Orange Alert

Jim Wiggins has passed away

Posted on: March 2, 2017

It is with great sadness that I send to this community the news of the passing of our great colleague and friend Jim Wiggins.  Below are two obituaries.  Please join us for the Memorial Service next Saturday 4 March at 11 am at the University United Methodist Church, 1085 E. Genesee St. Syracuse, NY.  Also below is a link to an interview with Jim from December 2015 helping us to recall the profound depth and integrity of his work.

Longtime Religion Department Chair, Former Interim Dean of Hendricks Chapel Mourned by Renée K. Gadoua.

Wiggins, ordained as a United Methodist minister, came to Syracuse in 1963 after earning a Ph.D. at Drew University. A native of Texas who never lost his drawl, he was an expert in Western religion and culture. His many publications include “Religion as Story” (Harper & Row, 1975) and “In Praise of Religious Diversity” (Routledge, 1996). From 1983 until 1992, he served as executive director of the American Academy of Religion (AAR), the largest academic organization dedicated to the study of religion. For several years, he hosted “Religion Matters,” a local public television show.

“In many ways, Jim was the architect of this department. While his particular area was Western religions, his constant emphasis was interreligious understanding and respect,” says Philip Arnold, religion department chair. “He would bring into our department world-renowned academics like David Miller, Huston Smith, Charles Long, Charles Winquist, as well as an impressive stream of visiting luminaries. This all served to place us among the top 15 graduate programs of religion in the United States.”

Syracuse Post-Standard Obituary

A 2015 interview with Jim Wiggins on Trancendence and Awakenings, PDF.