About Rev. Garvin
The Rev. Lisa Garvin joined SMU on Oct. 19, 2020 as chaplain and minister to the University, the first woman to serve in the role.
SMU’s chaplain and minister to the University serves the entire SMU community, working with diverse campus religious organizations that support and nurture students in the development of faith and ethics. Building on SMU’s deep roots in the United Methodist tradition, Rev. Garvin is expanding the table of religious life at SMU and engaging the community’s rich diversity to foster spiritual life on The Hilltop.
Garvin holds a bachelor degree in European Studies from Millsaps College. She also holds a Master of Divinity degree from Emory University’s Candler School of Theology and a Juris Master in Human Rights from Emory University School of Law. In 2015-2016, Garvin was participated in the HERS: Leadership Institute, a selective leadership program for women in higher education administration. In 2018, Garvin was selected as a KAICIID International Interfaith Fellow where, with 20 religious leaders from 13 countries and eight different religious traditions, she honed her skills for facilitating interreligious dialogue and developing leaders who advocate for peace in their communities.
Garvin has a lifelong commitment to church-related higher education. A native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, Garvin previously served Emory University as associate dean of the chapel and religious life (2012-2020) and her alma mater, Millsaps College, as college chaplain (2005-2008). She also served the Mississippi Conference of The United Methodist Church as director of ministerial Services (2008-2012). Garvin is an ordained deacon in the United Methodist Church and currently serves as a director of its General Board of Church and Society chairing the board’s Advocacy Work Area. As a Trustee at Millsaps College (2010-2018), Garvin chaired the Student Affairs Committee.
Garvin has a special interest in human rights and racial justice, and has led travel seminars to South Africa, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the U.S.-Mexico border and Cuba.