National Association of College
and University Chaplains


A multifaith professional community supporting spiritual and ethical life in higher education

The Decade of the 1950s

Archival records do not contain complete information on conferences in the 1950's; however, notes from former president Bradford Abernethy of Rutgers indicate the locations, dates and themes for most years as follows:

Pennsylvania College for Women (later named Chatham College), Pittsburgh (April 11-13, 1950); conference presentations were on The Chaplaincy Movement, The Chaplain's Relation to the Curriculum and Educational Policy, The Chaplaincy in American Colleges, The Chaplain and Faculty Colleagues, The Chaplain as Counselor, The Christian Action in Public Affairs, Civil Liberties on College Campuses, and The President Looks at the Role of the Chaplain. Chaplains, YMCA and YWCA executives, and President Louis Benezet of Allegheny College, respectively, made keynote presentations on these topics. Dr. W. J. Faulkner, Dean of the Chapel at Fisk University, led worship services throughout the conference.

Hampton Institute (April 17-19, 1951); "Christianity and the University" was the major theme of the conference, with keynoter Edwin E. Aubrey, Professor of Religious Though, University of Pennsylvania, delivering three lectures. Additional addresses were presented by John Deschner, Executive Secretary, United Student Christian Council and Jean Paul Mather, Administrative Assistant, The American Council of Education, respectively on the topics "Religious Organizations Working with Students" and "The Present Emergency in the Colleges."

Earlham College (April 1-3, 1952);

Princeton University (April 7-9, 1953);

Howard University (April 20-22, 1954);

University of Michigan (April 29-May 2, 1957);

Yale University (April 14-17, 1958); The 11th conference for NACUC was held back at Yale under the leadership of President George Bean, U.S. Military Academy. Sidney Lovett of Yale served as "Conference Chaplain." Widely varied topics for the conference included Problems of New Chaplain, Sex Mores and the Christian Conscience, The Cult of Objectivity, Campus Evangelism: the Chaplain's Role, The Scientific Mobilization of Wisdom, The End of Cultural Relativism. Notable presenters and presiders included Seymour Smith of Yale Divinity School, Daniel Wynn of Tuskegee Institute, Lauren Brubaker, Jr. of University of South Carolina, Charles Scott of Middlebury College, Charles McCoy of University of Florida, James Gustafson, Yale Divinity School, Daniel Hill of Howard University, Samuel Gandy of Dillard University, President William Kerstetter of Simpson College, Theodore Darrah of Rollins College, and William Rhodes of University of Denver. Such an extensive list of outstanding resource persons!

Chatham College, Pittsburgh, (March 30-April 2, 1959); NACUC president Robert Bonthius of Vasser College presided over this 12th conference for NACUC. The "conference chaplain" was Bradford Abernethy of Rutgers, also past president of the association. Themes included Problems of the Chaplaincy, The Christian's Place in Social Motivation, Ministerial Recruitment, The Structure of Christian Faith, The Relation of Chaplaincy to the Churches, Conversation with the Academic Community, and Conversation with World Religions. The world religion conversation was followed by a special lecture by Rabbi Richard Rubenstein, Hillel Director at Pittsburgh on The Impact of Contemporary Theology on Religious Work within the University.
In addition to President Noble, Abernethy, Faulkner, Lovett, E. Miller, Gandy, Laverty, Bernhard, Rickard, Bean, Bonthius and Darrah served as presidents in the first twelve years. Reverend Dr. W. J. Faulkner, Dean of the Chapel at Fisk University, was the first African American president of NACUC in 1950, the third year of the association's existence. Samuel L. Gandy, an African American deeply involved in the Civil Rights Movement, also served as NACUC President while Dean of the Chapel at Dillard University, New Orleans.

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