Commencement Speaker
Matthew Sayers, Ph.D.

Dr. Matthew Sayers, associate professor of religion, just completed his seventh year at the College. Dr. Sayers teaches across the religion curriculum, including special courses on Evil, Death and Dying, and Scripture, and also teaches introductory Sanskrit. His work focuses on the relations between the living and the dead. His research includes the Hindu and Buddhist traditions in ancient India, as well as the later history of and contemporary practice at the pilgrimage site Gaya in Bihar, India.

Dr. Sayers is a two-time recipient of LVC President’s Innovation Fund grants. He has traveled four times to India, including twice after receiving summer faculty research grants to study pilgrimage at Gaya. A lover of travel, he has taken students to London for study abroad experiences and has personally visited four continents.

In addition to his work at the College, Dr. Sayers is a published author with his work appearing in a variety of journals, and he authored, Feeding the Dead: Ancestor Worship in Ancient India in 2013. He has two projects related to ancestral rites and worship currently in progress.

Throughout his career, Dr. Sayers has presented at numerous conferences and colleges and universities, including Harvard University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Patna University in India.

Dr. Sayers earned his Ph.D. in Asian cultures and languages from the University of Texas at Austin, after completing a master’s degree in religious studies at Florida State University and a bachelor of arts in interdisciplinary studies at University of Maryland Baltimore County. He now resides in Annville and has a son, Ze’ev.

Baccalaureate Speaker
Rose Marie Berger, Sojourners

Rose Marie Berger is an award-winning religion journalist, author, public speaker, poet, and Catholic who specializes in writing about spirituality and art, social justice, war, and peace. In the course of a 30-plus-year career in faith-based activism, advocacy journalism, and pastoral leadership, she has proven to be a skilled organizer, exceptional writer, visionary pastoral leader, and innovative teacher of biblical literacy.

Rose has a veteran history in social justice activism, including: educating and training groups in nonviolence; leading retreats in spirituality and justice; and writing on a wide range of topics related to faith, politics, and culture.
She is a senior associate editor of Sojourners magazine, which has a combined print and electronic media readership of more than a quarter million people. Rose frequently speaks, leads retreats, and preaches in churches, seminaries, and college campuses. Her “Hungry Spirit” column appears regularly in Sojourners and her essays, reporting, and poetry have appeared in The Huffington Post and Religion News Service, as well as U.S. Catholic, The Journal of South African Feminism, Beltway, The Other Side, Radix, and D.C. Poets Against the War anthologies, and elsewhere. In 2011, Rose, a Roman Catholic, was named as a “WISE woman leader” by the Women’s Islamic Initiative in Spirituality and Equality.

She holds a Masters of Fine Arts degree in poetry from the University of Southern Maine (2005) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in biology from the University of California at Davis (1985).