Duke Dharma

First Hindu chaplain serves growing community


Deepening understanding

Deepening understanding: Hindu chaplain Rajagopalan.
Vibrant Memories Photography

Duke has hired its first Hindu chaplain. Usha Rajagopalan, who began her part-time role at Duke in August, will provide guidance for the Hindu Students Association and represent the group on Duke’s Faith Council and in the university’s Religious Life program.

Rajagopalan, who is fluent in Hindi, Tamil, and Malayalam, comes to Duke with degrees from Annamalai University in India and the University of Maryland. She has led Hindu worship services in the Triangle and received the 2009 Kathryn H. Wallace Award in Community Service from the Triangle Community Foundation.

“Hinduism, or Sanathana Dharma, is not a religion but a practice, a way of life,” Rajagopalan says. “Deepening understanding of their inner world as they pursue their academic goals allows Hindu students at Duke to receive a holistic education and to practice their Dharma or way of life.

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