Religious Life

IMAM KHALIL ABDULLAH APPOINTED ASSISTANT DEAN

Imam Khalil Abdullah appointed Assistant Dean

Imam Khalil Abdullah appointed Assistant Dean

The Office of Religious Life is thrilled to announce that Imam Khalil Abdullah will be joining our staff in August as our new Assistant Dean, Muslim Life.  Imam Khalil succeeds Imam Sohaib Sultan, whose untimely death occurred last April (that notice is below).   Imam Khalil has served since 2017 at Dartmouth College as Muslim and Interfaith Advisor and is co-chair of Dartmouth’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion.  He is a graduate of Hartford Seminary’s Muslim chaplaincy program, where he also worked as Major Gifts Officer.

Imam Khalil is no stranger to the ORL, having served on our Advisory Council since 2019.   He has also been invited on numerous occasions to lead prayers and other events for our Muslim Life Program, and has become a cherished spiritual advisor to many at Princeton.  Wasim Shiliwala GS, a student leader in the Muslim community and member of the search committee for the position, says of Imam Khalil, “In my interactions with him, I have found him to be heartfelt, humble, and compassionate. He is someone that Sohaib thought highly of - which speaks magnitudes about his character. In addition to a kind heart, he brings a wealth of experience caring for students of all faiths and backgrounds. As a student of Imam Warith Deen Mohammed, he also carries the wisdom of one of the most important and relevant spiritual guides in American history - one whom Sohaib made sure to commemorate every year.”

During his years of partnership with us in the ORL Imam Khalil has made a profound impression because of the depth of his faith, the loving kindness with which he engages every person, his wisdom, his gifts for teaching, for offering sermons, for building bridges between individuals and communities, and for his commitment to justice within and across communities.  Associate Dean of Religious Life, Matt Weiner, says, “With my perspective of thirty years of interfaith organizing, I can think of no one better suited for this position than Imam Khalil.”  He will be a valuable leader in the ORL’s many cross- and off-campus institutional partnerships, deepening our existing relationships and building new ones.  The generosity of spirit, heart, and intellect that he brings to every encounter have already been a blessing to Princeton, and we look forward to welcoming him formally to his new role with us on August 16!

    - Alison Boden, Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel

The Office of Religious Life Appoints New Director of Chapel Music and of the Princeton University Chapel Choir

Dr. Nicole Aldrich appointed Director of Chapel Music and of the Princeton University Chapel Choir

Dr. Nicole Aldrich appointed Director of Chapel Music and of the Princeton University Chapel Choir

Princeton University’s Office of Religious Life is delighted to announce that Dr. Nicole Aldrich will join us this August as the Director of Chapel Music and of the Princeton University Chapel Choir, succeeding Penna Rose, who served in the position for 29 formative years.  Dr. Aldrich is currently Senior Lecturer and Director of Choral Activities at Washington University in St. Louis and Director of Music for the nearby University United Methodist Church. 

Dr. Aldrich received her Master of Music in Choral Conducting from Northwestern University and her Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland.  She has been at Washington University since 2011, with a prior appointment at the University of Delaware.  She is a professional soprano and pianist as well as a conductor.  The search for the new Chapel Choir director received applications from more than a hundred candidates from around the world, a group in which Dr. Aldrich distinguished herself for her ability to create extraordinary music, to expand ensembles, to provide warm support to student singers, and to broaden the repertoire of her choirs to include more non-Western works as well as those composed by women, people of color, and LGBTQ musicians. 

Associate Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel Theresa Thames says, “I’m excited to see the creative ways in which Nicole will use music to forge even deeper connections between the University Chapel and the surrounding community, and to continue to build the wonderful community that is the Chapel choir and congregation.”  Sean Crites ’22, member of both the Chapel Choir and of the search committee for the position, says, "Even in our brief interactions, Nicole’s dedication to teaching, creating music, and fostering an inclusive environment where all can come to share their love of music was evident and I am absolutely thrilled to have this opportunity to work with her in the Chapel Choir!" 

We look forward to welcoming Dr. Aldrich to the Princeton campus in August, and to a wonderful new chapter of choral music at the Princeton University Chapel!

     - Alison Boden, Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel

 

Imam Sohaib Sultan sitting down with text that reads 'Imam Sohaib Sultan, 1980 - 2021'

IN LOVING MEMORY

Princeton’s Office of Religious Life shares the heartbreaking news of the death of our beloved Muslim Chaplain, Sohaib Sultan.  Visit this page for reflections and archival recordings in memory of Imam Sohaib. He died of metastatic cholangiocarcinoma, or bile duct cancer, which was diagnosed in the spring of 2020.  He spent the remaining year of his life with even more spiritual abundance than before, writing and preaching and speaking in many settings.  Over the years he was a marvelous instructor to all of us in how to live.  In his last year he taught us even more so how to die.

Sohaib came to Princeton’s Office of Religious Life as its first full-time Muslim Chaplain in August 2008, at which time he was only the second such institutionally-supported university Muslim chaplain in the United States.  He created an extraordinary program at Princeton, one that serves as a national model for its expansiveness of programming, breadth of inclusion of all Muslims and non-Muslims, its intellectual depth, its beauty, challenge, support, and relevance.  Sohaib built a wonderful and caring Muslim community at Princeton, and often said that this fact provided his greatest sense of joy and accomplishment in his work.  

Sohaib studied at Indiana University and in the Islamic Chaplaincy Program at Hartford Seminary.  His first professional passion was journalism, and after his move into chaplaincy he continued to be a prolific writer.  He is the author of The Koran for Dummies (Wiley, 2004), The Qur’an and Sayings of the Prophet:  Selections Annotated and Explained (Skylight Paths, 2007), as well as many articles for TIME Online, the Huffington Post, and other publications.

Sohaib is survived by his wife Arshe Ahmed, their daughter Radiyya Sultan-Ahmed, his parents and sister.  Our hearts go out to them all.  A memorial gathering for Sohaib will be held at Princeton when it is safe to do so, hopefully this fall.

        - Alison Boden, Dean of Religious Life and of the Chapel

 Photo: Sameer Khan

Silent Vigil

Dear colleagues, the Office of Religious Life is creating lawn signs to be posted around Murray-Dodge Hall that honor members of the extended University community who have been lost to Covid-19 – students, staff, faculty, alumni, and their loved ones.  This link will take you to a form through which you can submit information about the person(s) you wish to honor.  Please share this link with other members of the campus community.  We will continually add to the display of signs as more submissions are received.

Gratefully,

Alison Boden and the ORL staff

ORL YouTube

Check out our Office of Religious Life YouTube Channel to see our prayerful reflections, weekly Sunday services, After Noon Concert Series, Music Meditation and other offerings from our office. 

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