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MIT installs first campus chaplain


BOSTON (RNS) — An iconic temple of scientific inquiry embraced a new relationship with organized religion Sept. 30 when the Massachusetts Institute of Technology installed its first chaplain in the school’s 146-year history.

Robert M. Randolph, an ordained Church of Christ minister, accepted the mantle of Chaplain to the Institute at a late afternoon ceremony. Randolph has worked at MIT for 28 years, most recently in the role of Senior Associate Dean.

The new job “marks a change at MIT,” Randolph wrote recently in his blog. “Attention is being paid here to the role of religion in the human experience. I will be Chaplain to the whole Institute, believers, non-believers, the uncertain.”

MIT has long relied on a board of chaplains from the greater Boston area to minister to MIT students. That model currently includes 19 board members representing faith groups that range from the Assemblies of God to Vedanta. The board will remain in tact even as Randolph fulfills his new duties.