies (a co-appointment with the College of Liberal Arts).   You may read a bit more about them below.  They are already adding their considerable energy and creativity to our mix!

I am proud of what we have accomplished at the GDR.  With the introduction of interdisciplinary doctoral seminars, monthly GDR-wide colloquia, Area colloquia, professional development workshops, and ever-expanding support for our students’ development as teachers, our PhD program is more vibrant than ever.  And the presence of the CCGC, undergirded by the enthusiasm of its Co-Director Dean Kah-Jin Jeffrey Kuan, makes us more globally attuned than ever—increasingly a hallmark of our program, along with the commitments to creative interdisciplinarity.  But most important of all is the community of scholars that gathers here, bringing together an ever-shifting assemblage of intellectual pursuits and activist commitments.  It is a genuine joy to me to be part of it, and I hope you feel similarly.

All best wishes,

Virginia Burrus
Professor of Early Christianity
Chair of the Graduate Division of Religion