Divinity exemplified

2 min read

The 2015 recipients of Harvard Divinity School’s Peter J. Gomes STB ’68 Memorial Honors include a diplomat, a chaplain, an activist, an adviser, and a scholar. While these individuals—and their professions—may seem disparate, Dean David N. Hempton says that the group embodies HDS’s effort to “illuminate, engage, and serve.”

“The Gomes Honorees exemplify Harvard Divinity School’s mission to educate leaders who bring to every field resources that flow from the study of religion,” said Hempton. “These include first and foremost intellectual rigor and deep knowledge of the beliefs and practices that shape the lives of people around the world. But they also include compassion, humility, courage, and perhaps most of all, a commitment to work for a better world. I’m delighted that they will join the ranks of the School’s honored graduates.”

Selected annually by the HDS Alumni/Alumnae Council, the Gomes Honorees represent the diversity of personal and professional paths that the School’s graduates follow. This year, the council recognizes Shaun Casey, M.Div. ’83, M.P.A. ’89, Th.D. ’98, the special representative to United States Secretary of State John Kerry for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives; Charles Collier, M.T.S. ’73, a longtime philanthropic adviser at Harvard and an advocate for Alzheimer’s Disease research and treatment; Janet Cooper Nelson, M.Div. ’80, the long-serving chaplain at Brown University; and Rakesh Rajani, M.T.S. ’91, an international activist dedicated to improving education and civil society in East Africa.

The awards were established in 2013 in memory of the Rev. Peter Gomes, a scholar, author, and longtime minister of Harvard’s Memorial Church.