Graduate Program in Religious Studies to Celebrate Milestone

Emeriti faculty, alumni returning to campus for events recognizing 50 years of success

DALLAS (SMU) – Emeriti faculty members and alumni of SMU’s Graduate Program in Religious Studies (GPRS) will join together with current students and faculty on Thursday, March 31, and Friday, April 1, for a diverse group of panels celebrating the program’s 50th anniversary.

Navigating Crosscurrents: Looking Back. Looking Forward. Celebrating 50 Years of the GPRS will take place at Perkins School of Theology in Elizabeth Perkins Prothro Hall. The events are part of The Willis M. Tate-Willson Lectureship, which was established in 1967 through a gift by Dr. and Mrs. J.M. Willson Sr. to honor SMU’s fifth president.  

“The combined efforts of faculty, students and administrators have made the Graduate Program in Religious Studies an excellent Ph.D. program with a rich legacy and an exciting future,” said Dr. Rebekah Miles, Professor of Ethics and Practical Theology at Perkins and Director of the GPRS. “Reflecting on the GPRS’ achievements provides a wonderful vantage point from which to chart the course for the coming years.”

Dr. Alyce McKenzie

Meredith Minister

Dr. Alyce McKenzie

Pamela D. Young

Dr. Alyce McKenzie

Charles Wood

Dr. Alyce McKenzie

Schubert Ogden

Highlighting Thursday’s events, which are free and open to the public, is a panel on Theology and Religious Studies featuring Schubert Ogden (University Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Theology), Charles Wood (Lehman Professor Emeritus of Christian Doctrine) and GPRS alumnae Pamela Dickey Young and Meredith Minister.

Activities on Friday, which require conference registration, include four panels – two in the morning, two in the afternoon – on the following topics: Biblical Studies, Ethics, Religion and Culture, and History. Also planned for Friday is a banquet luncheon with remarks by Perkins Dean William B. Lawrence, SMU Provost Steven C. Currall and speaker Dr. John Holbert, Professor Emeritus of Homiletics and a graduate of the GPRS.

Registration information and a full schedule of events and panelists is available at

The Graduate Program in Religious Studies includes programs of study leading to the M.A. and Ph.D. degrees, designed to prepare persons for professional careers as teacher-scholars in colleges, universities and schools of theology. The program includes faculty of Perkins School of Theology and the Department of Religious Studies in Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.


Perkins School of Theology, founded in 1911, is one of five official University-related schools of theology of The United Methodist Church. Degree programs include the Master of Divinity, Master of Sacred Music, Master of Theological Studies, Master of Arts in Ministry, Master of Theology, Doctor of Ministry and Doctor of Pastoral Music (June 2016) as well as the Ph.D. in cooperation with The Graduate Program in Religious Studies at SMU’s Dedman College of Humanities and Sciences.