Dr. Rita D. Sherma Named 2024 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer

Dr. Rita D. Sherma Named 2024 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer

BERKELEY, CA – May 2, 2024 – The Graduate Theological Union (GTU) is pleased to announce that Dr. Rita D. Sherma will be recognized as the 2024 Distinguished Faculty Lecturer this November. 

Dr. Sherma serves as the founding Director of the GTU’s Center for Dharma Studies, GTU Core Doctoral Faculty, and Co-Chair of GTU Sustainability 360—an interreligious environmental humanities initiative. She's held leadership roles as Vice President of the Society for Hindu-Christian Studies and as Founding Vice President of the Dharma Academy of North America. Additionally, she founded the Hinduism Program Unit at the American Academy of Religion. Over her career, she has organized more than twenty international conferences spanning Sustainability Studies, Religion & Integrative Medicine, Contemplative Studies, and Religious Studies. 

Sherma has received recognition for her work as the recipient of the South Asian Studies Association’s 2023 Exemplar Award, the University of Southern California’s 2014 Professor of the Year Award, the Hindu Spiritual Care Institute’s Karma Seva Award, as well as DANAM and Uberoi Foundation Book Awards, to mention just a few.  

Each November, the GTU faculty honors a distinguished professor who embodies the high scholarly standards, excellence in teaching, and deep commitment to ecumenism that define the GTU. Members of the GTU faculty submit nominations to the Council of Deans, which selects the lecturer. 

“This recognition fulfills a sense of belonging” noted Dr. Sherma, upon receiving notification of the award. “I have always felt most at home among theologians of all religions who use the hermeneutics of faith and justice to understand our responsibility to the Divine and to the world.”  

In her lecture, Dr. Rita Sherma will address the entanglement of religious life and the natural world, an issue that is at the core of her academic and spiritual life. "This topic is significant because it comprises a wide range of sub-disciplines, bringing theology and theoethics into conversation with (1) economic justice; (2) the climate crisis; (3) environmental-racial-class justice; (4) animal ethics; (5) gender & ecology; and (6) the natural sciences” Dr. Sherma explained. 

Dr. Sherma’s lecture will take place in November of 2024. To read an interview with Dr. Sherma about this recognition, head to the GTU Voices blog.