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Northwestern’s Spiritual Beacon

tim stevens
Tim Stevens at Alice Millar Chapel Image: Jim Prisching

Fall 2018

In the fall of 1986, Northwestern offered Timothy Stevens ’82 MA, ’90 PhD the job of acting University chaplain, an appointment intended to last one year. “It’s been a long year,” says Stevens. After guiding generations of students, faculty and staff through some of their best and toughest times, Stevens retired as chaplain following the 2018 Commencement. In his 32-year tenure, Stevens helped transform religious life on campus by embracing multiculturalism, advocating for inclusion and LGBT rights and fostering interfaith dialogue. He convened the Northwestern Council of Religions, which featured regular conversations among students from different religious backgrounds. Five years later the council served a central role in hosting an interfaith gathering for grieving students, staff and faculty following the 9/11 attacks. Stevens also worked to further Northwestern’s social mission beyond campus by co-leading interfaith “Friendship Missions” during spring break. On these trips, he brought 10 to 15 students to El Salvador, Guatemala, Cuba, Haiti and Russia with a focus on showing students another part of the world and helping them build relationships with these communities. In retirement, Stevens plans to attend some Chicago Cubs and Northwestern basketball games with his wife, Priscilla Wilkins Stevens ’79 MA/MS, ’82 PhD. He has also been taking lessons at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Chicago and relishes the chance to “just be the old guy who plays the banjo.”

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