Welcome to the Office for Religious Life

Our Mission

“To guide, nurture and enhance spiritual, religious and ethical life within the Stanford University community.”

We are collectively committed and devoted to ensuring lively, thoughtful and supportive contexts for Stanford students, faculty and staff who wish to pursue spiritual interests. We recognize that a spiritual/religious journey can be an important, balancing complement to the numerous challenges one faces in the pursuit of academic and career goals.

While each one of us participates in and leads worship and study in her/his own religious traditions, our primary objective as a staff is to collaborate as a multi-faith team and work with all constituents of this dynamic university.

Our aim is to promote enriching dialogue, meaningful ritual, and enduring friendships among people of all religious backgrounds.



On Schooling Souls

September/October 2014

Stanford Magazine

Retiring Dean McLennan reflects on his 14-year campus ministry.

WHEN WILLIAM “SCOTTY” MCLENNAN got started as dean for religious life in 2000, he was pondering questions about interfaith relations in a changing America. Then came 9/11, and the questions seemed to echo internationally. They had become intertwined with war, peace and existence in a global society.

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Windhover Contemplative Center nearing completion

August 20, 2014

Stanford Dish

Windhover, a sanctuary for quiet contemplation, is nearing completion on the west side of campus on Santa Teresa Street.

The center was designed around four large abstract paintings inspired by birds in flight – known as the “Windhover” series – created by the late Nathan Oliveira, an internationally acclaimed artist who taught at Stanford for more than three decades.

Oliveira, who died in 2010, long dreamed of creating a campus center to house the paintings and to provide a quiet place where members of the Stanford community could rest in quiet reflection.

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Dean of Grace Cathedral to become Stanford Dean for Religious Life

July 22, 2014

Stanford Report

The Very Rev. Dr. Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral in San Francisco, has been named Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University, Provost John Etchemendy announced today. Shaw will also be joining the faculty in Stanford’s Department of Religious Studies.

Shaw, a historian and theologian who is at present also a visiting scholar at Stanford’s Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, has served as Dean of the Episcopal Grace Cathedral since 2010. She previously taught at the University of Oxford.

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