The Office for Religious Life > Welcome from Our Deans


The Deans for Religious Life have been appointed by the university to provide leadership, services and programming in matters of religion, spirituality, and ethics.

The current Deans represent the Christian, Jewish and Unitarian Universalist traditions and it is their responsibility to support all religious traditions represented at Stanford. They strive to ensure that students, faculty and staff have access to honest, lively, thoughtful and supportive contexts in which to pursue their spiritual journeys on the Stanford campus. While each participates in and leads worship and study in his/her own religious community, as a multi-faith team they work with all who comprise the university-students, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni-to promote dialogues, ceremonies and friendships which gather people of varied backgrounds.

In addition to officiating at life-cycle ceremonies and worship services, the Deans initiate educational programs exploring the connections between mind and spirit, such as delving into the relationships between and co-existence of sexuality and spirituality; practical, first-hand experience in spirituality and service; scripture studies; workshops for interfaith families; student-run interfaith dialogues; and grief and bereavement workshops. Likewise, the Deans lead formal and informal classes on a range of topics, including anger and forgiveness, contemporary and traditional readings of religious texts, feminist approaches to religion, and urban studies, as well as taking a number of religious and ethical seminars directly into the residences.

The Deans create multi-faith worship opportunities in response to significant events in the life of the Stanford community, raise and respond to social justice issues and work throughout the university to address specific religious concerns. Additionally, they serve on a number of administrative committees and work collaboratively with other university offices on issues that affect the quality of life at Stanford.

The Deans for Religious Life are committed to welcoming students of all genders and sexual identities, all religious and non-religious traditions, and all cultural backgrounds. Please feel free to call us to schedule a visit, or attend one of our programs.

~ Rev. Scotty McLennan, Rev. Joanne Sanders, and Rabbi Patricia Karlin-Neumann