Cherry Hill Seminary Mourns the Passing of Wendy Griffin, former Academic Dean

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For Immediate Release
Date: February 12, 2021

Columbia, S.C.--With heavy hearts Cherry Hill Seminary shares the sad news of the passing of Wendy Griffin Ph.D., Academic Dean Emeritus. Perhaps the first American academic to publish while identifying as openly Pagan, she was a pioneer in the study of Goddess Spirituality and Wicca, was an active member of the American Academy of Religion, and on the editorial board of The Pomegranate: the International Journal of Pagan Studies. Wendy published numerous academic articles on Pagan women's groups and edited Daughters of the Goddess: Studies of Healing, Identity and Empowerment, a 13-essay survey of contemporary Feminist Witchcraft and Goddess Spirituality by British and American writers. 

As Cherry Hill Seminary's first permanent Academic Dean, Wendy brought a dedication to academic integrity and a devotion to Pagan and Nature Spirituality. By the time she retired in 2018, Griffin had inspired students and colleagues alike with her intellect, skills and engagement. Only recently, the seminary Votaries alumni group created the Wendy Griffin Professor of the Year award in her honor. They will hold a public virtual event on February 27 to present the first award.

Prior to becoming the Academic Dean of Cherry Hill Seminary, Wendy served as Chair of the Department of Women's, Gender & Sexuality Studies at California State University, Long Beach, where she taught for many years. 

Executive Director Holli Emore says of Wendy, "It is rare that one is able to enjoy the kind of experience I was privileged to have, working with Wendy. She brought a fresh vision to the Seminary, academic rigor, and consummate professionalism. Moreover, Wendy became one of those once-in-a-lifetime friends, encouraging me in my own studies, sharing her wisdom during hard times--so very many treasured memories I will always have of her. Even after her retirement from CHS, Wendy passionately continued her advocacy for the environment, and wrote another novel to add to one she'd published many years ago. She will be sorely missed by all of us who were fortunate enough to be in her circle of light."

Michael York, Professor Emeritus, shared this tribute: 
"Wendy was one of those pagans who accepted this world as the sole reality upon which to focus and cherish without the distractions of some supernatural. If there is a life to follow this one, Wendy will undoubtedly soar through it. If there is not, she will rest serenely and surrounded by the undiminished glow of having lived life as it is meant to be lived - to the fullest."

Her oftimes co-editor, Chas Clifton also shared: "Always determined, always supportive, she was the best possible collaborator."

Cherry Hill Seminary will soon open a tribute page to Wendy on its web site where full remarks by York and Clifton, as well as others, may be read. If you have a comment, a story about Wendy, or photo that you would like posted there, these may be emailed to the address below. In that space we will mourn her passing but also celebrate her legacy.

For more information, contact the office at