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Benediction

Oh Divine Mystery, our God of many names, you are the source of all truth. Today we gather as your exquisitely diverse family to breathe in this new moment, together. With our many voices, gifts and contours of understanding we pause in this place of such purpose, beauty and promise. We are simply joyful and filled with a genuine sense of unleashed possibility as we usher in this new chapter in the life of Vassar College.

We ask you, bless Betsy Bradley, for she is a true wonder and she is brave, undaunted by what lies ahead. May her visions and hopes reveal themselves as a courageous response to your longing for a healed world. Bestow upon her a wisdom that endures, an energy that renews and a sense of justice that is reflective and steadfast. Bless Betsy’s loving family, her children Alice, Kate and Tim, especially her husband John. Continue to embrace them with good humor, abundant patience and understanding. Here at this at this place, may they enjoy a true sense of home.

Bless this community of scholars who revel in the mystery and treasure of knowledge. Bless all Vassar students past, present and future. May their spirits always soar with buoyant promise and infinite creativity. Bless all who make Vassar as stunningly beautiful and perfectly unique as it is. Bless those who care for the grounds, those who tend to its structure, bless all those who nurture the body, mind and soul. Steady each hand as this new chapter begins. Let us breathe in the excitement of this very moment, look from side to side with great joy at one another and commit to building the world we want to see, together.

And finally, in our daring pursuit to live lives of deep purpose, may we always seek to be your shalom, your salaam, your shanti, may we seek to be your peace. And let us say, Amen.

Sharon Kugler
University Chaplain, Yale University

Sharon M.K. Kugler became the seventh University Chaplain to Yale in July of 2007. She came to New Haven from Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore where she had served as the University Chaplain since 1993. Sharon has over two decades of experience in ministry in higher education, interfaith collaboration, pastoral and social ministry. Her main focus at Yale is to further cultivate a chaplaincy for students, faculty and staff which defines itself by serving the needs of the richly diverse religious and spiritual traditions on campus allowing for deeper dialogue, increased accessibility, personal growth, creative educational opportunities and pastoral leadership. Sharon holds the appointment of Lecturer of Inter-Religious Engagement and Chaplaincy at the Yale Divinity School and is a contributing author to the recently published College & University Chaplaincy in the 21st Century: A Multifaith Look at the Practice of Ministry on Campuses across America. She is the first woman, first lay-person and first Roman Catholic to hold this position at Yale.

Sharon is the past president of both the National Association of College and University Chaplains (NACUC) and the Association of College and University Religious Affairs (ACURA). She currently serves on the Executive Committee of the International Association of Chaplains in Higher Education (IACHE). In June of 2012 she hosted the Global Conference of Chaplains in Higher Education at Yale University welcoming over 450 participants from 25 countries and 11 religious traditions. Sharon received her master’s degree from Georgetown University and is a member of the Theta Alpha Kappa National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology. Her master’s thesis, “The Limits and Possibilities of Building a Religiously Plural Community” was used by the United States Department of Defense Office of the Chief of Chaplains as a training tool for new chaplains in the military. Sharon has received honorary doctorates from St. Joseph University in West Hartford, CT, Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, CA and Fairfield University in Fairfield, CT. She is married to Duane Isabella, has two daughters and five grandchildren.