Baccalaureate Services and Pluralism (2005)

The renewal of baccalaureate services in colleges and universities across the country has been met with increasingly diverse student populations. The manners in which schools approach this growing plurality of religious faiths are as diverse as the institutions themselves. Some schools no longer include a baccalaureate service as part of their commencement activities, some maintain a traditional Christian form, and some provide an interfaith service of one type or another.

Public and private institutions alike host interfaith baccalaureate ceremonies, as do religiously affiliated and independent schools. The main indicator of whether or not an institution will hold such a ceremony seems most tied to the make-up of that particular school’s student body, faculty, and administration. While not all institutions find that an interfaith service is most suitable for them, a rising number of colleges and universities are discovering that interfaith baccalaureates, in all their varieties, provide their particular student body with a setting for religious reflection that meets their community’s needs in an environment of ever-increasing religious pluralism.

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