September 28: You’re Invited to the Installation of Chaplain Boswell-Ford

September 24, 2018

To the members of the MIT community,

We write to invite you to a very special event that has happened only once before in MIT’s history. On September 28, the Reverend Kirstin Boswell-Ford will be installed as chaplain to the Institute.

Friday September 28, 2018
Ceremony in Wong Auditorium, 3-4 pm
Reception in Ting Foyer, 4-5 pm

While Reverend Boswell-Ford is only our second chaplain—the first being Robert M. Randolph, who retired in 2016 after nine years in the position—the vision for a chaplain dates back to President James Killian’s tenure more than 60 years ago. President Killian imagined a vigorous spiritual community at MIT and took steps to make students’ awareness of religion and faith in human history an important component of their MIT experience. The most tangible results of his efforts have become community touchstones: the MIT Chapel, Kresge Auditorium, and the chaplain to the Institute.

Reverend Boswell-Ford has been serving in this role, and as director of the Office of Religious, Spiritual, and Ethical Life (ORSEL), since fall 2017. In that time, she has helped to lead MIT’s religious and spiritual community with a keen eye toward advancing interfaith work. Extending our chaplaincies to include MIT’s first Humanist chaplain expands our ability to provide support beyond those who identify as religious, to all of our community members – including atheist, agnostic, secular, and Humanist. She has also built stronger connections between religious life and student well-being, including recruiting a special advisor for LBGTQ issues. All of these efforts help create an affirming and welcoming environment through the many ORSEL offerings and the affiliated chaplains’ support.

We hope that you will join us, President L. Rafael Reif, and many other members of the MIT community as we formally welcome Reverend Boswell-Ford, and as we pause to celebrate and reflect on the role of religion, spirituality, and ethics in campus life.


Cynthia Barnhart

Suzy M. Nelson
Vice President and Dean for Student Life