Archives and Special Collections
92 Snell Library
360 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115
(617) 373-2351

Archives and Special Collections Finding Aids

Printable Finding Aid. Back to Browsing Version.

Collection Overview
Title:Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service records
Date:1961-2012 (bulk 1977-2010)
Location Code:30/3-4, 39/4, FF1/D2, RS11/S3
Reference Code:A64
Extent:8.1 cubic ft. (14 boxes, 1 flat file, 2 rolled scrolls)
Scope and Content Abstract:The collection documents the programs, affiliations, and activities of the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service and related religious entities at Northeastern University, including the Chaplain's Association and the Religious Advisory Board, between 1961 and 2012. The bulk of the records are from 1977, when the Office of Religious Life became a visible presence in the NU community, through 2010. The collection contains correspondence, annual reports, budget information, meeting minutes, proposals, pamphlets, program calendars, and architectural plans. The collection also includes documents relating to the Holocaust Awareness Committee, commencement services, Martin Luther King, Jr. convocations, the Coalition for Divestment in South Africa, Religious Awareness Week, and memorial services for members of the Northeastern community.
Historical Abstract:The first non-denominational Northeastern University chapel service for students was held in 1927. The position of Dean of Chapel was established in 1940, and the Bacon Memorial Chapel was erected in the student center in 1947. After 1960, when NU President Asa Knowles lifted the ban against denominational religious groups on campus, religious life at NU began to flourish. In 1966, the volunteer chaplains formed the Chaplain's Association to help support the administrative aspects of religious life on campus, fully assuming the duties upon Dean Havice's retirement in 1974. In 1966, the Religious Advisory Board was created as a liaison between NU and the chaplains. In 1977, the Religious Life Office gained formal status at NU, and in 1994, it became the Office of Spiritual Life, reflecting the diversity of spiritual belief within the NU community. The Office of Spiritual Life was known as the Spiritual Life Center from 2005-2012, before becoming the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service in 2012. The Center builds partnerships across University departments and disciplines, and with religious communities and public service agencies locally, nationally, and internationally to help students become engaged citizens, peace builders and equipped as leaders to tackle pressing global issues.
Language and Scripts:The records are in English.
System of Arrangement:Arranged in one alphabetical sequence by subject.
Subjects and Contributors:
  • Havice, Charles W.
  • Gracey, Colin

  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Chaplain's Association
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Office of Religious Life
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Office of Spiritual Life
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Religious Life Advisory Board
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Spiritual Life Advisory Board
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). Spiritual Life Center
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.). University Chaplains

  • College students -- Religious life
  • Northeastern University (Boston, Mass.) -- Students
  • Universities and colleges -- Religion

Conditions Governing Access:Records are closed for 25 years from the date of their creation, unless researchers have written permission from the creating office. Student records (Box 8) are closed for 75 years from their date of creation.
Finding Aids:Holocaust Awareness Committee records (A67)
Processor:Finding aid prepared by April Hagins, January 2003. Updated by Cheryl Ostrowski, July 2012, and Andrew Begley, April 2015.

Scope and Content Note

The collection documents the programs, affiliations, and activities of the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service and related religious entities at Northeastern University, including the Chaplain's Association and the Religious Advisory Board, between 1961 and 2014 The bulk of the records are from 1977, when the Office of Religious Life became a visible presence in the NU community, through 2010. The collection contains records of the Office of Spiritual Life, Religious Advisory Board, and Chaplain's Association, and includes correspondence, annual reports, budget information, meeting minutes, proposals, program calendars, and architectural plans. The collection also includes applications, flyers, budgets, correspondence, and pamphlets from associated religious organizations on the NU campus, such as HILLEL and Christian Science. In addition, records in the collection document Holocaust Remembrance Week, religious aspects of commencement services, Martin Luther King, Jr. convocations, the Coalition for Divestment in South Africa, Religious Awareness Week, and other religious events. Also of interest are records documenting the expulsion of the Boston Church of Christ for cult-like behavior in 1988 (Boxes 2, 8), and the architectural plans for the renovation of Bacon Memorial Chapel in 1983 (FF1/D2) and for the new Spiritual Life Center in 1998 (RS11/S3). For photographs related to the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service, see the Northeastern University Photograph collection (A103), drawer 35.

Historical Note

The first chapel service for Northeastern University students was held in October 1927 in the Church of the Messiah, on the corner of Gainsborough and St. Stephens streets. The weekly mid-day service was instituted by Charles W. Havice, the advisor to the Student Union. The services were "non-denominational worship periods at which visiting representatives of different faiths gave ethical and moral talks to students" (Marston 124). In 1940, Dr. Havice resigned from his duties as the advisor to the Student Union and was named the first Dean of Chapel. When the new Student Center was opened in 1947, it housed the Bacon Memorial Chapel, a gift from Chandler and Co. and dedicated to the memory of Charles F. Bacon, a long-time employee of the company.

In 1960, President Knowles allowed denominational religious activities, which had previously been forbidden, on campus: "The University is interested in encouraging all students to affiliate with religious organizations of their choice in their own parishes or in Boston. The University sponsors non-sectarian chapel services on a voluntary basis which are open to students once a week in the Bacon Memorial Chapel. The University does not charter student organizations which establish separate student groups on nationalistic, racial, political or religious bases" (Frederick 59). With growing enrollments leading to a more diverse student body, Knowles acknowledged the need for a unifying structure within which religious activity could take place (Frederick 60).

This challenge was met in part by the formation of two supervisory bodies in 1966 that served alongside the Dean of Chapel, The Interfaith Council and the Faculty Committee on Religious Life. Prior to Dean Havice's retirement in 1974, the Interfaith Council (now named the Chaplain's Association ), stepped up to support the administrative functions of the office, as the University transitioned from a Dean of Chapel to the more collective Office of Religious Life. Management of religious life on campus continued to occupy the second floor of Ell Building. The chaplains were not paid by NU, but offered pastoral care to its faculty, staff, and students; delivered the convocations at graduation; offered university services; and organized campus religious programs. There have been varying numbers of chaplains at NU over time, representing many faiths. Episcopal chaplain Colin Gracey served full-time at NU from the mid-1960s until his retirement in 2004.

The Faculty Committee on Religious Life (renamed the Advisory Board on Religious Life in 1971) worked as a liaison between NU and the chaplains. Composed of faculty and staff, the Board acted as a resource for chaplains and helped in programming and planning events with other NU units. In 1977, the chaplains activities were removed from the oversight of the Dean of Students and placed under the Vice President for Administration. At this time, a full-time administrative secretary was hired, Alice Scott, and the Office of Religious Life became a formalized entity.

In October 1983, a Reaffirmation of Faith Service was held to celebrate the newly renovated Charles F. Bacon Memorial Chapel. The chapel renovation was led by the Religious Advisory Board to create a more inclusive space for the growing variety of faiths held by the student body. In particular, the pews were unbolted so that Muslims could worship in the space.

In 1992, the Office of Religious Life became the more inclusive Office of Spiritual Life. In 1993, NU architecture professors Monica Ponce de Leon and Nader Therani were commissioned to design a new layout for the Bacon Memorial Chapel. After several meetings in 1992, President Curry and the chaplains agreed that a more inclusive sacred space would better cater to the growing diversity of faiths in the student population. The pews were removed permanently. The design of the Sacred Space won the Boston Society of Architects award for unbuilt architecture in November 1996. When a fire destroyed the chapel in December 1996, the insurance money was used to expedite the building of the new Sacred Space. The Spiritual Life Center was finished and dedicated in 1998.

In 2000, Michael Woodnick filled the new position of Director of Spiritual Life, after having completed a three-year term as Chair of the Spiritual Life Advisory Board. The Director assumed the administration of the Spiritual Life Center and helped coordinate the work of the chaplains. Also at this time, the Spiritual Life Advisory Board was expanded to include students and served as an important means of communication among the NU community, the Chaplain's Association, and the Office of Spiritual Life. In 2004, Shelli Jankowski-Smith replaced Michael Woodnick when the directorship was expanded to a full-time position. As a result, the Spiritual Life Advisory Board was phased out in 2005. In 2007, the Spiritual Life Center's administrative offices were relocated to the second floor in Ell across from the Sacred Space.

In 2012 the Spiritual Life Center was expanded and reimagined as the Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service, with Alexander Levering Kern as Executive Director. The Center builds partnerships across University departments and disciplines, and with religious communities and public service agencies locally, nationally, and internationally to help students become engaged citizens, peace builders and equipped as leaders to tackle pressing global problems. The work of the Center is organized into two mutually reinforcing spheres. The Sphere of Spirituality and Interfaith Engagement offers students, faculty and staff opportunities to explore their personal spirituality, diverse religious traditions, learn ethical reflection and decision-making, and develop interfaith appreciation and competence. The Sphere of Service and Social Action, Coordinated by the Social Justice Resource Center (SJRC), serves as an inclusive hub of innovative justice-minded thinking, collaboration and action that empowers students, faculty and staff to help enact a society that is equitable and peaceful.

Chronology
1927First Chapel service held; non-denominational services are offered on a weekly basis
1940Charles Havice named Dean of Chapel
1947Bacon Memorial Chapel opens in the newly built Student Center (now Ell Hall)
1960President Asa Knowles allows denominational religious activities on campus
1966Interfaith Council and Faculty Committee on Religious Life are created to support the growth in religious activity on campus
1971Interfaith Council renamed the Chaplain's Association and the Faculty Committee on Religious Life becomes known as the Advisory Committee on Religious Life
1974Dean Havice retires; as no new Dean of Chapel is named, the Office of the Dean of Chapel becomes known informally as the office of Religious Life
1977The Advisory Committee on Religious life renamed the Advisory Board on Religious Life; the Office of Religious Life becomes a formal entity
1983Bacon Memorial Chapel renovated
1993Monica Ponce de Leon and Nadar Therani commissioned to design new layout of the Bacon Memorial Chapel
1994Office of Religious Life is renamed the Office of Spiritual Life and the Religious Life Advisory Board becomes the Spiritual Life Advisory Board
1996The design for a new Sacred Space to replace the Bacon Memorial Chapel awarded the Boston Society of Architects Award for Unbuilt Architecture; prior to the renovations, a fire destroyed the Bacon Memorial Chapel
1998The Spiritual Life Center opens; dedication of Sacred Space on site previously occupied by the Bacon Memorial Chapel
2000Michael Woodnick becomes first Director of Spiritual Life; Chaplain's Association becomes known as University Chaplains
2004Shelli Jankowski-Smith named Director of Spiritual Life
2005Office of Spiritual Life renamed Spiritual Life Center; Spiritual Life Advisory Board phased out
2007Spiritual Life Center offices relocated to the second floor of Ell Hall.
2012Spiritual Life Center renamed Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service; expanded Center includes the Social Justice Resource Center.
2012Alexander Levering Kern named Executive Director of Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service.
Bibliography

Center for Spirituality, Dialogue and Service Website: http://www.northeastern.edu/spirituallife/

Feldscher, Karen. Northeastern University, 1989-1996. The Curry Years: Smaller but Better. Boston: Northeastern University, 2000. LD4011.N22 F45 2000

Frederick, Antoinette. Northeastern University: An Emerging Giant: 1959-1975. Boston: Northeastern University, 1982. LD4011.N22 F7x 

Gracy, Colin. Telephone interview with Michelle Light, December 2002.

Marston, Everett C. Origin and Development of Northeastern University, 1898-1960. Boston: Northeastern University, 1961. LD4011.N22 M3 

Northeastern University Student Handbook, 1966-2004. Boston: Northeastern University.

Spiritual Life Office Website: http://www.neu.edu/spiritual_life/

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BoxTitleDate
8Generaln.d., 2001-2002
Administrative
1Computing Needs1992
1Correspondence1985-1991
1General 1976-1990, 2010-20012
1Goals1989-1990, 2011
1, 8Policies and Procedures (2 folders)n.d., 1996-2012
1Work Study Coordination and Positions1980-1988
1Annual Report1992-1993
RS11/S3Architectural Plans: Spiritual Life Center1997-1998
1Ash Wednesday and Good Friday Services1989-1991
Associated Religious Organizations
8General (3 folders)1987-1994
8Arabic Bible Study Group1997-1998
8Baha'i Club1985-1993
8Baptist (Southern)1990-1993
8Bhakti Yoga Club of the International Society for Krishna Consciousness1994-1995
8Boston Temple (Seventh-Day Adventist Church)1993-1994
8Buddhism1993-2001
1, 8Campus Crusade for Christ (2 folders)1984-2001
1Canterbury Club1962
1Catholic Ministries1978-1991
1, 8Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship (2 folders)1980-1994
1, 8Chinese Christian Fellowship (2 folders)1983-1994
1, 8Christian Science Organization (2 folders)1985-1988
8Christian Student Union1995-1997
8Collegiate Association for the Research of Principals (CARP) of the Unification Movement1979-1994
1, 8Episcopal Ministry (2 folders)n.d., 1975-1990
8Forms and Procedures1998
8Greek Orthodox Diocese of Boston1993-1994
1, 8HILLEL Foundation (2 folders)n.d., 1980, 1985-1996
8Hindu Student Council (2 folders)1993-1995
1, 8Intervarsity Christian Fellowship (2 folders)1992-1993
1, 8Islamic Society (2 folders)1981-2001
8Korean Christian Fellowship1995-1996
1, 8Lutheran Ministry (2 folders)1975-1998
1, 8Maranatha Ministries (2 folders)1982-1987
8 Mormon Fellowship1996-1997
1The Navigators 1982
8 Newman Club1993-1997
1Nichiren Shoshu of America 1982-1984
8 Orthodox Christian Fellowship1995-1997
1Pentecostal Student Christian Fellowship1983
1Phanar Orthodox Fellowship1981
1Procedures, Process, Communication and Rosters 1985-1997
8 Quaker1987-1992
8Reigning in Christ Christian Fellowship Bible Study1994-1995
1, 8Seeker Christian Fellowship (2 folders)1982-1990
1Student Christian Association1985-1986
8Spiritual Development Group1996
2, 8Students for Christ (Boston Church of Christ) n.d., 1980-1999
8Tremont Temple Baptist Church1988
8Unitarian Universalist2002
2The Way International 1985
8Women's Spirituality Group1995-1998
2, 8World Explosion Christian Fellowship (2 folders)1986-1988
8Bernard Stotsky Scholarship Award2003
2, 8Budget (6 folders)1980-2004
2, 8The (Richard) Cardinal Cushing Scholarship (24 folders) [Restricted]n.d.,1982-2002
Chapel (Bacon Memorial)
2Art Work Projects and Commissions 1983-1984
Reaffirmation of Faith Service Following Completion of Renovations
7Audio Tapes: Service and "The Three Angels" Rehearsal1983
2Documents1983
Renovations
FF1/D2Architectural Sketches of Chapel1976
2Documents1978-1983
2Reservation Memos to Security and Procedures1987-1991
2Speaker Lists 1961-1964, 1970
2Use Regulations and Suggestions1972-1975
8Chaplain ID's [Restricted]2000-2002
Chaplain's Association
2Afternoon Planning Sessions and Brainstorming1973-1974
2Brainstorming for Mission Statement 1990
2Correspondence (3 folders)n.d., 1974-1994
2Generaln.d., 1965- [198?]
2-4, 8-9Meeting Agendas and Minutes (28 folders)1971-1994
4Notes[197?]
9Planning Day1996-1997
9Standing Rules1976-1985
4Chaplain's Breakfast (2 folders)1985-1994
9Chronicle of Higher Education Discussion Group (4 folders)1994-2000
4Coalition for Divestment in South Africa: Meeting Notes and Correspondence1985-1986
9Combating Discrimination Committee1997-2000
4Commencement Activities 1985-1991
9 Community Building Task Force2004
4Computer Technology1985-1988
9Correspondence1995-1997
4Creative Lunch Breaks 1978-1990
9Cult Awareness (4 folders)1982-2001
4Cult Awareness and American Family Foundation1988-2000
9Cult Brochuren.d.
9Director's Office Files (Shelli Jankowski–Smith) (CD)2004-2009
9 Diversity Education Committee (2 folders)1997-1999
9Enrollment Management and Student Affairs (EMSA)
9Co-op Presentation2005
9Diversity Committee2008-2009
4Food for Thought: Lunch and Conversation1991-1992
4Free University of the Fenway n.d., [197?]
4Freshmen Orientation1991
4General Information1967-2001
9Colin Gracey2003-2004
9-10Holocaust Awareness Committee
10General (13 folders)n.d., 1989-2011
10Financial (4 folders)2001-2005
10Northeastern University Holocaust Link Project1997
4-5 Holocaust Remembrance Week (5 folders)1977-2000
10Homelessness2006-2007
10Husky Health and Wellness Committee1996-1997
10International Students, Inc. (2 folders)1993-1997
10Labyrinths2004-2007
5Library 1985
10Marriage Education Program2007-2008
10Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi: A Peoples Day of Peace2007-2008
5Martin Luther King, Jr. Convocations
5Records1985-1986, 1994
7Video Recording of Tony Brown, Key Note Speaker1985
5Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Breakfast1987
5Memorial Service Sub-Committee: Draft Protocol for Death Notifications1993
10-11Memorial Services (42 folders)1992-2002
5Minority Student Affairs1987-1992
11Multicultural Collaborative2007-2008
5National Association of College and University Chaplains1987-1990
Newsletters
5Religious Life Office1978
5, 11Spiritual Life Office: "The Spiritual Connection"2000
11Newspaper Clippings and Articles1993-2002
11NUCASE (Northeastern University Center for the Advancement of Science Education)2000
5NU News: Publication Requests and Letters to the Editor1987-1988
5NU Voice Calendar1989-1990
11 “On the Essential Role of the Spiritual Life Office for the Northeastern Community”1996-1999
5Oxfam Fast 1985, 1987
5Pamphlets and Flyers (2 folders)n.d., 1970-2000, 2009-2011
11Peace Week2007
5 Planning Day (4 folders)1988-1993
11Plant Improvement Fund1994
11Position Descriptions1993-2002
11President Joseph E. Aoun2006
5Program Calendars1991-2001, 2008-2012
Proposals
5Christian Views on Nuclear Policies at Northeastern and Simmons College: Underwood Fellowship1975
5Religious Pluralism by Michael Thomas1993-1994
11Protocol on Death Notification1993
5Quest For Peace1985-1987
5-6, 11Religious Advisory Board (7 folders)1976-1994
6Religious Awareness Week1987, 1991
11 Religious Life Council1988-1992
11Religious Life Office1988-1989
11Religious Life Offices at Other Universities2001-2003
11Religious Program Self-Assessment Guide1998
11Risk Assessment Process2006
6“Roomers” and Joint Programs with Residence Life1988-1990
6, 11, FF1/D2Sacred Space1996-2002
11Sample Brochures (Floppy Disk)1992-1993
11Sand Mandala2004-2005
6Scholarships and Awards1978, 2006-2012
11Services (Religious) (3 folders)n.d., 1988-1998
11Sex Week1997-1998
6SOAR: Society Against Racism 1992-1993
6South Africa and Apartheid: Correspondence, Flyers, and Articles1985-1986
6, 11-12Spiritual Life Advisory Board (29 folders)1994-2006
12Spiritual Life Center Orientation PowerPoint Presentations2005-2009
12Spiritual Life Center Programs (13 folders)2003-2012
12Spiritual Life Center Weekly Reports2010-2012
12Spiritual Life Office Annual Reports (7 folders)1992-2003
12Spiritual Life Office Brochures (2 folders) (Floppy Disk)1997-2002
13Spiritual Life Office Quarterly Reports (2 folders)1995-2001
13“Spiritual Reflection in Service-Learning”2003
13Spirituality and the Arts Week2005-2006
13Spirituality, Ethics, and Leadership Class2006-2007
13Spirituality Questionnairen.d.
13Storytellers2005-2006
6Student Government Representative1986-1990
13Student Religious Counciln.d.
6Student Service Task Force: Recommendations1990-1991
13Trolley Tours2001-2002
13Tsunami Prayer Service and Relief Fund2004-2005
6Urban University Ministry Programsn.d., [198?]
6University Chaplains2006-2012
13University Planning Steering Committee2006-2007
6, 13-14Wellness Committee (12 folders)1985-1991