The universities, then, directly and indirectly, dominate the world; their influence is so pervasive and total that whatever problem afflicts them is bound to have far-reaching repercussions through-out the entire fabric of Western civilization. No task is more crucial and urgent today than to examine the state of the mind and spirit in the Western University. – Charles Malik, Christian Statesman, former President – U.N. General Assembly
Over 25 years ago we began a conversation about Christian faith in the Academy. From those early deliberations came a vision to renew the presence of thoughtful Christian faith in academic discourse and university life. Because of Yale’s historic commitment to academic excellence and cultural influence, and our own longstanding presence as campus ministers here, we founded the Rivendell Institute as an affiliate organization here in 1995. Since that time we have pursued our mission to explore the intersection of Christian faith and contemporary scholarship as a research institute and study center to serve the spiritual and intellectual interests of the Yale community.
We chose the name Rivendell from the works of J.R.R. Tolkien because of its many resonances with our mission and values. In those works, Rivendell is a place animated by a love of wisdom and learning, and warmed by effusive hospitality. Tolkien’s Rivendell expressed exactly the atmosphere we hoped to provide for members of the Yale community.
Our team has grown considerably from those early years. Our enduring commitment to engage the Yale community continues to see significant progress as we maintain our ambition to explore, stimulate, and nurture a thoughtful Christianity for this age.