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Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Catholic college selects UU church member as dean.

Here's a story that inspires my dreams for the possibility of Unitarian Universalist ecumenism: A fine Catholic liberal arts college near Burlington, Vermont, has selected a popular professor and chair of its religious studies department as the next dean of the school. Professor Jeffrey Trumbower, who has taught at St. Michael's College since 1989, is the author of Rescue for the Dead: The Posthumous Salvation of Non-Christians in Early Christianity and Born From Above: The Anthropology of the Gospel of John. What does this academic news have to do with Unitarian Universalism?

Trumbower attends the First Unitarian Universalist Society of Burlington, which wouldn't necessarily be news, but Out in the Mountains puts it bluntly: "Gay Unitarian Appointed St. Mike's Dean."

Trumbower came to St. Mike's in 1989, after completing his dissertation. He was not familiar with the area before he came, and when he arrived, he "started going to the church at the head of church street. I resonated with that community and realized that I was home spiritually." Trumbower met his partner here in Vermont. They have been together for ten years.

In addition to overseeing curriculum and faculty development, Trumbower especially looks forward to continuing to work with students: "A huge percentage of our students are involved in social justice activities. This aspect of the college is really great. I see that continuing."

During his time at the college, Trumbower has also attended some meetings and events sponsored by Ally, a student-led group that identifies itself as a "gay-straight alliance." Mike McCaffrey, a member of Ally, said that Trumbower's appointment "shows a dedication that St. Mike's has that other institutions might not. I think it will definitely open up some doors for not only him but for other lgbt students and staff."

("St. Michael's Names Jericho Resident Dean," college press release 4.22.05; "Outside the Box: Gay Unitarian Appointed St. Mike's Dean," Stacey Horn, Out in the Mountains May 2005)

Copyright © 2005 by Philocrites | Posted 31 May 2005 at 8:16 AM

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