Retiring Professor of Religious Studies Mark Muesse to Deliver Baccalaureate Address

a white male professor giving a speech to an audience in a wooden board room
Dr. Mark W. Muesse of the Department of Religious Studies

The Baccalaureate Service of the 168th Session of Rhodes College will be held on campus Friday, May 12, followed by Commencement on Saturday, May 13. Dr. Mark W. Muesse, associate professor of religious studies, will deliver the Baccalaureate address titled “The Pause That Refreshes.”
Muesse, who is retiring this year, came to the college in 1988. He has taught at the Tamilnadu Theological Seminary in India and at Harvard University, where he earned two master’s degrees and a Ph.D. At Rhodes, Muesse has taught courses in world religions and philosophy, modern theology, and spirituality. He employs images, films, and music in his teaching and has produced four series of videotaped courses for The Great Courses. He also is the author of The Hindu Traditions, The Age of the Sages, and Four Wise Men.
In 2007, the publishing company Augsburg/Fortress Press awarded Muesse its award for teaching in an undergraduate setting, noting his “experiential and engaged teaching of world religions and its integration into the undergraduate curriculum.” Then in 2008, he received Rhodes’ Clarence Day Award for Outstanding Teaching with nominators recognizing him as a “master teacher” and “one whose concern for students as developing persons matches his demands on their thinking and concern for others.” 
A longtime practitioner and teacher of contemplative studies, Muesse has been leading Rhodes’ Compassionate Campus Initiative (CCI) convened in 2015 by President William E. Troutt and composed of faculty, staff, and students executing ways to make Rhodes a kinder and more mindful community. “I truly believe that the rediscovery of contemplative practices such as meditation and the skills of compassion will have a profound effect on the shape of education in the 21st century,” Muesse said recently when the college hosted a spring symposium on cultivating compassion in higher education.
The Baccalaureate Service on May 12 begins at 3:30 p.m. in the multi-sports forum of the Bryan Campus Life Center (BCLC), and Commencement on May 13 begins at 9:30 a.m. in Fisher Memorial Garden (BCLC in the event of rain). President Troutt will preside over both programs. Seating tickets are necessary for both programs, which also will stream live from the Rhodes website (