Dean Scotty McLennan

Headshot of Rev. Scotty McLennan, Dean for Religious Life at Stanford University

Dean McLennan

Rev. Scotty McLennan

Dean for Religious Life

Scotty McLennan is the Dean for Religious Life at Stanford. His duties at Stanford include providing spiritual, moral, and ethical leadership for the university as a whole, teaching, encouraging a wide spectrum of religious traditions on campus, serving as a minister of Memorial Church, and engaging in public service.

Dean McLennan received a B.A. from Yale University in 1970 as a Scholar of the House working the area of computers and the mind. He received M.Div. and J.D. degrees from Harvard Divinity and Law Schools in 1975. In 1975, he was ordained to the ministry (Unitarian Universalist) and admitted to the Massachusetts bar as an attorney.

From 1974 to 1984, Dean McLennan practiced church-sponsored poverty law in the Dorchester area of Boston. He represented low-income people in the general practice of law, including consumer, landlord-tenant, government benefits, immigration, family and criminal. In the early 1980’s he developed and directed the Unitarian Universalist Legal Ministry, which used largely non-adversary means of dispute resolution, attempted to see clients’ legal problems in relation to their whole life situation, and sought reconciliation with other parties. He was University Chaplain at Tufts University from 1984-2000 and Senior Lecturer at the Harvard Business School for ten of those years.

At Stanford, Dean McLennan has taught undergraduate courses through the Ethics in Society Program (“Ethics and the Professions” and the “The Meaning of Life”), Masters of Liberal Arts Program (“The Meaning of Life”), Urban Studies, with the associate deans for religious life (“Spirituality and Nonviolent Social Transformation”), as well as the Graduate School Business (“The Business World: Moral and Spiritual Inquiry Through Literature”) and Continuing Studies (“Exploring Liberal Christianity”). His primary research interests are in the interface of religion, ethics and the professions.

Dean McLennan is the author of Finding Your Religion: When the Faith You Grew Up With Has Lost Its Meaning (Harper San Francisco, 1999) and Jesus Was a Liberal: Reclaiming Christianity for All (Palgrave Macmillan 2009). With Laura Nash of the Harvard Business School, he co-authored Church on Sunday, Work on Monday: The Challenge of Fusing Christian Values With Business Life (Jossey-Bass, 2001). He lives on campus with his wife, Ellen; they are the parents of two Stanford graduates, Will (’04) and Dan (’07, M.A. ’10).