Stephen Prothero, the C. Allyn and Elizabeth V. Russell Professor of Religion and department chair at Boston University—as well as an author of several books that have been translated into eight languages—will deliver the Baccalaureate address at this year’s ceremony at 4 p.m. Sunday, May 20, in Packer Church. The title of his talk is "In Praise of Wandering.”
A frequent commentator on religion, he has been interviewed on hundreds of programs on National Public Radio and on television stations that include all major networks, PBS, Fox, MSNBC and CNN. He is a regular contributor to the The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, and has written for the The New York Times, Slate, Salon, The Washington Post, Los Angeles Times and The Boston Globe.
His books, which have been published on five continents, include the 2016 “Why Liberals Win the Culture Wars” and the 2010 “God is Not One: The Eight Rival Religions that Run the World—and Why Their Differences Matter.” They were preceded by The New York Times bestseller, “Religious Literacy: What Every American Needs to Know,” which was published in 2007.
Professor of Religion Studies and University Chaplain Lloyd Steffen said he is “pleased and honored” to have Prothero address the graduating students and their families at this year’s Baccalaureate service.
“He is an exceptionally fine scholar, religion historian and cultural commentator who has connected with a large public audience,” Steffen said, noting that Prothero is often sought out for his insights into religious and cultural matters by major news outlets, media programs and popular culture icons such as Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and Oprah Winfrey.
“He has concerned himself with such important issues as the need for religious literacy in America, holding that it is necessary for informed and engaged citizenship. Professor Prothero has argued that a deeper form of civic education in America would include teaching about religion in our public schools.”
Steffen noted that Newsweek described him as a rare combination of a “world-religions scholar with the soul of a late night television comic” and said that he is confident that Prothero will offer “timely and wise remarks at our upcoming Baccalaureate service during Commencement weekend."
Prothero, the chief academic adviser for the critically acclaimed six-hour WGBH-TV series, "God in America,” also worked as a Senior Fellow at the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum of American History, and as the chief outside writer for CNN's "Belief Blog."
He received his Bachelor of Arts degree in American Studies from Yale University, and his Ph.D. in the Study of Religion from Harvard.
For his ongoing social commentary, please follow him on Twitter at @sprothero.