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University Appoints Dean of Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education

Fordham University has appointed C. Colt Anderson, Ph.D., as dean of the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education (GRE), effective July 15.

Anderson comes to Fordham after serving as vice president for academic affairs and academic dean at Washington Theological Union in Washington, D.C., since 2008.

“Dr. Colt Anderson brings an excellent record of scholarship, teaching, and academic administrative leadership to his new role as dean of the Graduate School of Religion and Religious Education,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “He has a deep commitment to the Catholic, Jesuit, and ecumenical mission of Fordham University and the expertise necessary to work with a talented faculty in the building on GSRRE’s rich history to shape a compelling educational vision and direction for the school.”

Before transitioning to the administrative level, Anderson taught in higher education for more than a decade. He began his academic career at the University of Georgia as an assistant professor in the Department of Religious Studies.

He subsequently held the rank of associate professor in the History Department at the University of St. Mary of the Lake/Mundelein Seminary, where he also taught courses in medieval and reformation church history, ecumenism, interfaith dialogue, and ecclesiology.
At Washington Theological Union, he was associate professor in the Spirituality Department, where he taught graduate courses in medieval spirituality, systematic theology, and Catholic social teaching.

An accomplished scholar as well as educator, Anderson has authored several books, including The Great Catholic Reformers: From Gregory the Great to Dorothy Day (Paulist Press, 2007) and Christian Eloquence: Contemporary Doctrinal Preaching (Hillenbrand, 2004). He has also published numerous articles, essays, and reviews in scholarly journals. He has served on several editorial boards, and as a judge for the Catholic University of America Press.

“[At Washington Theological Union] Dr. Anderson has collaborated with faculty to reorganize the curriculum, significantly cut costs, increase the productivity of academic programs, launch a new Doctor of Ministry program in Catholic spirituality, and gain approval for a new distance learning degree in Catholic Leadership for Health Care from Middle States and the Association of Theological Schools,” McShane said.

Anderson received his bachelor’s degree with honors in philosophy and his master’s degree in religious studies from the University of Georgia, and his Ph.D. in religious studies from Marquette University.

He replaces John Harrington, Ph.D., dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences, who has served as interim dean of GRE for the last year.


Fordham President Aloysius J. Hogan, S.J., home-delivered one of the first Bene Merenti medals ever given at Fordham.

Photo courtesy Fordham University Archives


This Month in Fordham History…

First Convocation, Bene Merenti Awards Unify Faculty

IIn May 1931, the University held a new event to bring its colleges and schools closer together beneath “the common parenthood of Fordham,” as an article in The Ram put it.

The first faculty convocation, held on May 10, brought together more than 400 faculty members from St. John’s College, the Graduate School, the School of Law, the College of Pharmacy and the School of Sociology and Social Service, according to the article. Most of the graduate and professional schools had been founded after Fordham officially became a university in 1907.
The event was held to show appreciation for faculty members and highlight their common purpose—“to show unity in spirit,” in the words of Charles Deane, S.J., vice president of the University, who spoke at the convocation.

At the event, seven faculty members received the University’s first Bene Merenti medals for longstanding service to Fordham. One awardee was too ill to attend, so Fordham president Aloysius J. Hogan, S.J., went to his home to present the gold medal and read the citation.


— Chris Gosier



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