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OU religious studies program has new head honcho



Charles Kimball, the former chair of the religious studies department at Wake Forest University and author of "When Religion Becomes Evil," will assume his new position as director of the religious studies program at the University of Oklahoma effective July 1.

Kimball is a native Oklahoman. He was born in Tulsa and did his undergraduate work at Oklahoma State University. He received a master's of divinity from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Ken., and earned a doctorate in comparative religion, with a specialty in Islamic studies, from Harvard University.

According to Paul B. Bell Jr., the dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and vice provost of instruction, the university did a nationwide search after Alan Hertzke, the previous director, informed the school he wanted to focus on his own research work. Hertzke is a political science professor whose research is concerned with the intersection of religion and politics.

"Professor Kimball applied for the position," Bell said, "and we, of course, knew who he was. We were pleased to have someone of his stature in the field apply."

Many people at the university were familiar with Kimball because of his book "When Religion Becomes Evil." The university had used the book as part of its first Renaissance Project in the 2005-2006 school year. The Renaissance Project is a program that enhances student educational opportunities by focusing on a common theme taught from a variety of disciplines. "Greg Horton

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