Photo of Reverend Lisa Garvin

Reverend Lisa Garvin

(she/her/hers)

Chaplain and Minister to the University

The 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.   Rev. Garvin leads the Office of the Chaplain and Religious Life staff and affiliated campus ministries in creating an inclusive community that celebrates intellectual curiosity about religion and spirituality, nourishes ethical decision-making, cultivates deep spiritual exploration and supports faithful living in the world.  She collaborates with campus colleagues to provide pastoral care, spiritual growth and social justice education to all students.

Education and Credentials

Bachelor of Arts, European Studies – Millsaps College
Master of Divinity – Candler School of Theology at Emory University
Juris Master, Human Rights – Emory University School of Law

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.   

Favorite SMU Tradition

I look forward to athletics events every year and cheering on the Mustangs in all the athletic arenas on campus and beyond! I love being outside (especially) in the Fall and Spring, watching athletes compete and excel in what they’ve trained to do, and the sense of community when we are all cheering them towards victory.

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