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Jeffrey C. Pugh to deliver Elon’s 2018 Baccalaureate address on Friday

Pugh, the Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of Religious Studies, was honored in fall 2017 as a Distinguished University Professor for his scholarship, leadership and teaching.

Professor Jeffrey C. Pugh, who was recently honored as a Distinguished University Professor, will deliver Elon University’s Baccalaureate remarks on Friday, May 18, 2018.

Professor Jeffrey C. Pugh delivering remarks during the Distinguished University Professors Investiture Dinner in November 2017.

Baccalaureate takes place in Alumni Gym at 3 p.m. The program is open to the public, with all graduates and their families invited to attend.

“It is an honor to have Jeff Pugh speak, as a longtime supporter of spiritual life efforts toward the development of the whole human beings who are our students,” said University Chaplain Jan Fuller. “His message will be engaging and inspiring for all, whatever religious or worldview perspective they bring.”

A Maude Sharpe Powell Professor of Religious Studies at Elon, Pugh has served as an influential teacher, mentor and scholar since joining Elon’s faculty in 1986. Pugh received the Daniels-Danieley Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2000 for his work with students and was honored in 2010 with Elon’s Distinguished Scholar Award for the contributions he has made to his field and the commendation and respect he has earned from his peers.

In November 2017, Pugh was invested with the Distinguished University Professorship during a formal ceremony at Elon in recognition of his teaching, scholarship, leadership and service to Elon. Pugh plans to retire at the end of this academic year.

“I have seen my students, our students, have a chance at a better life because of what happens here,” Pugh said at the ceremony in November. “I have watched as they found direction, rejoiced when purpose seemed to grow within them from nowhere to propel them out into the world for lives of meaning.”

Pugh arrived at Elon after earning his master of divinity degree from Wesley Theological Seminary in Washington, D.C., and a master’s degree and doctorate in theological and religious studies from Drew University Graduate School in Madison, New Jersey. His graduate research focused on 19th and 20th-century theology, most particularly Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer, resulting in books on each theologian. He has written four more books, dealing with topics as diverse as religion and science and the problem of evil.  

His most recent book, “The Homebrewed Christianity Guide to the End Times: Theology After You’ve Been Left Behind,” was published by Fortress Press in 2016 as part of a series sponsored by the popular Homebrewed Christianity podcast that takes a unique approach to helping delve into key Christian concepts, figures and ideas. He has also made numerous presentations at professional meetings and conferences, written articles, book chapters and book reviews for various publications, and served eight years as a member of the board of directors of the International Bonhoeffer Society.

Baccalaureate is the opening ceremony of the Commencement weekend. “Baccalaureate” derives from a Latin term that means to recognize and honor achievement and distinction. It commonly refers to a sermon addressed to graduating seniors though at Elon, the Baccalaureate speaker inspires and challenges without necessarily preaching.

At Elon, the service is celebratory and inspirational, and often includes reflection as these graduating seniors close out their time at Elon. The ceremony is broadly spiritual and includes readings and blessings from a variety of religious and cultural traditions.

The 2018 Commencement ceremonies will take place in front of the Alamance Building on Scott Plaza and Young Commons at 9:15 a.m. on Saturday, May 19. Elon’s Leo M. Lambert, who will conclude his service as university president on March 1, will deliver the Commencement address.


Owen Covington,
2/23/2018 7:50 AM