The Rev. Nita Byrd will begin her tenure as Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ new Chaplain and Dean for Spiritual Engagement beginning May 16.
Byrd joins the Colleges from Saint Augustine’s University in Raleigh, N.C. As chaplain there since 2012, she was responsible for campus religious life, from planning services to student programming to pastoral care. In addition to her duties as Religious Studies Program Director at St. Augustine’s, she served on the faculty and as a member of the president’s cabinet and the university’s advancement team.
“From the Colleges’ Episcopal roots to the diversity of faiths practiced on campus today, the spiritual lives of our community members are a defining feature of Hobart and William Smith. I am excited to welcome to Hobart and William Smith Rev. Byrd, whose values and breadth of experience make her uniquely positioned to lead on campus,” says Interim President Patrick A. McGuire L.H.D. ’12.
Byrd, who served as curate at Saint Ambrose Episcopal Church from 2012 to 2015, earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees from NC State University and her M.Div. and Certificate of Anglican Episcopal Studies from Duke Divinity School. While at Duke Divinity, she participated in the Canterbury Scholars Program at Canterbury Cathedral, England. She has been involved at the diocesan level as a member of the Commission on Ministry for the priesthood, the Nominating Committee for the XII Bishop of the Diocese of North Carolina, and the Bishop’s Chartered Committee on Campus and Young Adult Ministries.
As an active member of the Association of Episcopal Colleges (AEC), Byrd participated in the planning committee for an “Ethics and Social Media Conference” where undergraduates participated in seminars at Vanderbilt University. She represented Saint Augustine’s University at the Colleges and Universities of the Anglican Communion Triennial in Seoul, South Korea, and in Chennai, India. In Chennai, Byrd led a discussion at the Triennial Chaplain’s Conference, based on collaborative ministry with other universities in the Raleigh, N.C. area. Additionally, she serves on the Scholarship Review Committee for the Office of Black Ministries of The Episcopal Church.
At Duke University, Byrd has served as a guest lecturer on the topics of the African American musical tradition and Episcopal liturgy, and on the American Christian Experience (presented to exchange students from Jiangsu, China).