Kay Spiritual Life Center


  • Kay Spiritual Life Center
    Fax: 202-885-3317
    Kay Spiritual Life Center, Room

    Office Hours: Monday-Friday 9 AM to 9 PM

    Joe Eldridge
    University Chaplain
    Assistant Director

Mailing Address

Barbara Kraft

Barbara Kraft

SGI Buddhist Chaplain

As a 40 year practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism and member of Soka Gakkai International (SGI), Barbara has been a Buddhist Chaplain with the Kay Center since 2011. Through the practice of Nichiren Buddhism,  people  awaken to the dignity and power within, allowing them to transform their lives on the deepest level thereby creating an indestructibly happy life state and desire to contribute to a peaceful society.  Barbara has held various responsibilities and leadership roles within SGI and participated in the many SGI activities aimed at fostering peace, culture and education both locally and internationally.

Barbara holds two degrees in Psychology, a Bachelor's Degree from George Washington University and a Masters Degree from Catholic University. During a career in Criminal Justice, she counseled offenders and worked with youth and families. She served as a board member for two DC schools and has worked with a local group of neuropsychologists in coaching and tutoring youth with learning and emotional disabilities. She currently has a private tutoring practice.


Ven. Bhante Katugastota Uparatana

Buddhist Chaplain
AU Phone: x3329
Personal Phone: (301) 946-9437

In 1981 Ven. Dr. Henepola Gunaratana, the president of Washington Buddhist Vihara invited Bhante Katugastota Uparatana to join the temple as a resident monk. Upon arriving, he earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy at University of District of Colombia. He has served as the Buddhist chaplain at American University in Washington, D.C. since 1989 where he also teaches Vipassana meditation. In an effort to nourish Theravada Buddhism among the Sri Lankan, American and foreign born people in the United States, Bhante Uparatana founded the International Buddhist Center in Wheaton, Maryland in 1996.

A few years ago, Bhante Uparatana was appointed the co-president of the International Buddhist Committee, which encompasses all Mahayana and Theravada temples and centers in the Washington metropolitan area, and year 2000 he was appointed to host International Vesak, a celebration of Vesak by all of the temples and centers collectively.


Connie Utada

Connie Utada

SGI Buddhist Chaplain

Connie became a Chaplain at AU for the lay Buddhist organization Soka Gakkai International (SGI) in 2011. Soka Gakkai means “value creation” and is based on the teachings and philosophy of Nichiren Buddhism.  In this Buddhism, members seek to develop the ability to live with confidence, to create value in any circumstance and to contribute to the well-being of friends, family, and community. Connie was raised in this Buddhist practice and has taken on leadership positions in her local SGI community for over a decade. Connie earned a B.A. in American Studies from Smith College and a J.D. from Northeastern University School of Law.