URI President David M. Dooley’s inauguration to include guest speaker Greg Boyd

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KINGSTON, R.I. — March 29, 2010 — University of Rhode Island President David M. Dooley has invited internationally known pastor Greg Boyd to speak at his inauguration on Thursday, April 8. Free and open to the public, the inauguration will take place at 2 p.m. at the Thomas M. Ryan Center on the Kingston campus.

A recognized theologian, preacher, teacher and author, Boyd is known for challenging the status quo — theologically, academically and politically. The Yale Divinity School and Princeton Theological Seminary graduate has authored or co-authored 18 books and numerous academic articles, including his best-selling and award-winning book Letters From a Skeptic (1994).

President Dooley said he expects remarks from Boyd to be consistent with his inaugural theme, “Creating the Future: The Role of the University in Transforming the World,” and will provide the community with a fresh view for that future.

“Dr. Boyd has presented a compelling case for what he terms an ‘open future’ that is not pre-determined or pre-ordained. He argues from philosophical and theological grounds that we have real freedom – that our decisions, choices, and actions shape the future. In other words, that we do have the power to transform our world and create a better future than the present we now experience,” said Dooley. “He also is an extremely strong proponent of the separation of church and state – an ideal that I also think is critically important.”

In fact, Boyd is known for confronting such issues as the role of Christians in politics and in 2006, his radical approach against mixing faith and politics emptied his pews of worshipers and led to a stream of media attention. His perspective has been featured on the front page of The New York Times, The Charlie Rose Show, CNN, National Public Radio, the BBC and numerous other television and radio venues.

Dooley said he also hopes Boyd’s remarks open a new dialogue within the University. “Given that spirituality and faith are important to many students and others in our community, and that religion continues to be a major force for good and bad across the globe, I think it is important for public universities to foster dialog and open communication among people with divergent views of these matters,” said Dooley. “I think we can, and should, seek to build a community where people are welcomed and affirmed, where we seek common ground, and where we seek to build relationships and understanding across occasionally difficult divides.”

After 16 years as an award-winning professor of biblical and theological studies at Bethel University, St. Paul, Minn., in 2002 Boyd chose to devote himself full time to the Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul that he had co-founded in the early ’90s. In 2000, he founded Christus Victor Ministries, a nonprofit organization to support his research, writing and speaking ministry. The organization has assisted refugee families with finding stable housing and employment. Boyd and his wife, Shelley, have been married for 30 years. They have three children and two grandchildren and live in St. Paul, Minn.

April 2, 2010 — Read Boyd’s commentary about the concerns of some on campus about his participation in the inauguration.

INTERVIEW: Please contact URI Communications and Marketing at 401-874-2116 to arrange for an interview with Greg Boyd.

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