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Dr. Deena Grant named acting dean of Hartford International University

HARTFORD, Connecticut – Deena Grant, Associate Professor of Jewish Studies, will become acting academic dean of Hartford International University for Religion and Peace (formerly Hartford Seminary) as of July 1. She is believed to be the first Jewish dean at HIU, which was established in 1834.

Dr. Grant will take over for Rev. Dr. David D. Grafton, who has served as academic dean since 2018. Dr. Grafton will return to his role as director of the Macdonald Center for Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations and Professor of Islamic Studies and Christian-Muslim Relations.

“Dr. Grafton’s remarkable leadership has put the institution in excellent stead, and his continued leadership among our faculty and the MacDonald Center, as well as his commitment to support Grant in her new role, are things I cherish,” President Joel N. Lohr said. “That we now can also benefit from Grant’s incredibly sharp intellect, business acumen, and strategic thinking is paramount for the future of our growing and groundbreaking university. I’m delighted about this strategic development, and I look forward to observing the fruits of our collective work.”

An observant Jewish scholar. Grant has been at HIU for five years. The Author of Divine Anger in the Hebrew Bible, she has also written many academic articles and is a sought-after speaker at community events and workshops. 

She received her BA from Brandeis University in Near Eastern and Jewish Studies and her Ph.D. from New York University in Hebrew and Judaic Studies. She also studied at Midreshet Lindenbaum and Hebrew University’s Institute for Advanced Studies, both in Jerusalem. 

She received the Memorial Foundation for Jewish Culture International Doctoral Scholarship for Studies Specializing in Jewish Fields, as well as the Dorot Award at the 37th Annual Conference for the Association of Jewish Studies.

Among her activities during her time at HIU, she has organized Jewish holiday celebrations, including  Passover Model Seder. A highlight of each fall is when students of many different faiths join together to build a Sukkah on HIU’s front lawn.

Grant co-chaired HIU’s Strategic Planning 2025 Committee, and for the past year, she has led the strategic area of Global and Community Partnerships.

Said Grant, “Our faculty has worked extremely hard to construct and launch academic programs that speak to the specific needs of today’s religious leaders and peacebuilders. I’m eager to support our faculty and students as we continue to realize our vision.”

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