Willamette Appoints Associate Chaplain/Lilly Grant Director

Dr. Karen L. Wood will join the Willamette University administration Aug. 19 as associate chaplain for vocational exploration, a five-year position funded by a $2 million grant from the Lilly Endowment. Wood will take primary responsibility for implementing and directing the grant, which focuses on the religious, spiritual and ethical dimensions of vocation.

"The grant seeks to evoke a consciousness of calling in Willamette students - both in the direction of traditional ministry and in the wider sense of other helping professions," said Charlie Wallace, Willamette University Chaplain and chair of the Lilly Grant implementation committee. The Lilly grant will also fund new courses, internships, and summer study possibilities, retreats, art and music projects, and enhanced opportunities for service learning.

A native of Ohio and a graduate of Brown University, Wood has a master's of divinity and doctor of theology degrees from Harvard. Her work experience includes brief stints in residence life and teaching at Wellesley College and chaplaincy at Smith College, four years as director and two years as associate dean for student life at Union Theological Seminary in New York City, and four years as a program associate with the National Conference of Christians and Jews, also in New York. She comes to Willamette from the position of dean of student affairs at the National College of Naturopathic Medicine in Portland.

"Karen brings great experience and skills to our position," added Wallace. "In a national search we are lucky to have found such a wonderful candidate so close to home. Everyone who met her on campus is looking forward to working with her."

Wood currently sits on the boards of the Mt. Hood Repertory Theatre and the Friends of the Martin Buber House in the USA, and on the Theater Grants Panel of the Oregon Arts Commission. She is an avid backpacker and mountain climber.