In the fall of 1996 a diverse group of supporters from the College and the larger community came together to create the Center for the Study of Religious Freedom. From its beginning, the Center was seen as a vehicle for fostering education and mutual understanding in our increasingly diverse world.
The Center's founding Director, Dr. Catharine Cookson, served until her death in 2004. In 2005, a memorial Peace Garden, located just outside the Center offices on the Virginia Wesleyan campus, was dedicated in her honor. Dr. Paul Rasor has served as the Joan P. and Macon F. Brock Jr., Director of the Center since May 2005.
Since its founding, the Center has sponsored more than 200 public educational events, including semester-long symposia on particular issues, lectures by renowned scholars, presentations on music and the arts, panel discussions, plays, and films. Center events have been attended by more than 10,000 people, including Virginia Wesleyan students, faculty and staff, and members of the larger community.
Democracy doesn't function well if you're afraid of your neighbors. - Dr. Diana L. Eck, Director of the Pluralism Project, Harvard University