Two hundred years. Even in an institution as venerable as Harvard University, that’s a long time.

Harvard Divinity School, the nation’s first nonsectarian theological school, will celebrate its bicentennial during the 2016-17 academic year with events and exhibits that highlight the School’s mission to illuminate, engage, and serve the world through the pursuit and practice of religious literacy.

From August 2016 through May 2017, HDS will celebrate 200 years of excellence in the study of religion and look ahead to its future. Community members will want to save the date for a multiday celebration planned for April 27-29, 2017.

“For two centuries HDS has advanced the study of religion and empowered men and women to serve others around the world,” said HDS Dean David N. Hempton. “The bicentennial will allow us to reflect on this rich history, even as we envision anew the School’s mission for the future.”

Hempton also extended an invitation to the wider University community to join in the celebration.

“Harvard was founded to educate ethical leaders in all fields,” he noted. “For many years, the study of religion was at the center of that effort. HDS carries on that legacy, but it belongs to everyone at the University. We’re very excited to celebrate HDS’s bicentennial with Harvard and the larger community.”

HDS is one of Harvard’s earliest professional Schools, founded in 1816 by the Society for the Promotion of Theological Education in Harvard University (former president John Adams was among the first donors).

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