You are here: Our Chaplains

Kay's two dozen religious communities have nearly 40 chaplains to provide guidance and serve our communities' spiritual needs.

Assemblies of God (Chi Alpha)

  1. Photo of Blane Young

    Rev. Blane Young

    Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship Chaplain

    Reverend Blane Young became the director of American University Chi Alpha in 2014. He completed an internship (Campus Missionary in Training) with AU Chi Alpha in the 2011-2012 and is a credentialed minister with the Assemblies of God. Blane’s main roles include preaching, teaching, and mentoring / counseling students, all while overseeing the ministry. Before coming to Washington, DC, Blane worked on staff at Family Life Church in Brunswick, GA. He graduated in 2009 from the University of Alabama where he was a National Hispanic Scholar and received a B.A. in religious studies and minored in computer science technology and applications. He also served as student director of Alabama Chi Alpha with his now wife, Hannah. He is an active member in National Community Church and involved heavily in ministry there.

    Blane and his wife, Hannah, have a toddler son, Jeremiah, and live in Northwest DC. Blane enjoys finding new podcasts to listen to and sharing them with his son, drinking and making coffee, and discovering the latest technology trends.

    Note: During Academic Year 2017-2018, he’ll be off-campus itinerating and pursuing a process within AGUSM and Chi Alpha called National Appointment. He plans to return and resume his role in Fall 2018.

    AU Phone: x3476

  2. Photo of Natalie Hill

    Rev. Natalie Hill

    Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship Chaplain

    Reverend Natalie Hill is originally from Buffalo, NY and graduated from American University in 2013 with a B.A. in anthropology. She did an internship (Campus Missionary in Training) with Chi Alpha Campus Ministries at AU in the 2013-2014 school year and came on staff as a Missionary Associate after that. She is a worship leader and is passionate about finding ways to bring art and faith together, specifically through music. She is a certified minister with the Assemblies of God and is also involved in preaching, teaching, and mentoring students. Natalie is also a worship leader at National Community Church and involved in ministry there as well, specifically at the Georgetown campus.

    Outside of ministry, Natalie can be found writing songs, reading Steinbeck, drinking coffee, and (unfortunately) cheering for the Buffalo Bills.

    Note: During Academic Year 2017-2018, she’ll be serving as the Interim Co-Director for Chi Alpha alongside Josh Jones.

  3. Photo of Josh Jones

    Rev. Josh Jones

    Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship Chaplain

    Reverend Josh Jones joined the staff of American University Chi Alpha in the fall of 2015, alongside his wife, Brittney. With a Bachelor's degree in Ministry Leadership from Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa Falls, GA (’12) and a graduate degree in Theological Studies from Columbia International University in Columbia, SC (’14), Josh is passionate about equipping college students to learn more and lead others well. He is specifically interested in doctrine and theology and often teaches seminars within Chi Alpha on these topics. His roles include teaching, preaching, and production and tech, and he is credentialed with the Assemblies of God.

    Josh is originally from South Georgia, and he and his wife have a baby girl, Evie Joy. In his off time, Josh enjoys reading, playing video games, and finding the best sources of caffeine.

    Note: During Academic Year 2017-2018, he’ll be serving as the Interim Co-Director for Chi Alpha alongside Natalie Hill.

  4. Photo of Brittney Jones

    Brittney Jones

    Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship Chaplain

    Brittney Jones graduated from Toccoa Falls College in 2013 with a degree in cross-cultural studies. She and her husband, Josh, joined the AU Chi Alpha staff in the fall of 2015 after growing up outside Atlanta, GA. Brittney is the director of the international student ministry with Chi Alpha and is passionate about reaching out to international students. She also teaches a Chi Alpha course for students on the basics of Christianity. Outside of teaching and ministering to international students, Brittney is involved with mentoring women and counseling students.

    Brittney currently works part-time with Chi Alpha in order to stay home part-time with their daughter, Evie Joy. She enjoys apartment therapy and hosting people in her home.


  1. Adrien Ngudiankama

    Rev. Adrien Ngudiankama

    Baptist Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3329
    Personal Phone: (240) 595-2127

    Adrien N. Ngudiankama is originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo. He was ordained by the London Baptist Association and the Baptist Union of Great Britain at Bloomsbury Central Baptist Church in London in 1994. He has a Philosophia Masters in Systematic Theology from King’s College and a PhD in Health Education and Health Promotion from the Institute of Education, London University. He did his Post-doctoral research in anthropology and sociology of religion at the University of Kansas and Princeton University. His interests are in global mission, pastoral counseling, conflict resolution, health promotion, migration, and conflict resolution as related to Africa and the African migrant contexts. He taught sociology and anthropology at Bowie States University, Georges Washington University and the University of Kansas.

    Adrien works as the Faith-Based Project Manager with the American Cancer Society. He is a member of the American Association of Pastoral Counselors and of the African Association of Pastoral Care and Counseling. He has been appointed as a regular member for the Baptist World Alliance Commission on Peace. He is also pastor with Salem Gospel Ministries, a church affiliated to the District of Columbia Baptist Convention and the Baptist Convention of Maryland and Delaware.


  1. Photo of Fr. Carlos Quijano preaching

    Fr. Carlos Quijano, O.P.

    Roman Catholic Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3294

    Father Carlos B. Quijano, O.P. was born in New York City in 1962 and grew up in the Maryland suburbs of Washington, DC, where most of his family still lives. He received a degree in Civil Engineering from the Ecole Polytechnique Federale in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1987 and worked several years as an engineer at several consulting firms in the Washington area. In 1995, he entered the Order of Preachers (the Dominican Fathers). Receiving his Master of Divinity from the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, DC, in 2001, Fr. Quijano was ordained to the priesthood in 2002. From 2003 to 2010, Fr. Carlos was assigned to St Catherine of Siena Church in New York City where he served as the Coordinator of Catholic Chaplaincy for the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Cornell Medical Center as well as the Assistant Catholic Chaplain at Memorial Sloane Kettering Center for Cancer and the New York Hospital for Special Surgery. From 2010 t0 2012, he was assigned to Ss. Philip & James Church in Baltimore, MD, to serve as the Assistant Catholic Chaplain at Johns Hopkins University. Fr. Quijano is now at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington and serves as the Catholic Chaplain at American University.

  2. Dr. Karin Thorton

    Dr. Karin Thornton

    Associate Roman Catholic Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3326
    Personal Phone: (202) 364-8785

    Karin Thornton was born in Berlin, Germany and attended schools in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. after completing the Swiss High School Matura, she studied at Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in German Literature. Following a year of studies in Germany, in Cologne and Tuebingen, she was admitted to the Graduate School of Columbia University where she completed her studies with a Ph.D. She also holds a certificate in Pastoral Ministry, "Education for Parish Service" from Trinity College in Washington, D.C.

    Karin Thornton has one daughter and two sons. She recently celebrated her 25th anniversary of being the Associate Catholic Chaplain at American University. During her first year of Studies in "Education for Parish Service" she was asked to be a team member on the ECHO - Encountering Christ in Others - retreat at American University. She was subsequently asked and happily accepted to be the Associate Catholic Chaplain. She is a "Lady Commander of the Holy Sepulchre" and the recipient of the "Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice" award, the highest award a lay person can receive from the Pope, by Pope John Paul II. Karin finds it a great joy and a privilege to be a part of a vibrant Catholic Community at American University.

  3. Photo of Grace Hegarty

    Grace Hegarty

    Catholic Campus Minister

    AU Phone: x3326


    Grace Hegarty is the Catholic Campus Minister at AU and is very excited for this mission! She fell in love with campus ministry during her undergraduate career at University of Maryland (Go Terps!) where she was very involved at the Catholic Student Center. She attained a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in English Language and Literature and Political Science. She has a history of working with the federal government, and other churches/ministries in the Catholic Archdiocese of Washington, which all have led her here to AU. In addition to her career, Grace enjoys talking, laughing, camping, kayaking, reading Shakespeare, and listening to Mumford & Sons. She loves talking with students, so feel free to email her at!

Christian Scientist


  1. Carolyn Seaton

    Carolyn Seaton

    Episcopal/Anglican Chaplain

    Interfaith Council Advisor

    AU Phone: x3329
    Personal Phone: (301) 585-2063

    Carolyn Seaton has served as Episcopal-Anglican Chaplain at the Kay Center since 2002. She loves every minute of her time there, because the Kay students and staff are vitally involved in strengthening their connections to their own faith traditions while learning about others and working together for the greater good of the AU community, as well as the world outside its gates. She has a B.A. in Literature, a Master's degree in Mental Health from The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, and currently studies at Wesley Theological Seminary next door.

    She has worked as a writer, teacher, and counselor, particularly with high school and college students, most recently at George Washington University, the College Preparatory program at Georgetown University, and as a tutor in private practice. She is a member of St. Alban's Episcopal Church in D.C., is married, and has two daughters in college. She travels anytime she can, loves visiting new cities, reading international fiction, discussing theology, and music of many varieties.

Latter-day Saints (Mormon)

  1. AU Blank Profile Image

    Michael Cottle

    Latter-Day Saints Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3329
    Personal Phone: (202) 448-3399


  1. Rev. Tom Omholt preaches in Kay

    Rev. Tom Omholt

    Lutheran Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3329
    Personal Phone: (202) 966-5489

    Tom is a native New Yorker who served a congregation in Brooklyn, NY for nine years, and is now serving his twenty-eighth year as the pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church at 4900 Connecticut Avenue NW. He is the part-time Lutheran chaplain at American University, and has served in that capacity for about thirteen years. In his own words "what a joy, and a challenge it continues to be to care for my own congregation, and to reach out to the wonderful students at AU with the Good News of the Gospel as well."

    He remains a die-hard Yankees and Giants fan. He is married to Barbara and has one adult son and a golden retriever. He loves sports, good restaurants, and their house at Deep Creek Lake, MD.


  1. Photo of Moses Lee

    Moses Lee

    OneU Chaplain

    Moses is a native of Maryland and graduated from the University of Maryland College Park (B.S.) and Westminster Theological Seminary (M.Div.). He's currently finishing his Master of Theology in historical and theological studies focusing on North Korean cinematography. He's also ordained for ministry by the Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) and currently serves out of the Redeemer Church of Arlington, VA.

    He and his wife, Rachel (SIS MA '17), love hosting students at their apartment, discussing nerdy topics, going on walks with their dog, and dreaming about serving North Koreans one day.


  2. Kevin Offner

    Kevin Offner

    InterVarsity Christian Fellowship Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3329
    Personal Phone: (202) 546-3326

    Kevin Offner has been on staff with InterVarsity Christian Fellowship for 27 years, serving at Harvard University, M.I.T, and Brown University, and currently at five universities in the Greater Washington, DC area. He is also working on his Ph.D at The Catholic University of America, focusing on the Early Church Fathers. He has been involved in many Catholic-Protestant dialogues and is writing his doctoral dissertation on Saint Augustine, showing how both Catholics and Protestants have drawn deeply from this man's writings.

    Kevin has been married to Amy for 16 years and they have a six year old son, David. Kevin currently serves as an elder in the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America), at Grace Presbyterian Church, which meets in Chinatown in Washington, DC. The Offners live on Capitol Hill and enjoy exercising their gifts of hospitality with the students to whom they minister.

  3. AU Blank Profile Image

    Sylstea Sledge

    Gospel Choir Chaplain and Director

    AU Phone: x3329
    Personal Phone: (301) 805-5627

    Sylstea C. Sledge, music educator and composer, is a native of Washington, DC. He is the only son of proud parents, Tammah L. Sledge and the late Sylister Sledge. The musical talents of playing the piano and making up songs were discovered very early when Sylstea would visit his Uncle Elisha’s and Aunt Emma’s house and play on their old up-right piano. His musical talents were also nurtured in the Sunday School Department at the Trinidad Baptist Church and the Guiding Star Baptist Church. While continuing to build a stronger musical foundation, blessed teachers: Rev. Rosalynd Reed-Walker, Professor Bernard Barbour, Mrs. Beatrice Gilkes and Dr. Raymond Jackson were among the first inspiring mentors.

    Professionally, Sylstea holds a Bachelor of Science from Hampton University and a Master’s of Music Education from the University of Arkansas. He is a former music teacher of the Prince George’s County Public School System, Adjunct Professor at American University-Gospel Choir, full-time Minister of Music at the First Mount Zion Baptist Church in Dumfries, Virginia, Member of the Gospel Music Workshop of America.


Ben Leopold, Associate Cru Chaplain, 703-447-4190,
Halie Valada, Associate Cru Chaplain, 215-771-0118,
Kayla Martin, Associate Cru Chaplain, 515-419-4989,
Brittany Bading, Associate Cru Chaplain, x3320,
Lauren O'Connor, Associate Cru Chaplain, 704-576-5981,
Addison Frank, Associate Cru Chaplain, 267-981-8185,



  1. Rev. Quinn Fox

    Rev. Quinn Fox

    Presbyterian Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3329

    Quinn Fox grew up in the Chicago area and attended Colorado College, where he majored in history and played on a nationally-ranked Division III football team; during his college years he was active in Young Life leadership. Upon graduation he spent 8 months in the Philippines with Young Life before enrolling at Fuller Theological Seminary. After four years of study—with a 15-month stint directing the high school ministry at 1st Presbyterian Church of Colorado Springs—he received the M.Div. and M.A. degrees. He was ordained as Associate Chaplain at Whitworth College (Spokane, WA) a Presbyterian school, where he served four years. From there Quinn pursued his graduate education, earning a Th.M. from Princeton Theological Seminary and a Ph.D. from Vanderbilt University in the History of Christian Thought.

    Quinn has served churches in Southern California, Washington State, Texas and Colorado. As Associate Pastor for Adult Education at 1st Presbyterian Colorado Springs he directed one of the largest adult education programs in the Presbyterian Church (USA). He was invited to join the denomination’s Office of Theology and Worship in 2007 to direct a Lilly Endowment-funded program for new pastors; he contributed to the denomination’s report on Christian-Muslim relations to the General Assembly in 2010. In 2011 Quinn moved to Washington to become the Associate Pastor for Discipleship and Christian Formation at National Presbyterian Church (4101 Nebraska Ave., NW). Quinn taught as an adjunct professor for Fuller Seminary’s Colorado Springs Campus from 1997 to 2012 (church history, historical and systematic theology, homiletics and Presbyterian polity); in 2011 he was Visiting Professor of Church History at the Evangelical Theological Seminary in Cairo, Egypt.

    In addition to his responsibilities at National Presbyterian Church he serves as an Associate Director for the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology and is active in the National Capital Presbytery. He regularly teaches Bible classes and leads a weekly book discussion group at National Presbyterian. He is particularly interested in the intersection of faith and popular culture, and has taught classes on “The Gospel According to Downton Abbey” and “Looking for God in a Galaxy Far, Far Away.”

    Quinn enjoys books and reading, great movies and films, and a wide variety of foods (and travel to their country of origin); he wishes there was more time to write. He likes all kinds of exercise, but would rather hike in the Rocky Mountains than shovel snow off his driveway in Bethesda! Quinn has been married to Nancy for over 36 years; they have two adult children in their 20’s.

United Methodist

  1. Rev. Joey Heath

    Rev. Joey Heath

    United Methodist Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3304
    Personal Phone:

    Rev. Joey Heath is the United Methodist Chaplain at American University. He was raised in southern Georgia and attended college at Valdosta State University, majoring in political science. After changing a previous plan to attend law school, he spent several years working a variety of jobs from camp counselor to working on cruise ships. In 2008 he felt God leading him to be a part of being change in the church as a pastor. In response he enrolled at Wesley Theological Seminary and began a Master of Divinity degree. In 2012 Joey graduated and began his first appointment at Stone Chapel UMC in New Windsor, MD. This was followed by three years at Silver Spring UMC as the associate pastor. Joey’s passion in ministry is to see life changing transformation in the world and to be the church where all are welcomed and embraced for exactly who God has created each one to be.

Jewish & Muslim Chaplains


  1. Jason Bekendorf

    Jason Benkendorf

    Executive Director of Hillel

    AU Phone: x3324

    Jason Benkendorf was recently appointed Executive Director of American University Hillel. An AU alumnus, he is excited to return to his old stomping grounds and eager for the chance to work and learn with the extraordinary people who make up the AU community.

    Jason comes to Hillel following five years with The Curriculum Initiative (TCI), an organization that supports inclusive Jewish programming at independent high schools. He previously served as Senior Officer of Public and Academic Affairs at the Embassy of Israel, during which time he worked closely with student activists at AU and other DC area campuses. Jason has also been involved with BBYO in a variety of capacities over the last fifteen years.

    A passion for public service brought Jason to DC, and he received his BA in political science from the AU School of Public Affairs. He subsequently completed an MBA at Johns Hopkins University with a concentration in organization development.

    Jason is a devoted Washington Nationals fan, an avid reader, and a summer camp enthusiast (17 years and counting). No matter the weather, rest assured that he wishes he was wearing flip flops.

  2. Portrait of Mollie Feldman

    Mollie Feldman

    Assistant Director, Hillel

    Mollie Feldman joined AU Hillel's team in July 2017 as Assistant Director. Mollie received two master's degrees from the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program at Brandeis University. She previously served as the youth director at a synagogue in Minneapolis and as an educator at Brandeis Collegiate Institute, an innovative four-week residential program for Jewish young adults. Mollie completed the Experiential Jewish Educators Program at the Pardes Institute in Jerusalem and received a Certificate in Experiential Jewish Education from Hebrew Union College.


  1. Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad

    Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad

    Muslim Chaplain

    Personal Phone: (240) 880-7708

    Born on in 1948 at sea to Palestinian refugee parents, Dr. Ahmad was raised in Pennsylvania. He graduated cum laude from Harvard in 1970 and in 1975 obtained a Ph. D. in astronomy and astrophysics from the University of Arizona. He teaches an introductory course on Islam at the Wesley Theological Seminary and holds a position as senior lecturer at the University of Maryland in College Park, MD where he has taught honors courses in "Religion and Progress" and on "Religion, Science, and Freedom." He has also taught college courses on Islam and Development at Georgetown University and graduate courses in Islam and Development and Theory of Social Change at the Johns Hopkins University School for Advanced International Studies. Dr. Ahmad has lectured on Islam at the Foreign Services Institute and for the Joint Special Operations University's Middle East Orientation Course. He has done postdoctoral work in astronomy at Harvard, the University of Maryland, and under contract to Goddard Space Flight Center and for private firms. He is currently President of the Minaret of Freedom Institute, an Islamic think-tank in the Washington, DC area.

    Dr. Ahmad is an internationally sought-after speaker on matters relating to Islam and Muslims. He is author of Signs in the Heavens, co-editor of Islam and the West: A Dialog, and co-author of Islam and the Discovery of Freedom. Dr. Ahmad's essay "An Islamic Perspective on the Wealth of Nations" appears in the International Library of Critical Writings on Economics series #129 The Economics of Property Rights. His most recent books are The Islamic Rules of Order and the Directory of Policy Experts in Islamic Studies and Muslim Affairs. In addition to serving as a Muslim chaplain at American University, he is a chaplain at the Adventist Behavioral Center and the Perkins Hospital, Imam of the Dar-adh-Dhikr Mosque, President of the Islamic-American Zakat Foundation, and arbitrator for the Coordinating Council of Muslim Organizations in the Greater Washington Metropolitan Area. He resides in Bethesda with his wife Frances Eddy.

    Dr. Ahmad has received the "Star Cup for Outstanding Public Service" award from the Montgomery County Civic Federation, the "Champion of Democracy Award" from Marylanders for Democracy, the "Samuel P. Chase Freedom Award" from the Libertarian Party of Maryland, and the "Sentinel Award" from the Montgomery County Civic Federation.

  2. Ghiyath Nakshbendi

    Ghiyath Nakshbendi

    Associate Muslim Chaplain


    Ghiyath Nakshbendi, was the founder of the first college Masjd at Montgomery College, Rockville, Maryland back in 1972, when he was on a tenured faculty there. Also, he was a member of Advisory Committee on U.S.-Muslim World Relations at US Institute of Peace which was formed in 2006. Ghiyath was a guest of the U.S. Department of State tour (2008) to Saudi Arabia-Egypt and Jordan, tour of 4 American Muslim, to speak about Islam in America. He left academic to pursue carrier in the financial industry for more than 25 years. He returned to academia in 2007 to teach business courses at Kogod School of Business, and he is an affiliate faculty at the School on International Service. At American University he introduced the first graduate and undergraduate academic course on Islamic Finance in the District of Columbia area. a Fulbright Scholar with previous affiliation with 5 other educational institutions of higher learning in the U.S. and abroad, where he taught business courses in Arabic.

    Ghiyath is very active in the American University community, serving on committees across campus to being faculty advisor to several university students clubs, including the Muslim Student Association, and recently volunteered to serve as an Associate Muslim Chaplain. Between teaching and committees work, he spends time counselling students on varieties of topics.

    Ghiyath is a Middle East and North Africa expert, with a focus on the GCC. A native Arabic speaker. He was born, raised, educated and did major projects in the region from Mauritania to Oman, over a period of 20 years. He is a regular visitor to the region and follows the region development regularly.

    He is a frequent speaker nationally and internationally. He had speaking engagements with the U.S. Department of State. He lectured at the Foreign Service Institute. His television, radio and print interviews, includes: Alhurra Television, Express News, SNRT of Morocco, HOT 102 FM Station of Jamaica, Atlantic Radio of Morocco, VOA, SkyNewsArabia, Kuwait TV , FM 93.3 Radio of Kuwait , OmanTV, Dubai TV., Xinhua News Agency , Al Ekhbariya TV of Saudi Arabia, French TV. France 24 and Radio Monte Carlo International among others. Ghiyath Nakshbendi’s name is listed on the Fulbright Specialist Roster. Also, he is a fellow of Sovereign Investment Lab. BAFFI CAREFIN Centre for Applied Research on International Markets, Banking, Finance and Regulation. at Università Bocconi.

    He earned his MBA from the Mays School of Business at Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas and was awarded his Ph.D. in Business Administration from American University, Washington, D.C.

Hindu & Buddhist Chaplains


  1. SGI Buddhist Chaplain 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.

  2. AU Blank Profile

    Ven. Bhante Katugastota Uparatana

    Buddhist Chaplain

    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.

  3. Buddhist Chaplain 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.


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    Pandit Vishnu Ramphal

    Hindu/Vedic Chaplain

    Personal Phone: (301) 325-5134

Bahá’í, Sikh & Unitarian Chaplains


  1. Baha'i Chaplain Donna Denize

    Donna Denizé

    Baha'i Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3329
    Personal Phone: (202) 537-6478

    Donna Denizé, of Haitian-American descent, is the author of the poetry chapbook, "The Lover's Voice" (1997) and a book of poems, "Broken Like Job" (2005). Her poems have appeared in anthologies such as Hungry As We Are; WPFW Poetry Anthology; Weavings 2000, and magazines, Provincetown Arts, Gargoyle, World Order, Innisfree Journal of Poetry, and Orison. She holds degrees from Stonehill College and Howard University, where she was a student of poet Robert Hayden, while he served as Consultant to the Library of Congress. She served two years on The Folger Poetry Board, and has also contributed to scholarly books and journals, including Shakespeare Set Free, published by the Folger Shakespeare Library and Teacher’s Digest, an educational magazine from The Corporation for Public Broadcasting. She was also one of eight invited teacher's for The Corporation for Public Broadcasting’s eight part mini-series, In Search of the Novel (aired nationwide, 2000-present).

    In 2003, she was awarded by Williams College the George Olmsted Jr., Prize for excellence in secondary teaching, and in 2004, she was appointed to the board of trustees of The American Shakespeare Center (ASC) in Staunton, Virginia. She currently teaches literature at St. Albans School for Boys, where she has taught Shakespeare, American literature, and freshman English for 20 years, and during the summer, teaches in “The Cathedral Scholars Program,” an outreach program of academic enrichment which serves students from 18 different D.C. public schools.


  1. Surjit Mansingh

    Surjit Mansingh

    Sikh Chaplain

    Adjunct Professor, School of International Service

    AU Phone: x3329
    Personal Phone: (301) 320-7716

    In addition to her duties as the Sikh chaplain at American University, Professor Surjit Mansingh presently teaches as an adjunct in the School of International Service. She retired a few years ago from her position as Professor and Chairperson, Centre for International Politics at the Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. She has taught at other Universities in the US, India and Europe and began her professional life as a member of the Indian Foreign Service. She is the author of many books and papers on foreign relations and Indian history.

Unitarian Universalist

  1. Charlotte Jones-Carroll

    Charlotte Jones-Carroll

    Unitarian Universalist Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3329
    Personal Phone: (301) 652-2205

    Charlotte Jones-Carroll, an SIS BA '67 alumna, became AU's Unitarian-Universalist lay chaplain in 2001. Campus ministry for UU-preference students is sponsored by River Road Unitarian-Universalist Congregation (RRUUC) in Bethesda, Charlotte's home congregation, under supervision of Rev. Nancy Ladd. Before Charlotte took up this role, she served 31 years in USAID and World Bank positions, earned an MPA at Princeton University, and studied peacebuilding and conflict transformation informally at AU and Eastern Mennonite U. She has worked with high school youth as well at RRUUC, and served on that congregation's board, as well as the board of the UU Service Committee in Cambridge, MA and several other non-profit organizations' boards in the DC area. Charlotte and her husband Tom have an adult daughter, Ilona Carroll, and live in Chevy Chase, MD.

Humanist & Quaker Chaplains


  1. Binyamin Biber

    Binyamin Biber

    Humanist Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3329

    Chaplain Biber is an ordained Humanistic rabbi who has for a decade served a DC congregation called Machar, the Washington Congregation for Secular Humanistic Judaism ('Machar' means 'tomorrow' in Hebrew). He is also currently the President of the Association of Humanistic Rabbis - North America, a member of the Rabbinic Cabinet of J Street – working for a just peace between Israel and Palestine, and a board member of the Humanist Society, the professional organization of chaplains and officiants active within the American Humanist Association (AHA).


  1. Gene Throwe

    Gene Throwe

    Quaker Chaplain

    AU Phone: x3326
    Personal Phone: (703) 405-9003

    Gene Throwe is an alumnus of the American University Washington Semester Program (Spring ’92) where he studied foreign policy. He holds a BA from Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC. Gene currently works for a non-profit that advocates for nursing education. He is active with Friends Meeting of Washington (Quaker) in Dupont Circle and was led to develop an outreach program between local college students and the Quaker community after attending a retreat on engaging young adults in Quakerism. Gene currently serves on the Ministry and Worship Committee at his meeting and is active with the Young Adult Friends. His hobbies include knitting and crocheting, reading, and he is active in LGBT issues.