Tucker Center names new chaplain Rev. Nancy Vogele ’85

Vogele’s hiring concludes a months-long search to replace former chaplain Daveen Litwin.

by Frank Blackburn | 1/18/22 5:00am

by Hannah Li / The Dartmouth

Rev. Nancy Vogele ’85 has been hired as the new chaplain and director of the William Jewett Tucker Center for Spiritual and Ethical Life. The decision to hire Vogele was made in November after a prolonged search last fall, according to associate dean for community life and inclusivity Bryant Ford. Vogele will be succeeding former chaplain Daveen Litwin, who departed the College in July 2021. 

As chaplain, Vogele will oversee the United Campus Ministry — an organization comprising 25 different student religious groups, according to the Tucker Center’s website — and multifaith programming. The Tucker Center paused its programming for the entirety of this fall term due to the position’s vacancy, she said. 

According to Vogele, she assumed her post as the director of religious and spiritual life at the Tucker Center in 2013 but has been working with faith-based organizations since 1988. While a student at Dartmouth, she said she served as a volunteer coordinator for the Tucker Center. 

Maiah Newell ’24, a volunteer at the Tucker Center, said she thinks that Vogele will be a “breath of fresh air” for Dartmouth after a strenuous couple of school years in which student mental health has been a widespread issue. Newell added that she anticipates Vogele “trying to heal [a] gap” between the administration and the student body. 

Vogele said that she was “always looking for partnerships” as director of religious and spiritual life and hopes to continue that process as chaplain. 

“We might be coming from a religious or spiritual or multifaith perspective, but we’re talking about meaning and purpose, and we’re not the only center talking about meaning and purpose,” Vogele said. “I loved… talking to people at [the Rockefeller Center] or talking to the folks at [the Student Wellness Center], and saying, ‘Hey, how can we support each other? Is there any joint programming we could do?’” 

Vogele said her first priority is hiring staff. She added that the Tucker Center is planning to bring back the Multifaith Conversations program and to host Harlem-based public charter schools superintendent and author Rev. Dr. Robert Harvey on Jan. 20. 

According to Vogele, the Tucker Center is a place for students to “grow in their faith” or “explore a religious identity.” However, she noted that she also thinks of the Tucker Center as a place for students — even those without a religious identity — to “engage across differences around issues of importance and purpose of meaning” through programs such as Multifaith Conversations and Walks Clamantis, which according to the Tucker Center’s website sees upperclassmen give reflective “walk and talk” tours of campus to underclassmen.  

Co-director of Chabad Rabbi Moshe Gray said he was very pleased with Vogele’s hiring, having worked with Vogele during her previous role at the Tucker Center. Gray described her as an “excellent collaborator [and] bridge builder” adding that he sees the hiring as “excellent for religious life and excellent for spiritual life.” 

Samantha Palermo ’24, who became involved with the Tucker Center last year, said she is happy with the “new energy that [Vogele] brings,” noting that Vogele seems “really open to students’ perspectives.” She added that she looks forward to engaging in spiritual conversations through the Center again. 

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