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Robert M. Randolph
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Robert M. Randolph is the first Chaplain to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, installed on September 30, 2007, in a ceremony representative of the varied religious/non-religious strands of thought at MIT. His role, according to the President of the Institute, is to be the "guardian of the core values of the Institute." He has been an important part of student life at MIT since 1978, organizing and founding what is now known as Student Support Services. He is a Housemaster in Bexley Hall along with his wife, Jan. He is an Affiliated Minister of the Memorial Church at Harvard University, and Senior Minister of the Brookline (MA) Church of Christ. Randolph has degrees from Abilene Christian College, Pepperdine University, Yale Divinity School, Brandeis University, and the Andover Newton Theological School. Prior to MIT, Randolph was a chaplain, an inner-city minister, a director of residence, and an instructor in History. You can view his blog at

Entries by Robert M. Randolph

Thanksgiving: Giving Thanks for Peter Gomes

(0) Comments | Posted November 27, 2013 | 8:41 AM

Peter has been gone now nearly three years. At Thanksgiving I always think about him and his love for the traditions of Plymouth. His passing left a gaping hole in our collective hearts.

The death of Peter John Gomes of Harvard marked the closing of a chapter at America's...

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All I Needed to Know I Learned From the L.A. Times

(4) Comments | Posted September 13, 2013 | 2:59 PM

Our focus this school year is on books or events that shaped our lives. I have been shaped by reading newspapers. I love reading the newspaper and lament the troubles that surround the news business. Whenever I have relocated the two things I do first have been to find a...

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Conversations We Need to Have!

(7) Comments | Posted August 12, 2013 | 3:27 PM

There has been a good bit of talk about the need for a national conversation about race. The president has been presidential in helping us think about what is needed. He is right about the need for a conversation, but I would like to suggest that there are two other...

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Death and the Academy

(0) Comments | Posted July 8, 2013 | 5:32 PM

In the 1970s Ernest Becker wrote The Denial of Death and made the case that our inability to recognize that one day we will die is the root cause of many of the issues moderns face. Seemed to me then to be a reasonable thesis and my experience here at...

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Billie Sol Estes: The Last Campbellite

(1) Comments | Posted May 22, 2013 | 12:39 PM

Billie Sol Estes died in a recliner last week at 88 with cookie crumbs on his lips. He was asleep when he shuffled off this mortal coil. His end came as it should have. There was enough drama and violence around him when he was alive. When the tornado came...

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The Boston Tragedy: After the Nonsense

(0) Comments | Posted May 6, 2013 | 4:21 PM

Stephen Colbert was the voice of healing after Marathon Monday. Johannes Brahms became the voice of healing after the death of Sean Collier. Brahms came to campus Sunday night when 800 singers filled Kresge Auditorium with the music of mourning found in the German Requiem. Invoking the words of Scripture,...

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The Boston Tragedy: Making Sense of Nonsense

(59) Comments | Posted April 19, 2013 | 5:55 PM

How to be pertinent? We here at MIT have been locked down since late last evening. The sound of sirens has seldom not been heard. Students gather around their laptops listening to police scanners. We know what is going on.

One of our police officers was killed two blocks from...

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The Paradox of Interfaith Dialogue

(0) Comments | Posted April 2, 2013 | 11:08 AM

When the Religious Life Center opened in 1995 here at MIT, a Board of Chaplains was established. A Covenant of Mutual Respect was/is signed by all chaplains serving here and the document explains how divergent faith communities are to live together in the Institute. Proselyting was expressly forbidden.

In the...

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Gone to Texas

(20) Comments | Posted March 6, 2013 | 4:15 PM

"Gone to Texas" was a message left when people seeking a new home and opportunity left the East for the Southwest in the 19th century. My family left Texas during the Great Depression years and there always was a sense that one day they might return. My mother reported that...

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Redefining Courage

(3) Comments | Posted February 18, 2013 | 12:57 AM

When a friend spoke recently about doing one's duty and quoted Kipling, I was a bit jolted by the tone. I know the poem and believe in being dutiful, but I would not have spoken of myself as being called by a sense of duty. His reflections caused reflection on...

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In the New Year

(0) Comments | Posted January 30, 2013 | 12:59 PM

The end of a year is always a bit melancholy. I feel it most keenly when I update my Christmas card list. This year is no exception, but the early weeks have been a bit hectic. Jan and I have been on the road since Christmas with a lot of...

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What About Newtown?

(2) Comments | Posted December 20, 2012 | 3:18 PM

We will likely not ever know what drove Adam Lanza to commit the horrific acts of Dec. 14. However, we can and must respond to them, and as a result the assault rifle ban will probably be re-imposed. That will be a good thing.

But stark against the backdrop of...

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