Harvard taps acting dean to lead Divinity School

Posted: Friday, August 16, 2002

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. (AP) -- William A. Graham, a scholar of Islam and more general religious history, was named dean of the Harvard Divinity School.

Graham had served as acting dean since January. He has taught at Harvard since receiving his Ph.D. there in 1973 and has held several academic posts, including chair of the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations from 1997 until this year.

Graham is also the author of ''Beyond the Written Word: Oral Aspects of Scripture in the History of Religion'' and a popular college textbook, ''The Heritage of World Civilizations.''

''He brings to this role a deep understanding of Harvard and the place of the Divinity School in its history, as well as active engagement in the broad field of religious studies,'' Harvard President Lawrence H. Summers said in a statement.

Graham said his challenges include new appointments, curriculum changes and ''building stronger connections between our work at the Divinity School and that being done elsewhere in the university'' in the arts and sciences and in Harvard's professional schools.

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