Theta Alpha Kappa
National Honor Society for Religious Studies and Theology
The Religion Department sponsors a chapter of Theta Alpha Kappa, the only national honor society dedicated to recognizing student academic excellence in the fields of Religious Studies and Theology. Our chapter, established in 1998, is one of more than 250 chapters across the country. Students are nominated for induction into TAK each fall and spring by the Religion faculty. Eligibility requires a 3.5 GPA in a minimum of four courses in Religious Studies and/or Theology and a 3.0 GPA overall. Students are not required to be Religion majors or minors.
Our chapter sponsors faculty talks and panels and student debates on topics of current interest in the study of religion, especially during Reformation Week at the end of October. Recently, TAK hosted a focus group of majors and minors in order to provide faculty with feedback on curriculum and assessment. In addition to the induction ceremony and dinner held during spring semester, the chapter usually sponsors a fund-raiser in the spring; these events have included used-book sales, peep jousts, and competitions among the semester's classes for pizza and ice-cream parties. (We try to have a little fun while being serious about our studies!)
Theta Alpha Kappa is a related scholarly organization of the American Academy of Religion and a member of the Association of College Honor Societies.
TAK President's Address
Heather Foreman, '14
Heather Foreman, an honor graduate with a major in Christianity and a minor in Business Administration, was President of TAK from 2012-2014. Her honors project, “A Christian Nation: How Covenant Theology Affected the Religious Liberty Debate in Colonial America,” was recognized as one of the top 10% of research presentations at BEAR Day 2014.She gave the President's address below at the 2014 TAK Induction ceremony and has allowed us to publish it here.
"Today, we are celebrating you. Not just for your academic achievements—though admirable—but for your unique and unwavering commitment to pursuing the study of theology. Theta Alpha Kappa at Mercer is a small group, but we represent one of the most worthwhile fields of study. Theology was once referred to as the "Queen of the Sciences." And though we are outnumbered by our good friends in Willet, TAK still holds that the study of theology is important and contributes to a reflective, thoughtful and critical perspective.
My experience in the Christianity department at Mercer has taught me to investigate biblical texts and learn the richness of Hebrew, to engage the prophets and their alternate vision of reality, and to fill my backpack and hitchhike my way through the gospels in search of Jesus. The faculty of this department have inspired and challenged me and taught me to look doubt squarely in in the face. What we study in this department is worthwhile, not only for the head knowledge we gain, but for the people we become. I am sure I'm not the only one who has left a class on the third floor of Knight Hall scratching my head and silently cursing the professor. But I know I'm also not alone in the gratitude I feel toward them for teaching me and pushing me so much.
So today we celebrate you. You have chosen to pursue questions that often have no satisfactory answer. To have dialogue with those outside your tradition. And to face fear and doubt with open arms. I also want to challenge you. Seniors, don't stop chasing after the questions that interest you. As you go on to the next stage of your life, take the skills and perspectives you have learned here and use them to engage the world around you. Sophomores and juniors, take full advantage of your time in this department. Get to know your professors, take on tough projects. The time and opportunities you have here are unique and will pass before you know it.
Welcome to Theta Alpha Kappa. I hope it will be a place to celebrate what you've learned and aspire to something greater."