Core Profile: Christine Henchar Reed ’90

Submitted by Web Communications on July 29, 2011


I remain convinced the unique opportunity to study a curriculum in a Jesuit university is a blessing indeed.

Christine Henchar Reed ’90

Hometown: Franklin, TN

Program: Religious Studies

Extracurricular: Created the Fairfield University Debate Team in 1987-88, Commentary Assistant for The Mirror, Alpha Sigma Nu, Appalachia Service Corps. (spring break missions), participated in Leadership weekend (FUSA), studied abroad in London

Honors: Harry S. Truman Scholar in 1988, Alpha Sigma Nu

career trajectory re-directed

Without sounding overly dramatic, the core curriculum changed my course of studies and career trajectory. I entered Fairfield University with the intention to prepare for law school and declared a major in Politics as an incoming first year student. I was not raised in a religious household and I was intimidated by the prospect of enrolling in the required Religious Studies courses. As it turned out, those courses were among my favorite ones; they awakened an interest that i would not have discovered without the core curriculum requirements. I became a Religious Studies minor and after graduation went on to earn an M.A. in Religious (Ethics) and an M.Div degree from Vanderbilt University.

in service to others

In Dr. Lakeland’s Liberation Thelogy class (which I took to fulfill a core requirement), I learned that Jesus came to save the poor and oppressed. This classroom knowledge, combined with my experiences serving those in need on spring break missions trips and in an independent study course tutoring illiterate women in Bridgeport, set me on a career path in service to others. I served in professional ministry for 10 years and other non-profit work for 5 years. The 3 years I spent serving as a college chaplain were my favorite, as I was inspired to help other college students experience the same kind of dramatic growth and transformation I did as a Fairfield student.

“The Core” endures

The most enduring influences of the core curriculum for me are:

1) The ability to identify relationships among the apparently dissimilar which allows for creative problem-solving.

2) The ability to appreciate and value the varying viewpoints on any subject. In a society that has become increasingly divisive, I have gained a strong reputation for mediating differences among people. My personal life is also enhanced by an ability to form relationships with people who hold views on politics and religion that differ from mine.

I remain convinced the unique opportunity to study a curriculum in a Jesuit university is a blessing indeed.

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