This summer, Professor Virginia Burrus, Professor of Early Church History, left Drew University after 22 years of dedicated service and astonishing achievement in order to accept an appointment as the Bishop W. Earl Ledden Professor of Religion at Syracuse University. The Graduate Division of Religion honored Dr. Burrus with a celebration at the end of the spring semester to express deep appreciation for her personal and professional contributions to the life of the Theological School and the University.
Dr. Burrus writes, “After an incredibly happy and satisfying twenty-two years at Drew, I will be leaving to join Syracuse University as the Bishop W. Earl Ledden Professor of Religion. I shall miss Drew intensely and often, as is already clear. But I am comforted by the fact that Bishop W. Earl Ledden, as Terry Todd tells me, was not only a United Methodist but both a Drew alum and a Drew trustee! Moreover, the first person to hold the Bishop Ledden chair (from 1968-75) was Stanley Hopper, who came directly from Drew, where he had been the Dean of the Graduate School. And when Hopper went to Syracuse, he joined two Drew PhD graduates (both class of 1963)—David Miller and James Wiggins, who were integral to the Syracuse religion graduate program for many years. In other words, Syracuse’s Department of Religion has deep connections with Drew, and I am very pleased to be part of the historic continuity between these two institutions. I am also particularly pleased to succeed Patricia Cox Miller in this chair; she herself succeeded Hopper. Pat has been one of my guiding lights as a scholar, and any of you who are my students have surely read her works.”
Professor Burrus joined the faculty of the Theological School in 1991. A preeminent scholar in the field of ancient Christianity, her work addresses such issues as gender, sexuality, and the body; martyrdom and asceticism; ancient novels and hagiography; constructions of orthodoxy and heresy; histories of theology and historical theologies. She has served as President of the North American Patristics Society, Associate Editor of the Journal of Early Christian Studies, and co-editor of the University of Pennsylvania Press series “Divinations: Rereading Late Ancient Religion.” A gifted and demanding teacher, she has also served for four years as the Chair of the Graduate Division of Religion and very capably led the GDR through its restructuring and oversaw the admission of high caliber students. The Theological School, the Graduate Division of Religion, and the University owe Dr. Burrus much for her many academic and administrative contributions.