The Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard & MIT works with atheists, agnostics, and allies at Harvard, MIT, and beyond: to create an inclusive new model for how humanists celebrate life, promote reason and compassion, and better the world for all.
Our organization was founded as the first-ever “humanist chaplaincy” to serve nonreligious students at a college or university. In addition to providing humanist philosophical guidance and counseling for over 40 years, the Humanist Chaplaincy now sponsors and advises humanist, secular, and interfaith groups at Harvard and MIT, and creates inspirational public programs on a broad range of topics relevant to the rapidly growing secular population, with a special focus on ethical leadership in science, technology, and business.
Humanism is a progressive lifestance that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment, aspiring to humanity’s greater good — it is, in short, good without god.
Greg M. Epstein serves as the Humanist Chaplain at Harvard and MIT, and is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book, Good Without God: What a Billion Nonreligious People Do Believe. He is on sabbatical for the 2019-20 academic year to research and write about the ethics of technology, including as a columnist at TechCrunch. You can reach him at email@example.com.
Rick is the operations manager and assistant to Greg Epstein. He leads meditations on Tuesday nights, and is the author of Secular Meditation: 32 Practices for Cultivating Inner Peace, Compassion, and Joy – A Guide from the Humanist Community at Harvard. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
OUR BOARD OF DIRECTORS
David Buckley is a Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner. He moved to Boston and became active in the local humanist community in 2013. David graduated from Wheaton College (IL) in 2001 and found his way to Washington DC to serve in a year-long, AmeriCorps-affiliated volunteer program. He worked in faith-based non-profits for several years including Joseph’s House, a hospice for previously homeless men and women, and Cornerstone, a transitional home for men with HIV recovering from substance use disorders. He earned his BSN at Howard University in 2009 and continued to serve the homeless and low-income community in DC as a registered nurse at So Others Might Eat (SOME) Medical Clinic. During his years in DC David was an active member of a local social-justice-oriented religious community and served as a lay leader. While earning his master’s degree in theology at Wesley Theological Seminary in DC, David realized he could no longer espouse Christian beliefs. Over time he found a new sense of identity as a Humanist and an atheist. He has also been grateful to find a new community of support and opportunity for service through the work of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard.
Narath Carlile is the Chief Medical Information Officer for ACT.md / Physician in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Boston. He is also a practicing physician in Internal Medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, and an instructor at Harvard Medical School. As a medical informaticist Narath has led a number of global projects including development of an open source paging system for hospitals in Africa, mobile decision support for community health workers in Mexico, interactive voice response systems for medical clinics, and educational software. Narath is passionate about the beauty of life, the potential of all living beings, extending caring to all in need, and science as a way of knowing. Narath, his wife and children are committed to helping creating communities of good that can nurture and allow humanist families to thrive.
Joe Gerstein, MD was one of the Founding Board Members of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard in 1991 and served as Treasurer until 2018. He has retired from the Harvard Medical School Faculty. He spent 32 years as President of the Humanist Association of Massachusetts and served a term on the Board of the AHA. He is the Founding President of SMART Recovery, an organization which supports 3,500 free, secular, evidence-based mutual-aid recovery groups in 26 countries, 2,200 in the US.
He is Co-chair of the Criminal Justice Workgroup of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, having facilitated almost 800 prison meetings of SMART Recovery and instigated the development of its Correctional Version, InsideOut, funded by NIDA. InsideOut is in use in almost 300 prisons globally. He has served on 11 non-profit boards, including SMART Recovery UK and Australia. He won a suit for the US Government against fraudulent drug promotion, returning almost $1 billion to the US.Treasury. .
Erik Gregory is the president of the Board of Directors of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard. He received his PhD from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He completed his clinical work at the Tavistock Clinic in London, where he treated refugee children suffering from trauma. His post-doctoral studies took place at Harvard Medical School (McLean Hospital). He also received master’s degrees from the Harvard Graduate School of Education in Human Development and Psychology and the Harvard Kennedy School Of Government in Public Leadership as a Littaeur Fellow. At the Kennedy School, he examined 21st Century models of leadership and followership and their intersections with psychology.
Dr. Gregory has served as a Fellow with the National Cancer Institute in Hawaii, a Spencer Fellow with the Spencer Foundation, and Visiting Scholar at the University of Chicago. He most recently completed an Executive Certificate in Management and Leadership from the MIT Sloan School of Management. He will be at visiting scholar at Harvard’s Divinity School beginning the Fall of 2020.
A.J. Kumar first became involved with the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard while a graduate student getting his PhD in Applied Physics. He had just returned to the US from two years in South Africa as a Peace Corps Volunteer and came to Harvard seeking ways to connect science and technology with social justice. He led the Humanist Graduate Student Community at Harvard while creating a rapid test for sickle cell disease for low-resource settings as his thesis project. After graduating, A.J. joined Jana Care, a medical diagnostics startup, and led the research and scientific strategy to address chronic diseases with paper diagnostics and mobile phones. He is currently a science director at Indigo Ag where he provides scientific strategy for systems experiments to create an agricultural system that benefits farmers, consumers, and the planet. A.J. is an author on 20 scientific publications and an inventor on 8 patents and patent applications.
Quinnie Lin is an entrepreneur, attorney, and advocate who founded the Washington DC and Los Angeles-based public affairs firm, QB Strategies (powered by Georgetown Venture Lab): a social impact consulting practice that helps enterprises, candidates, and organizations level up their impact through data-driven and people-centered approaches. She is currently working on a tech-based health platform startup in pre-seed phase based in LA.
As a graduate of Boston public schools, Harvard College, Harvard Kennedy School of Government, and Georgetown Law, she has always been motivated by social justice. She started community organizing at the age of 17 and has led successful campaigns that resulted in the introduction of the Ethnic Studies minor at Harvard University as well as the establishment of a new mental health center at Georgetown Law.
Since launching QB Strategies, Quinnie has devoted her time towards building a consultancy and network of leaders who believe in systems change, the power of technology for social impact, and unconventional ways to promote access to justice and equality. Quinnie is a member of the bar in Massachusetts and Washington DC.
Stephen Matheson is the former president of the Board of Directors of the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard He is a biologist, Bardolator, beer lover, bicyclist, and baseball fan. He works in Cambridge as a scientific editor. Originally from Arizona, he is happily at home in Cambridge where he lives with Susan and a couple of their four amazing kids.
Jeffrey Miller has been a member of the Humanist community at Harvard since 2001. He graduated with an A.B in Economics at Harvard. He currently works as a private equity investor and has prior experience in investment banking and strategy consulting. He also participates in fundraising activities for the Broad Institute in Cambridge. Jeff and his wife Katie have two young children and three pets, and are passionate about science, humanism, and animal rescue.
Darren Sears studied visual art from an early age, often a means of expressing his captivation with the physical and biological world. He continued to explore his environmental and artistic interests during his college years at Stanford. A semester abroad in Madagascar focusing on ecology and conservation, and several months in Peru creating a guidebook on Amazonian palms solidified the growing realization that his ecological and geological interests, more driven by idealized versions of environments than their functional complexities, were more aesthetic than scientific.
Darren earned a Master in Landscape Architecture from Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and entered private practice. The profession proved to be a good fit in many ways, but he quickly learned that due to the practical requirements of designing usable spaces for actual clients, most of his visions could not be realized out in the real world. Darren’s work is nevertheless strongly informed by landscape architecture’s aim of bringing clarity and order to the physical environment. He thinks of himself as a designer or environmental artist constrained (so far) to standard artistic formats rather than a painter depicting scenery in a traditional, stand-alone sense. Since mid-2016 Darren has been taking a break from landscape architecture to focus on his worldviews. A resident of San Francisco, he is represented by Hang Art gallery and has exhibited in solo and group shows locally and nationally. In 2017 he participated in month-long artist residencies in Iceland and Tasmania.
OUR ADVISORY BOARD
Rebecca Newberger Goldstein grew up in White Plains, New York, and graduated summa cum laude from Barnard College, receiving the Montague Prize for Excellence in Philosophy, and immediately went on to graduate work at Princeton University, receiving her Ph.D. in philosophy. She is the author of The Mind-Body Problem; The Late-Summer Passion of a Woman of Mind; The Dark Sister; Mazel; Properties of Light: A Novel of Love, Betrayal, and Quantum Physics; Thirty-Six Arguments for the Existence of God: A Work of Fiction; and Plato at The Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away.
Steven Pinker is a Johnstone Family Professor in the Department of Psychology at Harvard University. He conducts research on language and cognition, and is the author of many books, including Enlightenment Now, The Language Instinct, How the Mind Works, The Blank Slate, The Stuff of Thought, The Better Angels of Our Nature, and The Sense of Style: The Thinking Person’s Guide to Writing in the 21st Century.
Ron Suskind is a Pulitzer-winning journalist, bestselling author, and the founder of Sidekicks. Ron’s bestseller, Life, Animated (2014), chronicles his family’s twenty-year journey raising and connecting to their autistic son. The Suskinds are also the subject of an award-winning documentary feature of the same name. Their story has driven activism and research about the compensatory strengths of those with autism and others who are “differently-abled” due to distinctive neurology or sociocultural backgrounds. Ron’s company, Sidekicks, is leading efforts to build a next generation of augmentative technologies to lift and support these communities
Ron often appears on network television and has been a contributor for The New York Times Magazine and Esquire. Ron was the Wall Street Journal’s senior national affairs reporter from 1993 until his departure in 2000, and won the 1995 Pulitzer Prize for Feature Writing. He currently lives in Cambridge, MA, with his wife, Cornelia Kennedy Suskind, and lectures about narrative and justice at Harvard Law School.
E. O. Wilson is a biologist, researcher, theorist, naturalist and author. His biological specialty is myrmecology, the study of ants, on which he has been called the world’s leading expert. Wilson has been called “the father of sociobiology” and “the father of biodiversity,” his environmental advocacy, and his secular-humanist and deist ideas pertaining to religious and ethical matters. E. O. Wilson is a Humanist Laureate of the International Academy of Humanism He is a two-time winner of the Pulitzer Prize for General Nonfiction (for On Human Nature in 1979, and The Ants in 1991) and a New York Times bestseller for The Social Conquest of Earth, Letters to a Young Scientist, and The Meaning of Human Existence.
Ernst Mayr, (1904-2005), was a University Professor at Harvard and an advisor to the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard. He was one of the 20th century’s leading evolutionary biologists and a noted ornithologist.
George Wald, (1906-1997), was a University Professor at Harvard and an advisor to the Humanist Chaplaincy at Harvard. He shared the 1967 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for discoveries concerning the primary physiological and chemical visual processes in the eye.