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University chaplain at Tufts named Stanford's dean for religious life; interim dean to take post at Goucher College

The Rev. William "Scotty" McLennan Jr., chaplain at Tufts University and a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, has been named dean for religious life at Stanford University, effective Jan. 1, 2001. President Gerhard Casper made the announcement Monday, June 19, on the recommendation of Provost John Hennessy, who co-chaired the search committee with electrical engineering Professor Brad Osgood.

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The Rev. Kelly Denton-Borhaug, who has served as interim dean for religious life since Jan. 1, 1999, has accepted an appointment as chaplain and assistant professor of religion at Goucher College, near Baltimore. She will leave her current post at the end of July.

"I am very pleased to report that at the request of the provost, I have appointed the Rev. William L. McLennan Jr. as dean for religious life," Casper said. "Rev. McLennan combines a nonsectarian view of the campus ministry with a wide-ranging interest in ethical issues that should serve Stanford well."

"I think everybody was very pleased with how [the search] turned out in the end," Osgood said. "We had a number of very strong candidates, and we got the person we wanted. Scotty had a particularly interesting background, being a lawyer in addition to being a minister." Osgood added that McLennan's background has informed his ministry at Tufts in interesting ways and expects that it will do the same at Stanford.

McLennan has served as university chaplain at Tufts since 1984. His primary research interests are in the interface of religion, ethics and the professions, including business, law and medicine. He has served as adjunct professor of international business relations at Tufts' Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy and as a lecturer in the Department of Comparative Religion, the Dental School and the Environmental Studies Program. As a senior lecturer at the Harvard Business School, McLennan teaches business ethics.

McLennan received a bachelor's degree from Yale University in 1970 and master of divinity and law degrees from Harvard Divinity School and Harvard Law School in 1975. He was ordained as a Unitarian Universalist minister that year as well.

For the next nine years McLennan practiced church-sponsored poverty law in Boston's Dorchester neighborhood, representing low-income residents in consumer, landlord-tenant, immigration and other aspects of the law. His book, Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost Its Meaning, was published last year by Harper San Francisco.

The character the Rev. Scot Sloan in the "Doonesbury" comic strip is based on McLennan, who attended Yale with cartoonist Garry Trudeau. The character also is named for the Rev. William Sloane Coffin, the legendary anti-war activist and former chaplain at Yale, who became McLennan's mentor.

In an e-mail posted in France, McLennan said he hopes to be an “energetic presence” here and looks forward to being on a campus where the undergraduate, graduate and professional schools are all in close proximity.

"I hope my appointment at Stanford will be best known for its prophetic dimensions – challenging the status quo in the name of higher values. For example, I am deeply concerned by the way the rich seem to be getting richer and the poor poorer in America and around the world. Stanford is situated in a unique position in the economically thriving Silicon Valley, but in close proximity also to some of the worst poverty in America. I hope to exercise whatever leadership I can in this area, and in other areas of moral, ethical and spiritual concern," he said.

"Also, I hope to promote positive interfaith relations, help the non-religious understand people who are religious and vice versa, and build programming within Memorial Church which serves the spiritual needs of the entire university community."

McLennan and his wife, Ellen, have two sons -- Dan, 17, and Will, 15. Although the family will not be moving to Stanford until January, McLennan will be on campus for Freshman Convocation and the inauguration of Hennessy, who will become president of the university Sept. 1.

Denton-Borhaug has served as interim dean for religious life since former Dean Robert Gregg stepped down from the post to return to full-time teaching in December 1998.

"I have feelings of profound gratitude for some wonderful and generous individuals I have come to know during the past four years in my work at Stanford University," said Denton-Borhaug, who came to Stanford in 1996 as one of three associate deans for religious life. "I wish the university community every blessing."

"We are deeply grateful to Rev. Denton-Borhaug for her service as interim dean for religious life and her four years at Stanford and wish her every success at Goucher College," Casper added.


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