Gary Lease named interim dean of humanities at UC Santa Cruz


SANTA CRUZ, CA--Acting Chancellor Martin M. Chemers has appointed Professor Gary Lease as interim dean of the UC Santa Cruz Humanities Division.

An internationally recognized expert across a remarkable range of fields--including early Christian archaeology, Vatican foreign policy and canon law, German intellectual history, German Judaism, and religious/cultural evolution--Lease previously served as dean of the Humanities Division at UCSC from 1990 to 1995.

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Lease joined the faculty at UC Santa Cruz in 1973 and has served as chair of the History of Consciousness Department since 1998. His other major administrative posts have included: chair of the Religious Studies Department, chair of the Environmental Studies Department, Faculty Associate Chancellor, Director of the Education Abroad program in Goettingen, West Germany, and several assignments as Acting Provost of Kresge College.

Born in Hollywood, the son of an actor, Lease received a bachelor's degree in philosophy from Loyola University in Los Angeles, and a doctorate degree in theology from the University of Munich in 1968. His ongoing work is concentrated in the history of religious thought in 19th and 20th century Germany, German-Judaism, ancient Mediterranean religious history, the relationship between politics and religion, and theories of religion.

Since 1995 Lease has served as the Executive Secretary of the North American Association for the Study of Religion (NAASR), and since 1998, as Treasurer of the International Association for the History of Religions (IAHR). In 2001, he was a guest professor at the University of Munich, occupying the renowned Romano Guardini Chair for Theory of Culture and Religion. Lease's appointment will extend through the search for a permanent dean, which will commence immediately.