5 Questions with DU’s New Director of Spiritual Life

The University of Denver has welcomed a new Director of Spiritual Life, Dr. Karen Thorn, who brings a wealth of experience in working with diverse faith communities and fostering inclusive spiritual growth. As a leader in the field, Dr. Thorn is committed to promoting spiritual exploration, personal growth, and community building among students, faculty, and staff. In this article, we had the opportunity to sit down with Dr. Thorn and get a glimpse into her vision for the university’s spiritual life.

Q: What inspired you to take on the role of Director of Spiritual Life at DU?

A: I was drawn to DU’s commitment to fostering a culture of inclusivity, diversity, and social responsibility. As a spiritual leader, I believe that spiritual exploration and growth are essential components of a well-rounded education. I’m excited to work with students, faculty, and staff to create spaces that support personal growth, reflective thinking, and spiritual inquiry.

Q: How do you think your background in interfaith dialogue will shape your approach to spiritual life at DU?

A: My work in interfaith dialogue has given me a deep appreciation for the diversity of faith traditions and a commitment to fostering understanding and respect among people of different beliefs. I believe that spiritual exploration is not just about what we believe, but how we relate to one another. I’m excited to engage in conversations that challenge us to think critically about our own beliefs and to explore the ways in which our spiritual practices intersect with our daily lives.

Q: What are some of the most pressing issues you see in the spiritual lives of college students, and how do you plan to address them?

A: Many students struggle to find meaning and purpose in a rapidly changing world. I believe that spiritual exploration can help students develop a sense of direction and purpose. I plan to offer programs and services that promote mindfulness, self-reflection, and community building, as well as provide resources for students who are exploring different faith traditions.

Q: How do you envision the spiritual life of the university contributing to the Denver community more broadly?

A: I believe that the spiritual life of the university has the power to inspire and enrich the broader Denver community. Through programs and events that engage students, faculty, and staff in servicelearning, community outreach, and interfaith dialogue, I hope to cultivate a sense of social responsibility and civic engagement. I’m excited to collaborate with local faith communities and organizations to promote mutual understanding and respect.

Q: What one piece of advice would you give to students who are exploring their own spiritual paths?

A: I would advise students to be curious, open-minded, and willing to explore different perspectives. Spiritual growth is a journey, and it’s okay to take your time and explore different paths. I also encourage students to seek out diverse communities and experiences that challenge them to think critically and grow as individuals.

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